By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Feb 03, 2005 at 5:40 AM

{image1}Some people retire and sink into the recliner or hit the golf greens with a vengeance, but not Paul Mueller. Instead, he opened a bar and flung himself into nearly-around-the-clock work weeks.

"I'm hyper," says Mueller, who opened Hot Water, 818 S. Water St., on New Year's Eve. "I can't just sit in front of the TV, I need to be doing things and meeting people."

Hot Water is off the beaten path, on a stretch of Water Street that is almost desolate. But this adds to the charm and mystique of Mueller's impeccable pet project.

"There really aren't enough dance clubs in Milwaukee, so I wanted to open a great one," says Mueller, whose identical twin brother Peter helps him with the venture.

Mueller, a 57-year-old who retired from Stratec, is also a balladeer who loves performing free concerts for other Stratec retirees. He considered calling the bar "Balladeer" but didn't think people would get it.

"This area (Walker's Point/Fifth Ward) is a hot area with all the new condos, and we're on the water, so ..." he says, explaining the logic behind the name of his new dance lounge.

Mueller did almost all of the work himself, including the hanging of a mammoth stained glass spider web over the bar. He also dismantled an unplayable baby grand piano and recycled the top of the piano into a sign for his bar and used the piano's body for his liquor cabinet.

"This is only phase one of the plan," he says. "I also own the attached warehouse and plan to expand into that space as well."

Mueller says by next summer he will have a two-story, all-season patio with three walls of windows overlooking the river. For now, Hot Water has a capacity of 150 but once the warehouse is remodeled it will hold another 200 partiers.

Every Wednesday night at Hot Water is California Swing Night. The Milwaukee Rebels, a professional group of swing dancers, is there every week, not to perform but to dance with the crowd. Thursday nights are "A Little of This and a Little of That" meaning customers can bring in their favorite CDs. Friday is country night, Saturday is swing and jazz night and Sunday is a disco dance jam.

There isn't a cover charge to dance at Hot Water, unless they feature live music. Mueller also has access to a 100-car parking lot to the north of his building, so customers can easily find free parking.

Although Hot Water is in what Mueller calls a "gay neighborhood," he says his bar is for everyone.

"We're all-inclusive here. Just come in and enjoy yourself," he says.

Hot Water is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7 p.m. until close.

On Saturday, Feb. 12 Hot Water will host an event called "Art & Jazz." Shannon Patrick Glynn will play piano music from 8 to 9 p.m.; Sheila Spargur and Claire Morkin will perform with a jazz trio at 10 p.m. Plus, "Saved By The Light" will sell toy art, jewelry and henna tattoos. It's a $5 cover after 10 p.m. No charge to stop in and shop the array of smart art.

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.