The story of Goldilocks is pretty well known. A little blond girl breaks into a house owned by a family of anthropomorphic bears and proceeds to jack up their chairs, porridge and beds while they're out doing, I don't know, bear stuff. But what if, instead of being a cute little fairy tale girl with no respect for property, Goldilocks had some sense and happened to be just a little bit of a lush? Well, that'd be me.
I've decided to explore every bar, pub, lounge and dive Milwaukee has to offer – in sets of three, just to be cute. Check back often as I embark on regular bar tours with my self-proclaimed "magical sidekick," Jessie. And don't worry – I'm too much of a taste chameleon to ever find one that's "just right."
Last week found the intrepid Goldilocks duo in a tapas bar for the Brewers game. While I consider any place with a good selection of alcohol and a television an acceptable viewing space, this week we decided to go in search of a more appropriate setting.
Naturally, this meant a mini-bar crawl along Bluemound Road, where the beer and Brewers games flow freely in mere walking distance of Miller Park. There are no shortage of watering holes along this stretch, but for the sake of the blog (and my budget) I'm sticking to three. So don't get all uppity if I didn't pick your personal favorite – with Bluemound's level of bar saturation it's likely due for another series.
McGinn's, 5901 W. Bluemound Road
The pioneers of the Miller Park shuttle, McGinn's is more than their Slim-ousine. The bar still packs it in for away games.
McGinn's regular crowd is a slightly older set, but the bar's atmosphere is welcoming and open to anyone. Small and large groups can stop in to root for the home team while watching one of the many big screen TVs. The team of choice is the Brewers, which is obvious from the décor (which includes an insane collection of Brewer bobbleheads above the bar), but crowds are common during Packers season, too.
Larger groups can take advantage of one of the side room seating areas, but the bar area is also stocked with plenty of tables. If you're looking to get twice the view, grab one in the front by the huge glass windows, which wrap into an open-view ceiling.
In addition to non-home game happy hour specials, McGinn's also carries a full menu that continues far past your average bar fare. With wings, burgers, a fish fry and even shrimp on the menu, it's easy to make a night of it at McGinn's. Plus, with a waitstaff on-hand, you won't have to worry about getting up for a refill on your beer.
Kelly's Bleachers, 5218 W. Bluemound Road
If you can't actually be at the game, your next best bet is a visit to Kelly's Bleachers. The literal centerpiece of the bar is four ceiling-mounted big screens, and TVs litter the entire rest of the space. It takes actual effort to not watch the game (I tried for the sake of making that statement, and believe me, it was pretty impossible). There's even a TV in the women's bathroom.
Kelly's is a clear hot spot for any Brewers game, and also runs a shuttle to Miller Park for those attending matchups at home who want to have some pre- or post-game fun at the bar. Despite the impressive setup and the home team accessories that bedeck the walls, though, the bar's not all about sports. The sound system is great for late night partying, and the two side rooms offer an ample playground of pool and darts. Plus, Kelly's serves up daily specials when the Crew is away which include discounted drinks and shots and dinner entrée items that only add to the bar's extended bar food menu.
To top it all off, the staff at Kelly's Bleachers is probably the nicest and friendliest I've come across so far. The bar does charge a cover later on into the night, but it's not hard to stay entertained if you get there early to duck it. Latecomers will still find it well worth the door charge.
Rounding Third, 6317 W. Bluemound Road
A relative newbie on Bluemound's Brewers bar list, Rounding Third has done a good job of establishing itself just west of the street's standbys in its few years of business.
As expected from its name, the bar is definitely set up for Brewers fans. Like the exterior, the interior is a sea of blue and baseball. The walls are covered with home team paraphernalia, as well as TVs and other standard sports bar accessories. Designed with crowds in mind, the bar has plenty of seating in the main room and the back bar and dining area.
Rounding Third's drink options are pretty standard, but its menu takes unique twists off of the standard pub grub fare. Between specialty burgers, homemade chili cheese fries and mozzarella sticks and yes, the menu must-have Friday fish fry, the bar has a good handle on its food.
The bar space can easily accommodate a crowd of 2 or 200, and even has VIP rental areas upstairs and down for big groups looking for a no-hassle place to party. While it bills itself as "The Place To Go Before You Head Home," Rounding Third is more than an afterthought bar.
Interested in future Goldilocks and the Three Bars adventures? Stay tuned here, or follow me on Twitter @Eenergee for bar tour commentary and other fun stuff. And if you want me to drink at your favorite bar, that's what Talkbacks and @Mentions are for.
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.