By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Nov 04, 2008 at 12:55 PM

When the clock strikes 8 p.m. tonight, the Wisconsin polls officially close, sealing our fate as voters in 2008. It's an understandably nerve-wracking process for anyone who gives a hoot, and the waiting period as the returns are reported is one that should not be spent alone.

There's a plethora of post-voting parties around town, but one not on that list is the brand new Blackbird (formerly The Groove) at 3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., which hosts its soft opening tonight, beginning at 9 p.m.

Owners Marisa Lange, of Classic Slice fame, and Holly DeShaw have been hard at work revamping the bar space into Blackbird, complete with "cozy booths, a back patio, DJs and a rad community space in the back room," Lange says.

DeShaw tells us they are planning a "big election party" for tonight.

Stay tuned for a full feature on the new Bay View bar this Thursday on

If you're not hitting the town to watch them reel in the votes, how do you plan to spend the time between now and the announcement of our new president?

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”