By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 14, 2024 at 8:15 PM

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There’s a bar on the corner of Logan and Lincoln Avenues in Bay View. It’s called The Mothership. It’s got a tavern vibe for sure. An easy spot to belly up with a beer and a shot for 5 bucks. 


But it also yields a cocktail-lounge-meets-tiki-bar feel. Paper lanterns hang from the ceiling; lucky cats wave from the booze shelves and the 8-page drink menu boasts familiars like mai tais, martinis and Old Fashioneds along with signature creations like “The Wet Wet,” “Long Penicillin,” "Servant Of No One," "That Drink Over There" and many more.


“We are not the bar where bartenders roll their eyes when you order a cocktail,” says owner Ricky Ramirez. “It’s legitimately easier for us to make you a cocktail than it is to make you a vodka soda or whiskey Coke.”

Such was our experience during a visit on a recent Wednesday night. Bartender Jason Parr was just as quick to crack open a Hamm's as he was to whip up something that required a shaker and a strainer. This dichotomy of  the drink menu is a big part of what Parr finds appealing about The Mothership and why he's worked there for almost three years.

"We are a very industry-forward bar making fresh cocktails from scratch while maintaining a friendly corner tavern," says Parr.


All of The Mothership’s purees are culinary grade and their fruit juice is fresh. As usual, the true measurement of quality is in the details.

“We love mezcal and tequila with proper stories made with proper care for the environment and tradition. We also love rum and whiskeys,” says Ramirez. “We make cocktails from every single discipline of the cocktail world.”


The bar also has a solid wine list and Campari on tap, but sticks with macro-brew offerings like Hamm's, Miller Lite and Guinness (which also comes as a boilermaker with a shot of Malort!)

“We let all of our neighboring bars focus on craft beer as they did before we opened,” says Ramirez, whose past service industry experience includes work at Transfer Pizzeria Cafe, Palomino, Strange Town and The Vanguard. 

Ramirez knows The Mothership is not a bar for everyone – and he's totally OK with that.

“Mothership is absolutely not a bar for everyone. We don’t focus on stocking products that most corner bars have and we go into craft spirits more than cocktail bars Milwaukeeans are familiar with,” says Ramirez. 

Humor and lightness are as much a part of Mothership’s culture as strong industry knowledge and scratch-made drinks. The name is a nod to Ramirez's appreciation for science fiction with a whiff of whimsy suggesting an alien landing. 

“Although all the behind the scenes stuff is, nothing about the voice of the bar is serious,” says Ramirez.


Case in point: there's an interest-piquing pair of shiny clown shoes hanging from the northernmost wall.

“The clown shoes are for my obsession with cartoons and are for hitting yourself over the head if you come across someone you find extremely attractive,” says Ramirez. 

In April, The Mothership will celebrate five years in business. Ramirez says it’s a very different bar from the one that opened in 2019. Some of the changes were due to the impact of the pandemic.

The Mothership started out serving food – specifically gas-station-inspired sandwiches – but decided to turn the cooking over to Maya Ophelia’s, a food truck serving up plant-based comfort food that's often parked on the premises. 

Covid did not, however, inflate prices.

“We rock a standard markup on all our alcohol – including all the rare whiskey – which means you don’t ever have to ask what our specials are. Everything is priced to move from open to close,” says Ramirez.

In short, Ramirez is dedicated to bringing fresh concepts and new ways of being a bar to the South Side of Milwaukee. "It's truly a labor of love for the neighborhood that raised me," he says.

So did we ever figure out what kind of bar is The Mothership? A laid back tavern that gives a f-ck? A maker of fine provisions for the people? A cocktail-serious clown saloon?

“I think a problem with bar culture in Milwaukee is that people need to nail a place down,” says Ramirez. "But if we need to answer the question, we are a ‘neighborhood accessible cocktail bar.' And we're definitely a Bucks’ bar too.”

The Mothership is located at 2301 S. Logan Ave. It opens daily at 4 p.m. Follow The Mothership on Instagram and Facebook.


Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.