Bryant's Cocktail Lounge is closed.
A South Side institution located at 1579 S. 9th St., Bryant's served swanky specialty drinks for more than four decades amid a Sinatra-heavy soundtrack and a setting of mirrored walls, gold wallpaper and black velvet. The cocktail napkins were inscribed with a classic catch-phrase: "In excellent taste for those who care."
Owner Debbie Malmberg, who took over the establishment after the death of her father, Carl, in October 2005, confirmed the closing for OnMilwaukee.com on Wednesday.
"It's unfortunate that we did close," Malmberg said, adding that the building is for sale. "The bar had been there almost 45 years in that same spot and it was open years before my father took over. It's a sad thing. (Running a bar) just isn't for me."
Bryant's, which appealed to blue-collar people from the neighborhood, college students, bachelorette parties and retirees, served about 500 specialty drinks, including Hurricanes, Zombies, Singapore Slings, Blue Hawaiians and the popular Brain Buster (bumper sticker included).
There was no menu -- the waitstaff simply asked patrons to order by flavor.
Though it was popular with customers, the bar closed quietly without any publicity or fanfare. "We did not do that," Malmberg said. "It's kind of sad."
The bar will be missed, and remembered, by those who visited. Another neighborhood institution, Goldmann's department store also recently closed after more than a century on Mitchell Street.
Editor's note: Bryant's reopened in 2008 under new management. Read more here.