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.
It's playoff time for the Packers, which means the whole state's about to go green and gold. Milwaukee's sports bars, on the other hand, have been perfecting their Packers party since the preseason.
If you've been following along religiously from home, kudos. If you're just jumping on the bandwagon, well, we'll just keep that between us. But with the hours ticking away until Sunday's division playoff game, fans in either camp can take advantage of these great sports spots and celebrate in all their green-and-gold glory with some of the bar scene's seasoned professionals.
Replay Sports Bar, 2238 N. Farwell Ave., (414) 431-1080
One of the newer kids in the local sports bar game, Replay has a lot of ground to cover as North Avenue's "odd bar out" of sorts. They do a heck of a job, though – it doesn't take long to realize Replay means business.
The bar is wall-to-wall sports, from TVs and projector screens to memorabilia and merchandise for sale. Replay stocks plenty of t-shirts and other sports-themed bar merch, but also ups the ante with a selection of high-end autographed helmets, balls and pictures that top out at $3500.
Their impressive collection aside, everything else about Replay easily falls in the average bar-goer's price range. The large menu of bar favorites like wings, pizza, burgers and sandwiches rarely has a price above $10 – that is, unless you're looking for a pre- or post-game challenge. Competition-hungry Replayers can order the bar's Replay Challenge burger, a $28, five-and-a-half-pound monster burger that you can get for free if you polish it off in under an hour.
Replay puts its own spin on the beer pitcher, too. Drinkers can order select taps in the bar's own beer towers, which sit right at your table and come equipped with the sporty stand of your choice. There's also a solid list of tap and bottled beers that includes a surprisingly decent amount of craft brews.
McGillycuddy's, 1135 N. Water St., (414) 278-8888
McGillycuddy's isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think about places to catch the Packers game. If it's not near the top of your list, though, it should be. The Water Street bar definitely knows how to put the green in "green and gold."
Sundays are Packers central at the bar, featuring $5 bloodies and mini-pitchers, plus free shots for every Green Bay touchdown. Keeping an eye on the game is easy with the bar's many big screens, and McGillycuddy's adds to the fun with football pools and number games.
For the full "frozen tundra" experience, though, you'll want to head out to the patio. McGillycuddy's fires up the grill for $2 brats and chips specials to give Packer backers who couldn't get up to Lambeau a taste of the winter tailgate. They even kick it up a notch with the Gilly Leap, the bar's answer to the famous Green Bay version.
Of course, the bar still has plenty going for it on off-days, too. McGillycuddy's serves up a diverse menu of pub grub classics and Irish favorites, as well as smaller, wallet-friendly servings of "drunk eats" like tater tots, onion strings and the Hangover Omelet, which is available all day to take the edge off at any hour. They also serve one heck of a Friday fish fry, which comes complete with soup and a heaping pile of waffle fries.
Fanatics Sports Central, 185 N. Jefferson St., (414) 220-8336
Considering they've been voted Best Sports Bar three years in a row by OnMilwaukee.com readers, it's pretty clear Fanatics takes their sports seriously.
It's even clearer when you consider the 40+ TVs, giant projector screen, stadium seating and other amenities offered by this Third Ward sports bar. Fanatics has stocked up to deliver a sports-watching experience worthy of Las Vegas. There isn't a bad seat in the house, but the best are certainly in the three-tiered stadium section facing the super screen. Fanatics also has a VIP club box available for groups.
The bar doesn't just cater to viewers, either. Fanatics features an epic game room complete with pool, video games and beer pong tables and also hosts bag and dart leagues.
With everything the bar has to offer, it's easy to work up an appetite. Luckily, the menu is as packed with options as the bar itself, including the usual bar fare and Fanatics' signature bacon-wrapped spiral hot dogs. They also boast wing and pizza nights, which complement almost nightly drink specials that offer everything from bombs and rail deals to discount margaritas and Bloody Marys. Add in their Tuesday-Friday happy hour and Fanatics has the potential to rival even the best in-stadium game.
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.