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.
Finding a place to get a drink in Milwaukee is easy as 1, 2, 3.
Well, it's not that simple, but it's pretty close. With that spirit in mind, this latest Bar Tab was themed around a more literal interpretation. And, much like the ease with which someone could find a place to get a drink in this city, I can tell you putting together a trio of numbered bars only took a similarly small amount of work.
With the sheer number of bars around town, you can pretty much count on it.
One Sports Lounge, 1003 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 278-1111
One Sports Lounge isn't just the baby of Third Street, it also happens to be the baby of a handful of celebrity owners, including former Buck Sam Cassell, former Packer Antonio Freeman and Penny Marshall, best known around these parts as "Laverne" from Milwaukee-set "Laverne and Shirley."
The bar combines the sports bar atmosphere with a lounge vibe, but doesn't merge them so much as it gives patrons the option to enjoy either. Half of the bar is very sports-focused, with big screens, memorabilia and snapshots with athletes tacked casually along the wall. On the other side, One features trendy booth seating and more of a lounge/club environment. Interestingly, there's also a massive fish tank near the back that extends over the bathroom hallway.
The sportier half holds the bar, which boasts regular drink specials during the week and over the weekend. One also mixes a couple of dangerous grown-up slushies here, which are made with Everclear.
One's biggest selling point, though, is its comfort food and Southern-style delicacies. The menu carries many seafood offerings, like the fried catfish and shrimp and grits, and chicken and waffles. Savory sides like sweet potatoes and mac and cheese abound, making One as much as dinner destination as a place for drinks.
Catch 22, 770 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 223-1031
Like One, Catch 22 has also gone for the sports bar/upscale lounge concept. On Milwaukee Street, however, upscale often prevails, and such is the case with Catch 22.
The bar is furnished in deep, dark palettes with tall tables and bar chairs positioned throughout the floor space. Its walls (the parts that aren't covered with one of the bar's 22 TVs) are exposed brick, and chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Depending on the time of day and sports schedule, patrons might easily find themselves in the midst of a chill after-5 hangout or a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of sports fans.
There aren't any actual catch 22s here, but the name does lend itself to a couple of fun specials. The weekday happy hour runs from 3:22 to 6:22 p.m. and offers 22-cent taps from 5 to 5:22 p.m., which pairs nicely with the half-off appetizers served from 11 a.m. to 7:22 p.m. If you're really up for a challenge, stay tuned for the bar's Catch 22 Team Challenge, which will soon offer pairs the chance to tackle 22 sliders in 22 minutes to earn a $22 gift card.
For non-competitive types with food on the brain, Catch 22 serves their menu daily until 1 a.m. Specials here include Monday's endless wings and cheeseburger sliders, Tuesday's taco specials and a Friday fish fry. Drink specials include $5 calls on Sundays, Stoli Night Wednesdays and tap beer specials for Thirsty Thursday. Even better, the bar opens daily at 11 a.m. for lunch.
Trinity Three Irish Pubs, 125 E. Juneau Ave., (414) 278-0085
I once had a friend who called Trinity "the amusement park of bars." This isn't entirely accurate since it can hardly be compared to rides or a midway, but Trinity is an attraction all its own.
Actually three bars in one, Trinity houses Foy, Gallagher and Duffy. They're linked by small halls and even have cute little street signs here and there to direct patrons. Foy contains the largest of the three bars and a large amount of bar, table and booth seating Gallagher down the hall showcases regular live music (often of the Irish variety), as well as an impressive collection of whiskey. Finally, Duffy is perhaps the coziest, adopting a library style and décor.
Depending on the weather, Trinity also provides a fourth option: the gorgeous and expansive patio. Decked out with pergolas, stone dividers and hanging plants in the warmer months, the patio is a great escape when the Water Street crowd packs Trinity to capacity.
Trinity is popular during the day, too, but not nearly as rowdy. Also open daily at 11 a.m., the bar (or bars, depending on your semantics) serve lunch and dinner – plus brunch on weekends – to those craving Irish-American fare.
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.