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In Bars & Clubs

Milwaukee's Spreenkler, an interactive marketing agency, helds its September meetup at the new Magnolia. (PHOTO: Sam Hogerton)

In Bars & Clubs

The lounge specializes in classic cocktails, but Virgil says his bartenders can make you just about anything you'd like. (PHOTO: Sam Hogerton)

Save room for dessert at the new Magnolia

According to Virgil Maldonado, his new Walker's Point lounge is a great place to either start or end your evening. Magnolia, which recently resurrected the beautiful space at 626 S. 5th St. previously inhabited by Hemingway's Cuban restaurant, specializes in pre- and post-dinner decadence.

In about a week Virgil and his wife Lucia will introduce appetizers -- hummus platters, seafood shish kabobs, gourmet pizzas, among others -- but what Magnolia is most known for at the moment is its selection of desserts.

From 5 until 10 p.m. it offers a dessert menu highlighted by red velvet cake, chocolate explosion cake, pumpkin praline cheesecake and tiramisu.

Lucia, whose uncle owns La Fuente across the street, grew up in the Mexican restaurant business and has the baking skills to prove it. The menu includes a few of her specialties, including chocolate and vanilla flan and various tres leches -- sponge cakes soaked in three different types of milk.

Of course, being a lounge, you always have the option of drinking your dessert. Virgil says he's gone for a throwback theme, celebrating the post-prohibition era with classic cocktails and classic crooners to complement them. You'll find martinis, old fashioneds and brandy Alexanders, as well as a few new signature drinks. The cream magnolia is a rich mixture of Bailey's, Kahlua, amaretto and cream. The refreshing cucumber melon combines Madori, Patron tequila and cucumber juice.

The interior is impressive -- If you'd ever dined at Hemingway's, you'll recognize the building's retained elegance, with ornate hard woodwork and chandeliers glowing over comfortable seating. Virgil calls his cocktail lounge formal, but says its comfortable enough for the jeans-and-a-T-shirt crowd, as well.

Magnolia is only open on weekends (from 5 p.m.) and features live entertainment -- DJs after 10 p.m. on Friday and Sunday and a jazz band on Saturday nights.


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