By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Aug 22, 2020 at 8:31 AM

While the Bucks are once again in the playoffs at the Eastern Conference's top seed, things look completely different in Milwaukee this year. The once-roaring Fiserv Forum is silent as the games shifted to the bubble in Orlando, and the joyful viewing parties outside the arena are gone. 

Or are they?

Yes, you can still gather and cheer with your fellow Bucks fans while also staying safe and social distanced thanks to a special outdoors playoff cheering section at The Beer Garden (which should still be called the Deer Garden) in the shadow of Fiserv Forum.

Located in the alley way between The MECCA and the former Punch Bowl Social, The Beer Garden still features its massive 28-foot screen, making it impossible to miss the game from just about any angle, and the clear covering to keep the outdoor viewing fun going even if a rain storm pops into the forecast. But the picnic tables from pre-COVID times have been replaced by a plethora of round tables, scattered thoroughly but comfortably distanced around the space with more than six feet between each, inviting fans to gather and watch together in a festive but still safe environment that's distanced and open air. 

(Note: Please try not to move chairs from their tables and please keep your groups close to your particular table in order to keep the space as safe as possible for everyone. And still bring your mask.)

(PHOTO: The Beer Garden Facebook)

Of course, it wouldn't be a true Milwaukee fan experience without some beer and food to help wash down a Bucks win so The Beer Garden does have its taproom counter open. The counter serves a lineup of macros, local craft options and seasonal brews on draft and in cans from the likes Raised Grain, New Glarus, Good City and Leinenkugel's, as well as White Claw, that you can order and take back to your table to enjoy. 

As for food, The Beer Garden offers tasty snacks from the Deer District's new pop-up poultry purveyor, Cream City Cluckery, serving up exceptionally tasty chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, a fish fry on Fridays and comfort food sides like mac and cheese or their ooey gooey butter cake for dessert – all dining editor Lori Fredrich approved! You won't have to miss a slam dunk either as Cream City Cluckery delivers directly to your Beer Garden table. Each table has a menu and number, so you can order online at Cream City Cluckery's website, put your table's digits in the notes category and get a tasty halftime repast delivered right to you.

For a wider menu of options, The MECCA Sports Bar & Grill in Deer District is also open for the Bucks playoff run, offering distanced indoor seating but also significant patio room with TVs all over the restaurant, making it just about impossible to miss the game from wherever you're sitting.

As an added bonus, The MECCA and The Beer Garden also offer free gear in the form of a sweet Bucks snapback hat for those who make a table reservation during the playoffs. So that's food, fashion, fandom AND hopefully the NBA Finals all on tap in the Deer District. 

To make a reservation (and snag your free hat) for either The MECCA or The Deer Garden The Beer Garden during an upcoming Bucks playoff game, call (414) 908-0401. And even though the games may be far away in a bubble in Florida, let's make sure Giannis and company can still hear us cheering them on together (safely) all the way from Milwaukee. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.