As other cities plot to make streetside dining more available as a means for reopening struggling restaurants and bars, Milwaukee-area beer gardens are slowly dipping their toes into the water, and some are fully reopening.
The Tosa Village Beer Garden outside Buckatabon on State and Harwood has reopened and is operating weekdays from 2 until 10 p.m. and weekends, 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. More info here.
The Deer District beer garden at the Fiserv Forum reopens on Thursday, June 19 at 4 p.m. and there will be a new food truck on-site. Details here.
Whitnall Park Beer Garden in Greendale reopened on June 8, and is open 4-10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends, with last call at 9 p.m.
Two more beer trailers have been brought in to help ease lines of patrons waiting for beer. There will be 24 beer lines, with beers from local brewers including MKE Brewing Company, the nearby Explorium Brewpub, Eagle Park Brewing, Good City Brewing, Sprecher Brewing Company and MillerCoors.
Milwaukee County's two Traveling Beer Gardens, operated in partnership with Sprecher Brewery, will also start their delayed seasons next week, having canceled only the initial stops on each of the tours.
The Pass Me a Pint Tour opened on Wednesday, June 10 at Froemming Park in Franklin, and the Roll Out the Barrel Tour starts Friday, June 12 at Doctors Park in Fox Point.
The Traveling Beer Gardens are open 5-10 p.m on weekdays and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekends, with last call at 9 p.m.
"Sprecher is once again excited to be part of the Traveling Beer Gardens with the Milwaukee County Parks," said Sprecher Chief Commercial Officer Jim Kanter.
"It is a great, longstanding tradition in the Milwaukee area which brings people together in our great parks system during the summer. We look forward to people getting out and enjoying the delayed start to the summer season in Milwaukee."
Sprecher is launching a new limited release brew, too, as the first in a new Inspired by Parks series, available in cans at local retailers. The Grant Park honey lager was inspired by the 1892 South Milwaukee farmhouse that is now home to the Grant Park Golf Clubhouse. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Milwaukee County Parks.
Sprecher opens its Glendale Outdoor Oasis on Friday, June 5. More details on that can be found here.
In late May, The Landing at Hoyt Park in Wauwatosa reopened, first for pre-order pick-up only, and by Memorial Day weekend, also for on-site quaffing.
Shorewood's Hubbard Park Beer Garden also reopened in late May, offering what it calls "full service beer and food."
It will also has table limits, timed cleaning and sanitation schedules and employees serving as "dedicated safety officers" to enforce social distancing.
The Franklin Beer Garden at Croatian Park, 9100 S. 76th St., opened on Thursday, June 4.
The beer garden, which sits on 30 acres, has live music, food, mixers and wine, as well as import and domestic beers. Happy hour, from 5 until 6 p.m., offers $2. It's open every Thursday, 5-10 p.m., through Sept. 17.
In mid-May, Hans Weissgerber III told Kathy Flanigan of the Journal Sentinel that he would like to reopen the Estabrook Park Beer Garden in Shorewood on May 26 – likely only for carryout – but that did not happen.
But even after Mayor Tom Barrett announced Thursday that bars and restaurants could open on Friday, Weissgerber demurred for now, posting this on Facebook:
Kegel's Inn in West Allis opened its beer garden and outdoor dining space at the end of May and it's open Wednesdays through Saturdays.
The county has not yet announced plans for the beer gardens at South Shore and Humboldt Parks.
"The county has a reopening work group that is reviewing our current operations, be they contracted or in-house," says District 14 Supervisor Jason Haas, in whose district those gardens are located. "In order to open, they need to have a COVID-19 operations plan. Vendor requests are being reviewed with this in mind."
Stay tuned for more on the reopening of Milwaukee's beloved beer gardens as soon as there is news.
Until then, and even after then, please be safe so that we help keep each other healthy and so that we don't have to shut it all down again.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in an episode of TV's "Party of Five," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.