Brew City Bar Tab takes a patron's-eye look at the Milwaukee area's diverse selection of bars, clubs, pubs, taverns, lounges and more. Stay tuned each week for themed bar reports, bar reviews and bartender profiles to help you explore and discover the city's bar scene.
Welcome to the very first Brew City Bar Tab, the brand new home of former blog series Goldilocks and the Three Bars.
While this incarnation will feature a variety of things (including the bar reviews and bartender profiles mentioned above), Brew City Bar Tab will also continue offering the handy and informative snapshot profiles the old blog specialized in, still packaged in clever sets of three for you to reference, enjoy, or potentially use as a ready-made bar crawl guide.
In celebration of our promotion, so to speak, from blog to article, this week's Bar Tab checked in with the area's other big "dogs" in the bar game.
The Dogs Bollocks, 2323 N. Murray Ave.
"Dogs bollocks" is a fitting phrase for a bar that bills itself as the only authentic British pub in the city. The slang is used across the pond to describe the best of the best – and, if you look just a little more into its origins, is even more appropriate when you consider the balls it takes to give your bar the top title.
Fortunately, this East Side pub delivers. Mixing the charm and character of a traditional British pub with all the fun and colorful decorations that help drive the point home to slightly more inebriated clientele, The Dogs Bollocks translates well with Milwaukeeans and overseas transplants alike.
The bar is littered with unique British memorabilia: a statue of an old-timey Royal Guard soldier stands guard between the bar and the tables assembled in the spacious side room; a looming picture of Winston Churchill watches over those who choose to sit barside; and a pair of Union Jack panties is draped proudly on a shelf behind the register.
There's even a giant blue police box situated in the back of the side room that serves as the bar's kitchen. Fully equipped to serve both standard bar grub and overseas-style pub fare, the bar also serves breakfast and lunch on weekends starting at 11 a.m. And of course, no true British pub would be complete without Bass, Guinness and other imports (plus a few domestics) on tap.
Mad Dog Saloon, 4395 S. 76th St., Greenfield
It's pretty evident when you drive by this Greenfield bar, located at the corner of 76th Street and Forest Home Avenue, that Mad Dog's is party central. The parking lot is almost always packed during open hours.
From the inside, there's no doubt that Mad Dog's is made for the no frills bar experience. The music is pumped in at blaring loud volumes, and the drink specials are plentiful nightly and centered around domestic taps, standard rails and promotional liquors. The bar is decked out with multiple flat screens throughout the bar to guarantee you won't miss a single play of any game, and their number is only rivaled by the amount of wall-to-wall Miller and Budweiser advertising.
Mad Dog Saloon's upbeat atmosphere brings in plenty of customers, especially for birthday parties – though, the cause of that is usually due to the allure of the stripper pole (not for actual stripping, mind you) mounted near the end of the large bar space. Most of the clientele, however, prefer to stop in to watch the game or take advantage of the bar's weekly specials, which include live country music every Tuesday, Ladies Night Wednesdays and an extremely popular Friday Fish Fry.
It's not all party here, though. The bar can fill up fast during specials nights, so latecomers might find themselves in standing room only. Occasional covers also apply, and because no party reputation goes unpunished, there's a fair amount of bouncer security in place. For what it's worth, though, Mad Dog Saloon has cultivated a vibe worthy of Water Street – and with free parking to boot.
Big Dogs Sports Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis
West Allis's newest bar is already showing off its bark. Currently occupying the space that until very recently housed Yester Year's Pub and Grill and soon to expand into the adjoining building next door, the new management is soldiering on and remaining open through heavy construction that – from the looks of it – will do plenty to help Big Dogs' bite live up to all the barking.
The new bar is keeping the frequent live music and daily (and nightly) drink specials that helped maintain Yester Year's crowd of loyal regulars, but everything else is already in the process of becoming bigger and better. The front wall is getting knocked down to add access to the newly poured street-side patio. The bar will literally double following the expansion into the adjoining building's space. Even the kitchen is getting an upgrade, and it plans to offer a greater selection of pizzas, burgers and sandwiches to its current menu.
The estimated completion date for the whole remodel is still up in the air, but things seem to be moving quickly. For now, between the plastic sheeting inside and the construction outside the bar's not much to look at (it doesn't even have a sign at the moment), but if everything goes as planned it'll definitely be worth a revisit in the near future.
Contrary to her natural state of being, Renee Lorenz is a total optimist when it comes to Milwaukee. Since beginning her career with OnMilwaukee.com, her occasional forays into the awesomeness that is the Brew City have turned into an overwhelming desire to discover anything and everything that's new, fun or just ... "different."
Expect her random musings to cover both the new and "new-to-her" aspects of Miltown goings-on, in addition to periodically straying completely off-topic, which usually manifests itself in the form of an obscure movie reference.