By Maureen Post Special to Published Nov 06, 2009 at 3:07 PM

In only eight months, Milwaukee is destined to go smoke-free. While plenty of contentious discussion still surrounds the issue, Milwaukee is by no means at the forefront of this movement; we've had plenty of time to hem and haw over what should be done.

New York City, which went smoke-free in 2002, made the leap and adjusted successfully. The culture in the city that never sleeps promotes late night adventure with 4 a.m. bar times and open-late eateries on every corner.

Last weekend, on a trip out east, I had a preview of the smoke-free world. In the end, all I can say is that it was pretty nice.

But, smoking rules are far from the only difference between Brew City and the big city.

There are, of course, differences in bar time. In Milwaukee, last call is around 1:30 or 2 a.m.; in New York, it turns into a late one when you can stay up sipping cocktails and mingling until 4 or 4:30 a.m.

The pros and cons abound. In New York, there is so much to try and so far to wander, you need those extra hours simply to make a dent in the hundreds of places popping open every season.  But, day in and day out, a 4:30 a.m. bedtime equals very early mornings even if you have the luxury of sleeping until 10 a.m.

As for late-night snacking, we've got a decent share of after hours joints offering pizza, gyros and burritos. But, it's no match for the eclectic international tour you can get in New York at any hour of the day. Without even trying, you'll run across diners, ethnic restaurants, tapas bars and hidden eateries on every block of Midtown, Hell's Kitchen and Greenwich Village.

And there's undoubtedly a difference in cocktail creation. New York's artistic skill spills over into the art of bartending as you find cocktail menus teaming with specialty liquors and never-before-heard of combinations. But let's not shortchange Milwaukee.

Places like Bryant's, Roots Cellar, Hinterland's Lounge, ZenDen and the Hi-Hat each boast bartenders dedicated to expanding upon Wisconsin's usual mixers.

But, the one place we've hands down got the NYC beat is on price. You won't find a $4 cocktail in Manhattan and you'll certainly be hard pressed to find $2 cans of Pabst.

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.