As soon as the weather gets warmer, the concept of "going out" on the weekend tends to fade and the question changes to what's "going on."
A slight change up of words illuminates the disappearance of drab winter doldrums and emergence of a season packed with more festivals, games, concerts and patio time than any one person can really possibly manage.
I'm all about this changing thought process; subconsciously moving from where should I go tonight to what can I do tonight. It's a transition you can't help but undertake in the Milwaukee summer time.
And the start of the Brewer's season makes it all the easier. At last weekend's home opener, the smell of smoky grills outside the ballpark was the first real sign that despite draining months of grey days, the sun has not left us for good.
So, if you're down for taking a night out on the town at Miller Park, there are plenty of options for travel, in-house entertainment plus pre and post game celebratory destinations.
Not necessarily conducive to full fledged tailgating, I'm still all about biking to the games. The aptly named Hank Aaron Trail is more than an alluding clue, but from the Third Ward, you can hop on the Hank Aaron trail near the 6th Street viaduct bridge and ride it all the way into Miller Park. You avoid traffic and parking.
True, you won't have a car packed with tailgating supplies. But you can bring a few beers and grab eats inside the game or try your luck at be-friending a random tailgate party. You've got to admit Brewer's fans are fairly friendly.
The large ground lots surrounding Miller Park give us the perfect tailgating atmosphere; tons of space and people all nestled closely together. It's ideal for the pre- and post- game tailgate.
But unlike truly urban stadiums like Chicago's Wrigley Field or Boston's Fenway Park, you're going to have to travel a bit further to reach neighboring bars and restaurants. With the exception of in house T.G.I.Friday's, pre-and post- game establishments are all a short walk or shuttle ride away.
North of the stadium, Bluemound Road is lined with bars and restaurants; Kelly's Bleachers, Long Wong's, Steve's on Bluemound and O'Donahue's just to name a few.
Before and after games, no question, these are Brewers bars.
Filled with fans, they've got deals on food, drinks and generally free shuttles right to the front door of Miller Park.
But aside from their game day attributes, each and every one of these bars fills a niche in the neighborhood, collectively creating the kind of free market choice in watering holes our fore fathers hoped we'd one day have.
Late night, Kelly's Bleachers unexpectedly flaunts a packed dance floor. I've seen it in action; hordes of westsiders tearing it up to Top 40 hits every Friday and Saturday.
Long Wong's, a Chinese-American sports bar, is maybe the most eclectic place on the block. Yep, you can order egg rolls with mozzarella sticks mid-ping pong or bowling tournament. Their front room circular bar is a throwback to the days of "Cheers"; if you're looking for a place to make friends, it doesn't get much more helpful than to be forced to be faced each and every one of your potential new buddy's. Pick up post-game competition in the back with two bowling lanes, a ping pong table, air hockey and innumerable video games.
Steve's on Bluemound, affectionately referred to as SOB's, is my favorite of the bunch. It's a typical corner bar with a wood faced bar and greasy grub. They don't try too hard, concentrating on plain and simple offerings.
Whatever your final choice, you won't go wrong with a Brewers night out. So get ready to go out and head to Miller Park.
OnMilwaukee.com 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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.