By Maureen Post Special to Published Jun 05, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Bartenders have been transformed into liquid chefs and what was once a dark, sports bar is now a trendy, cozy lounge.

That's just the tip of the iceberg at the Hyatt's new Bar 333.

They've renovated the look, the menu and the flavors to transition into a modern Milwaukee where sport meets luxury and tradition meets innovation.

Located on the main floor of the hotel and adjacent to Bistro 333, we checked out Bar 333's new cocktail menu of classic staples and modern twists last weekend.

Offering drinks made famous by everybody from Frank Sinatra to Rosalind Russell, classics like the Sidecar and Bahama Mama suggest a snap of historic tradition. And while your liquid chef is more than happy to shake one up for you, they openly have vested pride in their newly conjured speciality cocktails.

A week of training and creation with a west coast mixologist resulted in the creation of 60 cocktails, eight of which debut on Bar 333's permanent lounge menu. The Blueberry Mojito, China White and Thyme Smash are just a few of the several to make the mixologist's cut and the staff behind the bar doesn't hesitate to tell you why.

The bar's set up alone reveals their modern take on drink composition. From air tight canisters stuffed with fresh basil, mint, blueberries, cucumbers and olives to hand juicers lining the back wall of the bar, Bar 333 isn't hiding their demand for fresh ingredients.

Infusing drinks with fresh lemon and lime juice, Bar 333 cocktails fuse unexpected liquors for intentional plays on sweet and sour, light and heavy.

With coy quotes like "more addictive than its name" or "fidel would love it," China White and the Blueberry Mojito respectively add summer invention to age old combinations. China White, at first glance a classic vodka and grapefruit juice, bubbles to the surface with a dash of sparkling white sake and white cranberry juice. Adorned with a fortune cookie, drink presentation fully formulates the overarching concepts.

Likewise, the Blueberry Mojito muddles fresh blueberries to the classic mint recipe but then also adds a dash of homemade lime simple syrup.

And while the cocktail menu might conjure images of a new wave Milwaukee, the beers on tap do not. Paying homage to brewcity, Bar 333 keeps it local with tappers of Miller Lite, Miller High Life, New Glarus Spotted Cow and Schlitz.

Directly connected to the Hyatt's sprawling lobby, there's no question Bar 333 is a hotel bar. But, luckily for travelers and locals alike, it's redefining hotel expectations.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.