The latest addition to Water Street's bar lineup is short on frills, lacking a theme and is considerably tinier than its neighbors.
Manager Amy Bladow wouldn't have it any other way.
"I've always liked smaller bars," she says. "The kind you can walk right in, have your beer on the bar when you sit down and not have to spend an hour trying to find the bathroom or flag down a bartender."
Bar None, 1139 N. Water St., opened about four weeks ago and business has been growing steadily since.
Occupying the space formerly home to Grant's Pub and, before that, Guitar Bar, it sits quietly at the corner of Water and Juneau, dwarfed in size and recognition by its closest neighbors, McGillycuddy's, Duke's and Bar Louie.
"We looked around the Milwaukee area and we couldn't pass this up," Bladow said.
She and her business partner, Josh Jiru, have operated Cahoots, in the Madison suburb of Verona for the last several years and decided it was time to get into the Milwaukee market.
Cahoots has been a successful venture for the duo, but Bladow wanted to shy away from the older, more blue-collar clientele that makes up the majorty of customers in Verona.
In Milwaukee, Bladow is hoping to attract a younger demographic, but Bar None is open to everybody.
"We wanted to be in the city," Bladow says. "Verona has more of a blue-collar crowd but here, we were looking for a little bit of a different venture; someplace little louder and edgier."
Unlike the Verona establishment, Bar None won't offer food. It's a strictly beer and booze establishment, and Bladow plans to offer specials seven nights a week to bring people in.
Sundays will be Service Industry Nights, and Monday will let you get a double cocktail for the price of a single. On Tuesday, you can get a "bucket of crap" (featuring five retro beers; we've cleaned up the name) for just $5 and Wednesday lets customers "flip the bartender" for a chance at half-price rounds. Thursday is all-you-can drink (domestic taps and rails) for $15 and students get $6 pitchers and $2 shots on Fridays.
Bladow extends the specials into the weekend, too. From 9 until 10 p.m. Saturday, rails and domestic taps are $1 during "Power Hour," which Bladow says can also be instituted again at her discretion.
"If it's busy and people are having a blast, I might decide to do another 'Power Hour' throughout the night," she says.
Bar None stands right smack in one of the city's most popular nightlife destinations, with some long-standing competition. Bladow isn't looking to take her neighbors on, but is hoping that customers will give her bar a visit and that those thinking they don't really have their own spot yet on Water Street might find a new "home."
"Maybe we can draw in that crowd," Bladow says. "And the people that are loyal to McGillycuddy's, Fitzgibbons and the other great bars on the street, I hope they give us a try, too.
"We want to be an institution here, too. We want to be the kind of place where you come in and there's a 'Cheers' type of feeling."