By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 05, 2017 at 11:26 AM

The sun is shining and our great Milwaukee summer has begun. That means there's plenty of daylight for chillin' on the patio and enjoying happy hours with friends. This year, we invite you to read along as we get to know our city even better using the 2017 Thirsty Passport, a pocket-sized field guide contains over 30 two-for-one drink offers (including cocktails, beer and wine) from some of the city's best bars, restaurants, breweries, and distilleries.

Patio drinking is a summertime classic here in a city where warm weather seems fleeting at best. And one of the spots west of the city where you can do just that is at Red Dot.

Red Dot is a super duper laid back spot where there’s little pretense. It’s also a great spot to catch live bands. In fact, there’s generally live music every Wednesday and Saturday (the schedule is usually listed on their Facebook page). 

In the case of the Thirsty Passport, you’ll get buy-one-get-one on specialty cocktails, which includes options like the Mean Gene, a Moscow Mule featuring pear, apple and thyme infused vodka with ginger beer and apple cider mix ($6.50) or the Bitter Eddy featuring grapefruit vodka, campari and white grapefruit juice topped with grenadine ($8).

It was a warm one during our visit, and we ordered two General Jacksons with peach whiskey, sweet tea vodka and lemonade ($9). While they were fruitier than the cocktails I’d normally order, these "patio pounders" hit the spot with their easy-drinking charm. Best of all, we spent $9 plus tip on our first round.

If you find yourself hungry while whetting your whistle, the burgers at Red Dot are worth a gander (you can read my review of the Mc Dot here), as is the poutine, which is some of the best in the city. Envision crisp fries with salty gravy and just-melted cheese curds. How could that be bad? Plus, "party size" poutine is just $9 and will feed you and a couple of friends. If you’re visiting for dinner, be sure to ask about the nightly special, which includes great prices on poutine, tacos, wings, ribs and more.

Thirsty Passports are available for $30 each (that's less than $1 per venue) and are good through Nov. 30, 2017. Get yours here. Tip your bartenders and remember the new Milwaukee toast: 414 let's have one more!

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.