"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs -- including guides, the latest trends, bartender profiles and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
When it comes to what makes a really good bar stool, Dave Mikolajek has a theory.
"A good bar stool, like a good friend, knows how to assist with some needed balance, and also doesn't mind getting pushed out of the way at certain times," says Mikolajek, an OnMilwaukee.com bar reviewer who is also known as "College Dave."
After spending multiple nights testing out stool after stool (yeah, it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it), we discovered that finding a really comfortable bar stool rests on a few basic features.
For starters, the bar stool, in most cases, needs to have a back. This is what we appreciated about the stools at Yield, 1932 E. Kenilworth Pl. The stools are nothing fancy, but they have padded back support which makes a huge difference if you're planning to belly up for a while. (And we did.)
The Uptowner, 1032 E. Center St., recently got new bar stools, and they have backs, too. Bartender Jessica Schlitz thinks the new stools were a wise purchase.
"The people would fall right off if they didn't have backs," says Schlitz. "Actually, I've seen it! Now, the only thing I would do to improve on our bar stools is put dolly wheels on the back legs so I can cart drunks out."
In rare cases, backless bar stools are super comfy, too. At Christie's Pub and Grill, 3261 S. 13th St., the large circumference of the stool makes up for the lack of back.
"There aren't too many people in Milwaukee who weigh 120 pounds, so we thought these were a good choice. And they fit my fat ass," says cook Eileen Schultz, who is the mother of Christie's owner Jason Schultz.
Schultz also points out the ergonomic merits of a back-free stool. "They force you to have correct posture," she says.
The bar stools at The Safe House, 779 N. Front St., have enclosed, rounded backs, a feature which makes a stool even more comfortable. And dangerous. "You could sit here all night," says Mark Peternal, the vice president of customer relations and a bartender at the Safe House.
The Newsroom Pub, 137 E. Wells St., is connected to The Safe House and, not surprisingly, this bar has really satisfying stools, too. And their stools are attractive, with dark wood, rivets and built-in foot rests.
Elsa's, 833 N. Jefferson St., combines comfort with class. Their stools have backs, ample seat padding, a solid build and a sleek appearance. Matthew Haensel spends a lot of time sitting at Elsa's bar, and he has absolutely no complaints about it.
"They're super comfortable. It's a blessing and a curse," he says.
It's not only the stool itself that makes a pleasing imbibing-at-the-bar experience. Many women like to have hooks for their purses near or on the stools -- which can be found at Mulligan's in Franklin, Wauwatosa's Firefly Urban Bar and Grill and Riverwest's Art Bar -- and drinkers of both genders usually appreciate a foot rest.
Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., recently installed a new foot rail -- created by a local artist -- to support stool sitters, something Stacy La Point finds appealing.
"The newly added metal foot rest is awesome. They are made by a local metal smith, Greg Whitehall, of Metal Smoke Designs," says La Point. "Foot rests are so important for shorter people to feel comfortable in tall stools."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.