In Bars & Clubs

Club Garibaldi (PHOTO: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography)

The perfect pub crawl

If someone lent you a shuttle bus for the night, told you to pack your friends in and go for a pub crawl, where would you go? You're the social coordinator for the evening, and your buddies are expecting that your five places ensure a great time. You're not driving, so proximity isn't an issue.

We asked ourselves that question, and our editorial team came up with some pretty different choices. Enjoy our picks, and use the Talkback feature below this article to tell us your perfect pub crawl.

Julie Lawrence
Staff Writer

I think I may have actually does this once...

1. Nomad World Pub, 1401 E. Brady St. -- If this is an all-day event, I'm starting here for a Bloody Mary.

2. Lakefront Brewery, 1872 N. Commerce St. -- There is nothing more fitting for daytime drinking than the $5 brewery tour offered at Lakefront.

3. Wolski's Tavern, 1836 N. Pulaski St. -- You get a coupon for a free beer here (or some other places on Water St.) when you finish the Lakefront tour. Plus, they have good popcorn, which is probably needed at this point.

4. Nessun Dorma, 2778 N. Weil St. -- You need to eat dinner, but that doesn't mean you need to stop the party. The $2 Capital Ambers are the perfect complement to your panini. (And hey, maybe I'll run into Andy?)

5. Foundation, 2718 N. Bremen St. -- Since I'm already in the Riverwest neighborhood I'll cap my night off at Foundation where the Jack and Cokes are stiff and, in a perfect world, my group is able to full a complete takeover of the mega booth and pool table.

Heather Leszczewicz
OMC Reporter

I don't drink beer, so it's going to be a night of classy cocktails around the town, since we're not driving.

1. Swig, 1225 N. Water St. -- Just to be sure I'm not drinking on an empty stomach, we'll grab dinner, or share a few small plates. We'll pair the food with a tasty martini or, possibly, start off the night with a flight of martinis.

2. Balzac, 1716 N. Arlington Pl. -- Classy atmosphere and a hard decision between wine and cocktails. However, since I've already started with the martinis, it'll probably be a cocktail choice.

3. Hi-Hat Lounge, 1701 N. Arlington Pl. -- My group will traipse across the street to Hi-Hat for another martini, but something chocolate or sweet.

4. Caffrey's, 717 N. 16th St. -- A little college bar atmosphere for flavor with an Amaretto Sour and a shot all around, plus popcorn.

5. Lucille's Rockin' Pianos, 1110 N. Old World 3rd St. -- I'll put a close to my night with some fun piano music and a yummy frozen house specialty drink or two.

Drew Olson
Senior Editor

The keys to a successful pub crawl are planning, pacing and an eclectic list of both bars and guests (remember to get as big a bus as possible, because the best pub crawls gather attendees as the night progresses). The most important thing to do is arrange safe rides home for all crawlers!

Since, I would plan different pub crawls for summer and winter, this version would take place in the summer, with an array of snacks, a party sub, some tasty chilled shots and a quarter-barrel of beer (preferably High Life) and plenty of plastic cups on board.

In organizing past crawls, I found that it's good to solicit recommendations from each guest and try to structure the crawl so you hit different bars in different regions of town. It's best to put the longer "trips" early in the crawl, because the bus rides can foster camaraderie and conversation and the later rides need frequent bathroom breaks. (If you get a bus with a bathroom, that's a bonus). It's also important to bring a referee's whistle to sound a five-minute warning followed by a "get on the bus" blast. The general rule is "one drink per bar," because you have to keep the party moving. That's the idea.

Here is the lineup. You'll notice that I couldn't limit myself to five stops, but the pub crawl poobah has the ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage and lop bars off the list (or add others):

1. Friday's Front Row Grill, Miller Park -- My crawl would take place on a Friday or Saturday night when the Brewers are out of town. We'd gather at Friday's because of its central location and huge parking lot. If the Brewers are on the East Coast, we can gather at about 6 p.m., watch the first inning and hit the road.

2. Ray and Dot's, 6351 W. Grange Ave., Greenfield -- This bar, located in Greenfield on Grange Ave., is a quintessential Milwaukee tavern. Last time we went, the tappers were 35 cents.

3. Kneisler's White House Tavern, 2900 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. -- While the rest of Bay View got trendy over the past 10 years or so, this place has been a mainstay since 1891.

4. Wicked Hop, 345 N. Broadway -- The Brewers game may be heading into the late innings when we get to this Historic Third Ward stop. The question is, will anybody notice? The food is good, but anybody who wants to eat should phone in an order from the bus to reduce waiting time. A good place for latecomers to join the crawl in progress.

5. Bar Louie, 1114 N. Water St. -- We normally wouldn't stop at a chain, but we make an exception because of the location (latecomers can meet us here at a designated time) and large beer garden. Invariably, this is where the crowd on the pub crawl changes. Some people will miss the bus. We'll pick up new riders. The diehards will remain. (Note: If Bar Louie is deemed to crowded or "chain-like," we'll hit County Clare, 1234 N. Astor St., for a pint.

6. Wolski's Tavern -- To have a Milwaukee pub crawl without going 'Skiing' would be a crime. I'd have said the same thing about the National Liquor Bar (even though they kicked us out during one of my pub crawls), but the joint is closed.

7. Leff's Lucky Town, 7208 W. State St., Wauwatosa -- It'll be fun to watch friends from Chicago laugh at the size of the urinal in the men's room. Also, a key stop because there is a George Webb's within stumbling distance.

Back to Friday's (or home). Be sure and tip the bus driver.

Jeff Sherman

Pub crawls bring me back to my Marquette days, so I must begin on campus. Then, a nice tour of city is needed, so a bus or at least a driver is a must. Off we go.

