By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jun 01, 2013 at 5:26 AM

As a lifelong Milwaukeean with two decades of legal drinking under her belt, I have been to quite a few Brew City bars, lounges, taverns, night clubs, music venues and the like.

But I have my share of bar blind spots, too – those places I always meant to stop in but, for no particular reason, never did. I spent the last couple of weeks making a point to stop in at such places.

Milwaukee just keeps unfolding for me, even after all these years.

7413 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 453-9094
Benno’s has 30 beers on tap and about 100 varieties of beer total, with many I never heard of, including Sprecher Czar Brew and Check Point Charlie, a collaborative wheat beer made by Lakefront and Leinenkugel. I’m hopeless when it comes to appreciating micro beers, so I ordered a Guinness, which was incredibly fresh. I liked the atmosphere: it was clean, casual and comfortable with a friendly barkeep named Jessica (who’s also the general manager) and a menu that went beyond the usual bar fare, including a plethora of Cajun items. I’ll be back for the fish fry.

City Lounge
3455 E. Layton Ave., (414) 747-8408
I remember when Cudahy’s City Lounge opened in 2007 as a smoke-free bar. Three years before the smoking ban, it was a gutsy move that I respected, and yet I never made it to the place until last week. Owned by Joe Halser, the bar has the same look and feel as his other place, Landmark 1850 Inn. There’s wrought iron fencing, a police call box, antique chandeliers, a vintage "bubbler" and stretches of cream city brick in the floor. City Lounge has a solid beer selection – including Halser’s private label III Dachshunds beer. Although we only sampled appetizers, we found the lightly battered and fried green beans quite good.

Coyote Ugly
1131 N. Water St., (414) 271-4383
I have never seen the movie, nor had I stepped inside a Coyote Ugly – a chain of bars with 23 locations world wide – until last week. There was, indeed, an attractive female bartender dancing on the bar, the signature activity at Coyote Ugly. Another signature activity is body shots, which sell for $20 and usually entail a customer lying on the bartop while another person slurps (usually tequila) from their belly button. The happy hour specials are worth noting, too. Weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m., all drafts are $2, including imports and microbrews. Coyote Ugly definitely has a Bourbon Street feel to it, especially in the summertime when the garage door is up and the street side bar is open. But female bartenders are of course the main draw. Aside from dancing, they make suggestive and crowd-exciting comments into microphones while wearing sexy clothing. "Unlike strippers, we don’t take our clothes off. We aren’t raunchy," says employee Kaylani Ross. There is, however, a decent collection of customers’ bras, underwear and ties hanging behind the bar. Hmmm ...

Johnson’s Green Seven
6191 N. Green Bay Rd., (414) 228-9963
This bar and grill has been on the corner of Bender and Green Bay Roads for 51 years. For a few decades, it was called the Green 7, but when the original owner passed away and his sons took over, they changed the name to Johnson’s Green Seven. Basically, it’s a sports bar and grill adorned with many strands of green holiday lights and electronic gambling machines. It definitely has an "Up North" feel to it, but the most interesting aspect of this place is "Messy" the bartender, who often moonlights around town as Santa. More on him soon in an upcoming bartender profile.

Liq-er Box
2227 E. St. Francis, (414) 231-9428
The first time I drove by Liq-er Box, I was on my way to Redbar, my favorite St. Francis bar. Based on the name "Liq-er Box" and the fact there were two women motorcyclists smoking in front of the tavern, I wondered if Liq-er Box was a lesbian biker bar. I was slightly disappointed to find out it’s not. Instead, it’s a no-frills watering hole with a cool vintage beer can collection and a bunch of racing memorabilia. Nothing wrong with that, just not what I was expecting. 

3300 W. National Ave., (414)643-1673
The old school, neon signage on the West Side of the building appealed to me for years and I finally stopped in on Tuesday for the Open Jam. Milwaukee Blues legend, Stokes, owned the stage (which doubles as a game room area on nights without music), and a handful of Milwaukee musicians sat in with him and jammed. The decor features antique bikes hanging from the ceilings and vintage beer signs. The drinks are cheap: especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays when its two-for-one cocktails, and the diversity and good energy of the scene has made this, quite possibly only after a single visit, one of my favorite night spots in the city.

1319 E. Henry Clay St., (414)964-3800
I had been to the Pandl’s in Bayside, which is now closed, and finally ventured into this gem of Milwaukee heritage. The front room at the 98-year-old Pandl’s is a restaurant but there’s an attached bar that’s much like the beer: dark and German flavored. Pandl’s has a great stein collection and framed old menus listing a Schlitz or a High Life for 20 cents. The most intriguing bar menu item is a Wisconsin-brewed house beer, called Pandlbrau, that’s served in a frosty glass mug. They also offer homemade bar snacks. This is always a crowd pleaser. And it’s fun being the youngest person in the bar for once.

Scaffidi’s Hideout
1837 N. Humboldt Ave., (414)273-1665
I was born, raised and lived on the East Side most of my adult life, and yet, I never ducked into Scaffidi’s. Basically, it’s a pool bar with three seemingly well-maintained pool tables. The bar offers decent specials like $3 for any pint on Tuesdays and $2 Pabsts on Sundays. I found the massive mirror hanging on the ceiling over the bar most intriguing. I didn’t get it, and yet, I kinda liked its weirdness. I’m not a big pool player so I probably wouldn’t scout out the joint, but for those with a bias toward billiards, it’s a cool place.

800 S. 2nd St., (414)672-7139
I actually had been to Steny’s years ago, but I put it on this list because I couldn't really remember much about it and because I recently rediscovered it in a new way. We stopped in during the day when the Brewers game was on and were pleased with the fun atmosphere, on-tap Guinness, enclosed patio and general kid-friendliness. There’s a kids’ menu and the vibe, at least during the day, was appropriate for little people, who especially liked the pinball machines and free popcorn

Treats Tavern
2221 N. Humboldt Ave., (414)265-7054
I believe this was a biker bar prior to what it is today: a jazz and blues bar owned by transvestite Marc Antony. The scene attracts a very diverse group of people of different races and all ages – we watched an elderly man kick a young guy’s butt in pool. There’s also a strong LGBTQ presence, including middle aged guys in sequin get ups. The drinks are really cheap – a tall can of Guinness was only $4 and served to me by Marc’s pleasant daughter, Erica. The space was surprising to me. The front area features a classic Milwaukee tavern feel complete with an attractive wooden bar, but the back room was clearly remodeled, with high, vaulted ceilings, leaded glass, skylights and a stage. Treats is a portal to many different lifestyles and proof that we really can all get along.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.