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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

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Unfortunately, the iPic experience doesn't compare to a similar place in Chicago.
Unfortunately, the iPic experience doesn't compare to a similar place in Chicago.

Chicago trumps Milwaukee in the movie-going experience

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round – brought to you by Aperol, Pinnacle, Jameson, Fireball, Red Stag and Avion. The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

I’ve been in Milwaukee long enough to know that my fellow city dwellers hate being compared to the people 90 miles to the south in Chicago. More often than not, it’s because of the inferiority complex developed over the decades, whether it be in business, sports or the skyline.

Having lived in both, Milwaukee is just fine and stands on its own. I don’t often compare the two cities, but a recent experience made it unavoidable.

In the west suburbs of Chicago, I frequented the Hollywood Boulevard movie theater. It’s a great place – full service bar in the lobby, big, comfortable chairs, and a great dinner menu to order from. What’s great about it is that a server comes to you before the movie starts, you place your order, and it’s delivered to you.

The wait staff also checks in during the film to see if you need dessert, or a drink refill. You would think this disrupts the movie going experience, but it doesn’t – it only adds to it.

It was definitely a place I missed when I came to Milwaukee full time. So, needless to say, I was pretty excited to visit the iPic at Bayshore when I heard it was similar.

Having never been there, I visited the website and took the virtual tour. The tour gives you the impression that it’s just like the Hollywood Boulevard experience.

"We do food service for the first 20 minutes of the feature" the host says, and they show an employee bringing the food in. It also says you can get blankets to kick back and relax in.

Unfortunately, when I got to iPic, it was nothing like this. I waited in line to order food, which was fine – it skips the step of having waitstaff traipse around the theater – b…

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Atlanta Hawks star Josh Smith, right, used to be a Milwaukee Buck. Sort of.
Atlanta Hawks star Josh Smith, right, used to be a Milwaukee Buck. Sort of. (Photo: Keith Allison | Wikicommons)

Bucks once traded Josh Smith

Josh Smith used to be a Milwaukee Buck, and he was traded once by John Hammond.

Well, kind of.

The 6-foot, 9-inch, 27-year-old forward was the subject of rampant trade speculation this week, much of which concerned Hammond and the Bucks. He expressed a desire to play with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, then said he’d be OK with Ellis being moved, then said he’d be open an extension in Milwaukee.

In the end Smith ended up staying in Atlanta and the Bucks acquired J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ishmael Smith from Orlando for Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb, but let’s revisit how all of this craziness could have been avoided if back in October 2001.

Ernie Grunfeld swept in out of New York and Oct. 1, 2001 and he absolutely had to have Aleksander Radojevic and Kevin Willis, so he shipped off Scott Williams and the Bucks’ 2004 first round pick to Denver.

A year later, the Nuggets traded that pick to Hammond’s Detroit Pistons as part of a deal for Rodney Stuckey. The Pistons then flipped that pick at the trade deadline in 2004 to Atlanta – along with Bob Sura and Zeljko Rebraca – for Rasheed Wallace.

That move pushed the Pistons to an NBA Championship and the Hawks picked Josh Smith at No. 17 overall.

So when it came time for Larry Harris to draft in 2004, he was able to go on vacation as the Bucks had no picks.

What might have been.

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The city needs to make meter restrictions uniform around the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The city needs to make meter restrictions uniform around the BMO Harris Bradley Center. (Photo: Jim Owczarski)
Parking is the biggest reason why certain locations can't succeed around the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Parking is the biggest reason why certain locations can't succeed around the BMO Harris Bradley Center. (Photo: Jim Owczarski)

Parking is the reason bars, Bucks struggle for patrons

The closing of Center Court led my colleague Eugene Kane to ruminate as to why no restaurant or bar can seem to stick at what seems to be a prime location.

It’s a good question, but one of the prime reasons that location isn’t as desirable – and one of the reasons the Bucks can’t fill the BMO Harris Bradley Center – is the parking situation around the stadium.

Take Wednesday night for example.

The Bucks were .500 and losers of four straight heading into a game against the Philadelphia 76ers, a losing team. Yet any parking lot or garage near the arena was charging $20. Um, no.

I arrived before the meters become free at 6 p.m. hoping to catch some of the day’s workforce leaving. So I circled and circled the venue for a while before finding what I thought was good spot. It was 5:45 p.m. so I dropped in 20 minutes worth of change into the meter and figured I was good to go – only to return after the game to see I had a parking ticket. Wha?

Well, apparently the one block I was on had a different meter restriction than you know, all the other blocks around the stadium.

This is why a place like Center Court closes. This is why the BMO Harris Bradley Center won’t sell out for mundane NBA games. I’m not saying parking has to be free or even have the same rates. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have to walk a few blocks to get to a game.

I’m saying the meters need to have uniform time restrictions around the stadium – or at least give those parking there a break on game nights – and the lots and garages nearby need to be a little more realistic in their pricing.

Eugene is mostly right when he says the success of an establishment is about location, location, location – but increasingly the deciding factor is parking, parking, parking.

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Beer - an international symbol of Milwaukee. And I hate it.
Beer - an international symbol of Milwaukee. And I hate it. (Photo: Andy Tarnoff)

I hate beer

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Molly Snyder may be a "disgrace to Milwaukee" but even she admits I take the cake on this one – I hate beer.

Always have, and presumably, always will.

Why? Three words – unexpected Old Style.

It ruined beer forever for me, though judging by the hangovers of those I drive around, I'm not missing much.

Here's the story:

As a kid, junior high aged (maybe younger), we had the "garage fridge" that housed the extra gallon of milk, pop and of course, beer. The garage fridge had a certain order – extra milk and juice top shelf, beer bottom shelf, soda on the door.

On a hot summer day me and my buddies were playing basketball in the yard and I needed some cool refreshment – so I opened the garage fridge and blindly reached for a can on the door. I assume I was talking trash to someone because I never actually looked at what I taking – or opening – or taking a huge swig of – until the most awful taste I could ever imagine washed down my throat.

Ever since then, every beer I've ever tasted takes me back to that moment. And trust me, I've tried – everything from Miller Lite to Spotted Cow to assorted Leinenkugel's to Guinness.

All of it tastes like liquid garbage.

Now I tend to avoid it altogether. I'll occasionally try one if it's strongly recommended, but I've sort of moved to the point that I expect awfulness, so that's what I taste.

So, don't worry Molly – I'll trade you a brat for any beer, ever.

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