1. Jim Hegarty's Pub, 1120 W. Wells St. -- It's not the Avalanche or O.D.'s, two legends of MU bar days of yore, but Hegarty's is real and a perfect place to begin a voyage into downtown.

2. The Harp Irish Pub, 113 E. Juneau Ave. -- I'm pretending it's summer, so stop two is the Harp. Patio, maybe some food and hit it around happy hour.

3. Von Trier, 2235 N. Farwell Ave. -- Nothing says East Side Milwaukee like the bar at Von Trier. Your group can nosh on popcorn and enjoy Bitburger on tap.

4. The Nomad -- From the East Side to Brady. No bar crawl is complete without The Nomad. Whether you have a mug or not, it's an institution.

5. Swinging Door, 219 E. Michigan Ave. -- It's getting late, but you must have a last call. Swinging Door does it. Never been here? Ask no questions, just know that it's closing time and time for you to go out to the places you will be from.

Molly Snyder Edler
Staff Writer

1. Uptowner, 1032 E. Center St. -- Since I live in the neighborhood, I can't pass up the chance to down one with the beautiful people. You know who you are.

2. Yield, 1932 E. Kenilworth Pl. -- I really like this chill, completely non-pretentious watering hole, and I added it to my short list of places to go when I'm not feeling fabulous, just friendly and thirsty.

3. Nomad World Pub -- I'm always happy to be reunited with my ceramic pint glass that's been hanging on a hook behind the bar for close to 10 years now. This could easily be the end of the line for me, because The Nomad has a way of sucking every last dollar from my pocket –- and every last shred of my sobriety. However, if I'm still standing, I'm heading to the South Side.

4. Highbury, 2320 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. -- This seems like the ideal follow-up to The Nomad, because the energy is similar inside the two places. Might have something to do with Joe Katz, but who knows.

5. Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh Ave. -- If I'm ever in doubt whether or not to have "one more," my answer is always "Art Bar."

Bobby Tanzilo
Managing Editor

Because they're all cool and they're all in walking distance, I think these five Bay View bars make a great pub crawl.

1. Club Garibaldi, 2501 S. Superior St. -- Because I feel at home here thanks to Tag and Joe and Win, it's comfortable and makes me want to hum the "Cheers" song.

2. Palomino, 2491 S. Superior St. -- Run across the street to eat some dinner, especially if it's warm and I can eat outside. I'll also bring some dough to plug the jukebox.

3. Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave. -- Pop in to see a band in the back room, check out the scene at the bar and support Eric, who has long supported local music.

4. Frank's Power Plant, 2800 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. -- For a cold Pabst and a mellow scene.

5. The Highbury -- Close out the night at the Highbury, hopefully watching a soccer match. If there's no game on, I just might run across to Lulu, 2261 S. Howell Ave., and have a snack.

Andy Tarnoff

If I had a short bus to drive me around the city, I'd pick these five bars for a fun night of libations.

1. Nessun Dorma -- Start with a tasty base of a panini and some pesto, washed down by some affordable (yet excellent) red wine.

2. Village Pub, 4408 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood -- It always feels like Up North at this Shorewood bar, where the High Lifes (High Lives?) are cold, and the regulars are always entertaining. Hopefully, it's baseball season and a Brewers game is on the tube.

3. Bar Lulu -- Later in the evening, maybe a Mojito or two and, and if I'm lucky, some live music.

4. Palm Tavern, 2989 S. Kinnickinic Ave. -- Time to settle in with a Belgian beer and some mellow tunes, courtesy of Bruno.

5. Hector's South, 3040 S. Delaware Ave. -- Close to home, I'll wrap up commiserating with the transplanted bartenders of Fish Creek's Bayside Tavern.



T-Rex | Feb. 10, 2007 at 4:49 p.m. (report)

A whole bunch of great spots mentioned in all of the crawls... I still have a problem with a bar column from someone in Milwaukee who does not like beer. But anyway... even if I had a short bus, I think I would prefer to spend the maximum time in my favorite establishments, rather than hauling the proverbial ass around town. I completely agree with the Bay View crawl, all within walking (later crawling) distance. For some real interest, add At Random for some fru fru drinks and Deano. To add a few South side musts, I always like Milwaukee's oldest tavern in existence, the Landmark. You said fifty beers on tap? I'm there. There are some eclectic establishments off the trendy beaten path, including South Milwaukee, and of course the 1-mile stretch of bars in Cudahy. South Shore Inn is a classic small Wisconsin tavern, and always friendly and inexpensive (with some good beers like New Glarus). Just make sure you throw your peanut shells on the floor...

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bustergirl | Feb. 10, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. (report)

1. Hooligan's - something to eat and play a little trivia 2. Pinter's - best kept secret in Cudahy, cheap drinks and they now have shuffleboard!! 3. Bayview Post on KK - now have liquid courage to sing a little karaoke 4. Mad Planet - (fri night)dancing 5. Point's East - see a band or put some tunes on the jukebox

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dedikated | Feb. 10, 2007 at 2:28 p.m. (report)

Let's not forget about Paddy's and Vitucci's.

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admiral | Feb. 10, 2007 at 7:49 a.m. (report)

1. Champion's Pub-parking and free shuffleboard 2. Koz's Mini Bowl-duck pin bowling 3. Miss Katie's Diner-more shuffleboard and food 4. Safe House-no password usage 5.Wolski's-can't start here you would never finish-PJ's Bloody Marys at midnight 6. Vitucci's-pool, cocktails, and they put the band back together 7.Jazz Estate-good music and good drinks 8.Red Dot-bar dice and a booth to collapse in and at the end of the block from the original scene of the crime. 9.Champion's-call a cab

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