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 bar reports, reviews and other content to help you explore and discover the city's bar scene.
Sometimes, you just need a beer.
The reasons are endless: the car won't start, work isn't coming together, your dog struts around your house like it owns the place. I could go on, but I'm not here to remind you about your problems. I'm here to provide solutions. Hoppy, sudsy solutions.
Obviously, beer's not going to make everything better, but it's nice to get a break once in a while. And if you're looking to get literal, here are three aptly named alcohol dispensaries to help you unwind.
Cans Bar and Canteen
1850 E. Kenilworth Pl., (414) 225-0421
Cans is a mini-chain of sorts. With other locations in Charlotte, N.C. and Chicago, it can't be considered a native 'Sconnie bar, but it sure blends in well.
Cans' major selling point is its beer selection, which is offered largely in can form (naturally). The bar serves over 50 kinds of beer and proudly displays its aluminum array on the shelves behind its main bar. However, if you absolutely must have your beer on draught, Cans has tap selections, too. In fact, they go for just $1 during weekday happy hours.
The East Side hotspot can get pretty loud and crowded on weekends when the music cranks up and the wide open bar space turns into a makeshift dance floor. Luckily, early evening visitors can still take advantage of daily food and drink specials or stop in Mondays for team trivia and 35-cent wings. The friendly, no-hassle staff, ample seating and old-school video games will ensure even the "bar scene"-shy will have a good time.
8828 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa, (414) 257-4142
One of Tosa's old reliables – and probably its oldest, with establishment in 1939 – Club Tap serves up a friendly and comfortable atmosphere that's as regular as its Schlitz on tap.
The Schlitz tapper is a nod to the bar's past as a Schlitz tavern, but there are plenty other options constantly on rotation and available in conjunction with regular specials. Non-beer people shouldn't be intimidated by the bar's beer-centricity, though. Club Tap also shelves a full liquor selection with its own set of affordable specials.
Above everything else, Club Tap definitely exudes a community feel. From local event promotions hung on the wall to the bar's giant signed Brewers banner over the bar, the clientele are a close-knit bunch. Even the late afternoon hours pack an all-ages, standing-room-only crowd here. There's no doubt the bar's warm, welcoming vibe plays a big role, but offering carry-out pizza from Lalli's next door sure doesn't hurt.
1753 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., (414) 389-5337
Riding the nebulous border between Walker's Point and Bay View, The Bottle is a laid-back bar option for residents of either neighborhood – or pretty much anyone, for that matter.
Drink-wise, the bar offers something for all tastes: mixers, hard liquor and, of course, lots of beer. The selection is appropriately diverse in its own right, listing dozens of microbrews and big name brands on a chalkboard mounted on the wall across from the bar. And yes, there are taps for those who don't wish to partake in the namesake delivery method.
The multi-room space is deceptively large, and it's seemingly made bigger by some tricky mirror work behind the bar. Its four "rooms" are all interconnected, so even if you get turned around you'll loop back to your group in no time. While you're "lost," make sure you check out the video game room and pool table area, though. They're both worth a stop – or an extended stay.
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.