MINNEAPOLIS -- "I had no idea there was a Nomad in Milwaukee," jokes Todd Smith, owner of the Minneapolis Nomad, 501 E. Cedar Ave.
Yes, fans of world pubs, it's true: Mike Eitel owns the Milwaukee Nomad, 1315 E. Brady St., and he sold the licensing for a second Nomad to Smith, a college friend, so he could extend the concept in Minneapolis.
Smith scouted out locations, and found a building in the West Bank neighborhood -- formerly the Five Corners Saloon where Bob Dylan gigged long ago -- and knew it was a great fit for "The Nomad of the North" concept.
At the time, Eitel was a part of Diablos Rojos Group with Scott Johnson and Leslie Montemurro. The three spent time with Smith, helping him start up the business.
"I got a licensing deal with Mike," says Smith. "At the time, I was hoping they would just run it and we'd partner because I didn't know anything about running a bar."
And yet, the Minneapolis Nomad is a thriving establishment that, like the Milwaukee pub, emphasizes soccer and Belgian beer.
"We have a lot of craft beer, too. Minneapolis is a hotbed for craft beer," says Smith.
"Both the building and the neighborhood have a striking resemblance (to Milwaukee's Nomad)," says Eitel. "The West Bank neighborhood is kick-ass, with racial / ethnic diversity, international flavor and an interesting "Willy Street" / university crowd, along with a '90s Bucktown feel. I absolutely love the place."
The Nomad of the North opened on March 15, 2005 -- on the 10-year anniversary of the Milwaukee Nomad and Eitel's birthday. The space is slightly larger than the Milwaukee Nomad, and offers outdoor bocce ball courts and live music. Years ago, the Milwaueke Nomad featured live bands, but does not regularly host them anymore.
Smith says he and Eitel considered co-ownership of the Minneapolis Nomad, but the timing wasn't quite right, so he -- along with Steve Hance -- became the sole owners.
The Minneapolis Nomad has other Milwaukee connections, too. Milwaukee bands like The Gufs make regular appearances, and both Nomads offer the "Prix fix:" a beer, a shot and a cigarette. (Even though the smoking ban exists in both states.)
But there are a few differences, too. Hall says the Minneapolis Nomad is more dog-friendly than the Milwaukee version, because the laws are more lax.
On Oct. 9, the Minneapolis Nomad is one of the stops on what's billed as the world's largest zombie crawl, featuring a bloody T-shirt contest.
On Friday afternoons, the Nomad to the north hosts the Friday Afternoon Alcoholics Club that was started by graduate students a few years ago.
Overall, satisfied drinkers everywhere can revel in the fact that the Minneapolis Nomad is alive and kicking in the North.
"The recession has been a great thing for our bar," says Smith. "We're very affordable."
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.