By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Mar 17, 2010 at 3:06 PM

March Madness is here, and the basketball action heats up in Milwaukee this week as the Bradley Center hosts the Midwest and West regional rounds of the "big dance." With fans flocking from near and far, the editorial staff at thought we'd help greet our new visitors with a week's worth of featuresand guides to everything that makes our city a great place to visit. It's "Welcome to Milwaukee Week" at!

It's not just real estate. Location is everything in the bar business. With thousands of thirsty college hoops fans converging on the Bradley Center for the NCAA tournament this weekend, the establishments within close proximity will be bustling. Here is a look at some of the spots that will be seeing the most action before, during and after the basketball games.

Major Goolsby's
340 W. Kilbourn Ave., (414) 271-3414

Rated one of the best sports bars ever by Sports Illustrated, Goolsby's always buzzes before a big game. The Major still makes a strong cheeseburger, great mozzarella sticks and guests at the Hyatt can stumble across the street and feel like part of the action.

Historic Turner Restaurant
1034 N. 4th St., (414) 272-1733
A popular spot for Marquette fans, Turner offers sandwiches and an enormously popular Friday fish fry. Waits can be long, so allow yourself plenty of time before tip-off.

Center Court Pub & Grille
1118 N. 4th St.,(414) 226-2323

The newest competitor on the scene, Center Court has made a strong showing during its first few months. The food is a grade above the standard sports bar fare and despite an unusual layout the bar is a good place for fans to gather.

1023 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 347-2337

Recently voted "best place to celebrate a 21st birthday" by the editors of, Bootleggers caters to a younger clientele and will be right at home serving college fans. The multi-level bar and rooftop patio -- not to mention location a block from the Bradley Center -- will keep things hopping.

Buck Bradley's
1019 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 224-8500

Boasting some of the more beautiful woodwork in town ("the longest bar east of the Mississippi"), Buck's usually attracts a bit of an older, more sedate crowd than its neighbors. All bets are off this weekend, though. Buck's has great food, friendly and quick bartenders and decent prices. The fish fry is popular, but burgers are solid.

Buckhead Saloon
1044 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 390-0233
Loud, young and packed; Buckhead Saloon -- or "Buckhead's," if you prefer the Milwaukee-slang term -- is a typical college party bar. Lots of room, but always packed, Buckhead usually features a mix of DJ-mixed dance music and cover bands on the weekends. Could be a prime spot for "hookups."

Calderone Club
842 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-3236
You'll find a little bit of everything at this venerable spot. Great food, wonderful pizza, good beer and wine choices and, being across the street from the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, an eclectic mix of customers. A lot of well-known celebs staying at the hotel have been known to cross the street and knock a few back. It'll be a bit more low-key inside, but you can expect to wait for a table. Trust us, it's worth it.

Calderone Pub
322 West State St.
(414) 226-1911

Located directly across from the Journal Sentinel's main lobby, this is will be a place for thirsty hoops fans to mingle with reporters and copy editors. 

Durango Grill
1007 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 312-4788
Durango is more a restaurant than a bar, but has quickly become a viable drinking option in the area. With a growing selection of tequila and whiskey and food available into the wee hours of the morning, Durango will have a chance to shine and win new fans during this weekend.

Knights Bar at Mader's
1041 N. Old World 3rd St.,(414) 271-3377

Attached to a legendary Milwaukee dining institution, Knights Bar is starting to branch off on its own by appealing to game-night visitors and those looking to avoid the noise, crowds and hassle of the more traditional bars on the street. If you're looking for a classic German meal during your stay, Mader's is your spot.

1110 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 225-0304

Lucille's features a ton of bachelorette and female birthday parties on the weekends. This week, those ladies will be joined by hoops fans. The guys who play piano will be brushing up on college fight songs this week. Expect the usual hijinks to be on steroids.

Martini Mike's
730 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 319-1190

About one block away from the main concentration of Old World 3rd Street establishments, Martini Mike's caters to a high-end crowd. Enjoy VIP table and bottle service and rub elbows with Milwaukee's "beautiful people."

Milwaukee Brat House
1013 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-8709

The Brat House doesn't rely on a theme or gimmicks. It's decorated in European pub / tavern style and has a wide assortment of inexpensive beer (always served in pairs) and well above-average bar fare. On most days, it's roomy and comfortable. If the weather's nice, the back beer garden area is open. This weekend it will be jumping. Use the back entrance and come straight from the game.

Notte Night Lounge
1033 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 291-5600

Very small and very dark, Notte is the spot to go if you're looking to dance and ... mingle. The club brings in some well-known DJs and the operators run a tight ship; dress to impress and be on your best behavior or you're either not getting in or you're going home early.

Old German Beer Hall
1009 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 272-2728

Considering the neighborhood's history as the one-time center of German Milwaukee, the Old German Beer Hall is a quintessential Milwaukee bar. In addition to the big, tap beers from world-renowned Hofbrau Brewery in Bavaria, you can also get the usual bottled favorites. The kitchen features brats and giant Bavarian-style pretzels. It was voted "Best Downtown Bar" by readers last month.

The Red Accordion
1137 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 273-5700

The house brew at this new establishment is "Red Accordion Ale," brewed by Lakefront. The food menu -- with everything under $10 -- is loaded with sliders and a number of tapas-style, small-plate dishes. A private dining area in back -- complete with fireplace -- and private booths, each with red velvet curtains and personal televisions, make this a great spot for a night with the ladies or fellas, or for time with that special somebody.

Suite Milwaukee
1103 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 270-9653

This is not a place to go wearing a college sweatshirt. Occupying the former "Have a Nice Day Cafe" space, Suite is an upscale club that recreates the atmosphere and service of high-class clubs in bigger cities. Featuring hip and modern décor with an open layout, there are also private suites and bottle service available.

1033 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 291-5600

Few restaurants juggle their alcohol and food business as well as Tutto. It's big, but doesn't feel cavernous. The individual flat-screen televisions in every booth will get a workout this weekend. The Notte Night Lounge is upstairs.

Wisconsin Cheese Bar
1048 N. Old World 3rd St., (414) 272-3544

Not a place to go if you're looking to tie one on. But, it's a good place to try some wine, cheese and beer flights and soak up some of the flavors of Milwaukee.


Miller Time Pub
509 W. Wisconsin Ave., (414) 271-2337

Attached to the Milwaukee Hilton, the MTP offers an outstanding cheeseburger and -- do we have to say it? -- plenty of Miller products.

Jim's Time Out
746 N. James Lovell St., (414) 276-9610

Lots of newer bars claim to be "old school." Jim's does it without trying. Try finding a $12 martini here -- you'll have to order out for it. As managing editor Bobby Tanzilo said, "If they'd toss some sawdust and spittoons down, I'd feel transported back to the '30s."

Karma Bar & Grill
600 E. Ogden Ave., (414) 220-4118
Two of necessities for a good sports bar -- plentiful TVs and parking -- are available at Karma. The booths are comfy and waitstaff is friendly.

1123 N. Water St., (414) 277-0293
Sports fans love wings. They love beer. That's what BW-3 does -- in abundance. Many fans will be drawn there out of habit, as most college towns have at least one BW-3.

Fanatics Sports Central
185 N. Jefferson St., (414) 220-8336

Visitors who venture into the Third Ward, a quaint neighborhood filled with unique and trendy shops, will like Fanatics. Stadium seating, a 150-inch main TV and other diversions will make it a great place to follow your bracket.

Zim's Sports Bar
770 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 727-9447

A sports bar tucked away on one of Milwaukee's trendier streets, Zim's will see steady action this weekend from regulars and visitors alike.