By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 13, 2019 at 2:30 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

It’s almost time to get your first taste of Neighborhood Draft, a new Washington Heights venue which opens this week in the former Maison restaurant space at 5921 W. Vliet St. 

Curious neighbors can get a first look at the space during an open house soft opening on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. But the venue will be up and running with a full menu on Friday, Nov. 15 beginning at 3 p.m.

The venue, operated by Tomkens Bar & Grill owner Brian Felten, will incorporate "the best elements of a corner bar" with a menu of scratch-made casual fare. In other words, it aspires to be a comfortable neighborhood hang-out with affordable fare, a great draft list and some fun elements to keep things interesting.

The interior of the space is warm and casual with earth toned walls, hardwood flooring and seating for 50-60 at low-top tables and an extensive bar. A jukebox stocked with a variety of classic rock, blues and 80s new wave music will set the mood.

On the menu

At the bar, selections will include 15 Milwaukee-based taps (including neighborhood brews from spots like Vennture Brew Co.), plus six selections from Wisconsin breweries. There will also be a solid selection of Menomonee Valley domestics including Hamm’s, Schlitz, Miller Lite and High Life, six house wines and a limited cocktail list featuring house favorites (including a bloody mary).

Adventurous guests can also try their hand at the "Elton Felten," a repurposed soda machine that will be stocked with a grab bag of random domestic cans, along with select specialty brews. Insert $2 and press one of the buttons to reveal your mystery brew.

The menu will feature a variety of appetizer style plates including a variety of seasoned fries (with dipping sauces), housemade beer-battered onion rings and Milwaukee-inspired snacks like "Sunday Ham Rolls" featuring ham-wrapped cheese in fried wonton wrappers and Buffalo skins (potato skins topped with chicken, buffalo sauce and blue cheese).

There will also be items like Kobe beef sliders topped with stout onions, cheddar and ale mustard and a new Felten classic "Oysters that Rock Ya Fella" featuring the classic dish atop a slice of seared tenderloin.

Slow roasted wings, an item to which Felten brings particular expertise, will also be a staple. They’ll be served with guests' choice of five core sauces, plus two daily features.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 15, Neighborhood Draft will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.

For updates, specials and more information, follow Neighborhood Draft on Facebook and Instagram.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.