"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun bars and club articles -- including guides, unique features, drink recipes and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
The votes are in and the winners have been selected for OnMilwaukee's Best: Bars & Clubs, 2009. The results of this readers' poll, including an editors' pick, are available in this series of articles that run all month long in the Bars and Clubs section of OnMilwaukee.com.
There are not a whole lot of entirely smoke-free taverns to choose from, but it's clear that the list is growing and growing and next year we wager that there will be at least twice as many vying for position in the readers' poll.
But this year, you dear readers have chosen Third War bar and restaurant Water Buffalo, 249 N. Water St., as your favorite smoke-free place.
"We're very happy with how pleased our staff and customers are with the non-smoking at the two restaurants (Water Buffalo and Swig)," Joe Sorge, who owns the businesses with his wife Angie, told OnMilwaukee.com's Julie Lawrence.
"I realize it's a risk to try non-smoking at a bar, but since the response has been so overwhelmingly positive, we feel good about it and I like that it will be a solid point of differentiation."
Taking second and third places are the two Bay View taverns owned by Bruno Johnson and Adrienne Pierluissi.
"I think that Bruno thought (going non-smoking at Palm) would be the death of us," said Pierluissi. "Initially it was hard because our late-night crowd -- midnight to 2 a.m. -- totally dropped off. But in exchange, we're getting the people who haven't been out to the bar in five years because it's too smoky. Although they're not as consistent and don't drink as much as the smokers, I think it's been a great exchange."
OnMilwaukee.com editors' choice: Palm Tavern
2. Sugar Maple
3. Palm Tavern
4. City Lounge
5. Village Pub
6. Café Brucke
7. House of Guinness
8. Oakcrest Tavern
11. Taylor's People Place