By Julie Lawrence Special to Published Jul 25, 2009 at 9:03 AM

A Saturday night out in Bay View last weekend proved to be both encouraging and a bit of a disappointment.

Friends asked us to meet them out for an early evening drink and when they suggested the new-ish Tonic Tavern, 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., I was excited to check out the new space that my boss Andy Tarnoff had favorably previewed when it opened back in June.

My frequent drive bys showed hints of an impressive build-out of an old horse stable that had been converted into a garage before becoming a sweet little sipping spot. Plus, the outdoor space intrigued me. As weeks slipped by, I noticed the large patio, which occupies almost a parking lot's worth of space between the actual building and KK, evolved from a few tables and chairs into a cozily closed in beer garden in the heart of Bay View.

The mood on a warm summer night was nothing if not pleasant, with a small fire burning in the gas fireplace and plenty of options to either belly up to the bar in back, sit outside near the street, or somewhere in the middle where the open-air concept gives you the best of both worlds.

The tap selection was impressive --Sprecher's new EPA was a highlight -- and the $5 pint of homemade sangria was refreshing and delicious.

The only thing that brought the night down was what we noticed as we walked back to our car. Dee's Wine Stop, 2327 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., closed in early July.

Dee's was a great little locally-owned wine and craft beer shop that opened in February 2008. Owner Deanne Wecker, who also owns Lee's Luxury Lounge, spent the better part of her first year building out the storefront next to hers to make it into a connected tasting room, but closed before she could do too much with the new space.

It's sad to see the place go; the prices were affordable and the selection was savvy, including organic and vegan (casein- and isinglass-free varieties). The indecisive drinker in me also really enjoyed the mix-and-match six pack option.

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”