By Angela Damiani Special to Published Nov 24, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Prior to my move to Milwaukee, I had spent a very limited amount of time in the city as an adult. I would return home from college or later on from my job abroad and occupy most of my time with my family in the suburbs. So it is really no wonder that upon my arrival, I was blatantly ignorant of Milwaukee's many offerings of entertainment.

My lack of awareness quickly dissipated when I stumbled upon Newaukee, a group of young professionals dedicated to traversing Milwaukee's many bars, restaurants, county parks and other hidden gems under the pretense of a happy hour. The informal gatherings attract 200 people who despite their many different professions and backgrounds have one thing in common – they love Milwaukee. With the simple goal of meeting new people and exploring Milwaukee's many facets, this group often travels to the newest venues and establishments – allowing members to venture out of their comfort zones and discover Milwaukee as it evolves.

This past Thursday evening, Newaukee held one of its bi-weekly events at Replay Sports Bar located on 2238 N. Farwell Ave. Previously Twisted Fork, the establishment has reopened as the East Side's newest sports bar. I felt compelled to check out thIS addition to the North Avenue bar scene as well as to check in with the Newaukee crowd.

Let me be frank, I am not a fan of sports of any kind. In fact, Newaukee has single-handedly exposed me to my very first game in every professional sport Milwaukee hosts. As pathetic as this is, I had never even been to a Brewers' game prior to Newaukee's tailgate at Opening Day this year.

Not surprisingly, it was news to me that the Bears would play the Dolphins on Thursday night, but it didn't take long for me to catch on with the dozens of televisions broadcasting the game at Replay and the hundreds of cheering spectators wrapped around the bar. In spite of my lack of knowledge (or interest) of the game, the crowd's energy was invigorating. Before long I caught myself pounding on the bar when those around me had pained expressions cross their faces over some misstep of their team.

The new layout of Replay is a drastic improvement to that of Twisted Fork and perfectly suits the new theme. An open air concept connects the long alleyway bar to the large dining area, creating a cohesive and warm atmosphere. There are several different TV viewing areas throughout the bar, which allow a variety of games to play simultaneously.

Halfway through the night, I looked up at the wailing fans (and foes) of the Bears and realized, while I enjoyed the venue and interacting with die-hard football enthusiasts, it is due to Newaukee that I have braved the unknown time and time again like this. Obviously, I had no real need to watch this particular game, but the amity of the group encouraged me to come to a new sports bar the same way it had repeatedly throughout the past year for a variety of different events exhibiting Milwaukee's beautiful attributes.

I owe my new-found admiration for Milwaukee to Newaukee. Without the organization's numerous gatherings and hospitable members, I doubt I would possess the fervor and infatuation for Milwaukee that I do now. Thanks Newaukee, for welcoming me in and showing me all I had been missing!

(Disclaimer: Newaukee's Ian Abston is also an employee and the author is currently in a relationship with a Newaukee founder.)

Angela Damiani Special to

Angela returned to Milwaukee after living on both coasts and overseas. Filled with uncertainty about the move, she quickly discovered the hidden gem that is Milwaukee. The caliber of arts, music and culture as well as the ease of accessibility to it all, make Milwaukee one of a kind.

After a year of acclimating to life in Milwaukee, she is now surprised she ever doubted the return home in the first place. Exploring the different facets of Milwaukee has been an adventure she never expected and is what you'll mostly read about in this blog.