14 reasons why The Love Shack is where it's at
You won't see a faded sign on the side of the road, but you will see a bright new colorful sign on the side of the river calling you to The Love Shack, the brand new Walker's Point riverfront restaurant and tiki bar in the former Wine Maniacs space at 106 W. Seeboth St., right next to Screaming Tuna. And thankfully, as the chalkboard says at the front entrance, it's just 15 steps away, not 15 miles away.
The Polynesian restaurant and tiki bar will officially open to the public on Saturday, June 24, at 11 a.m., but OnMilwaukee got to take a peak inside – as well as a few swigs and bites – during the venue soft opening Friday night.
Here are 14 photos and reasons why you should bang, bang, on the door, baby.
1. The island decor
From the thatched umbrellas covering the patio tables to the interwoven wooden chairs, bamboo tables and surfboards – serving as tables and wall decor – in the open restaurant area, the tiki theme is fully present throughout The Love Shack.
2. The tiki torch light
Erupting from behind the host stand, climbing up the wall and crawling across the ceiling of The Love Shack is an eye-catching, flame-colored light covered with a vivid tiki design. It adds a slick modern touch to the otherwise retro-infused island getaway.
3. The old school, '50s posters
Adding to the island ambiance are posters, advertisements and "Beach Blanket Bingo" handbills for fun, sunny summertime events and shows. This particular poster is near the back of the restaurant, while another old school pin-up poster helps lead up to the second floor space, The Rhum Bar.
4. The drinks
A bar, of course, is only as good as its beverages – especially in the case of a tiki bar. And The Love Shack has plenty to choose from with 20 tiki drinks on the menu, including the Zombie Punch (left) and the Jaws – a surprisingly smoky, almost spicy grog featuring roasted red pepper syrup and mezcal. The menu includes choices for both individuals and groups.
5. The unique mugs they come in
In case you didn't notice, the tiki drinks come in some delightfully bright beverage cups, ranging from parrots to flamingos and animated faces. Unfortunately, you can't take them with you.
5. The food
Tiki drinks mean business when it comes to booze, so having something to eat to soak up the concoctions is advised. Luckily, The Love Shack offers a 12-item menu of small plate options created by Chef Adam Pawlak, including the immensely flavorful beef skewers (front) and the "Love Shack meatballs."
SPAM-mania is hitting Milwaukee, from the new SPAM Tiny House of Sizzle showing up at Summerfest to The Love Shack menu, featuring several items showcasing the beloved canned meat – such as the above SPAM musuri, with seared SPAM, sticky chive rice, nori, chili aioli and house pickled veggies.
7. The "Mad Men" mahogany
The second floor of The Love Shack shifts tones a bit, moving from a colorful tiki vibe to a warm, rich mahogany bar that Don Draper would surely love to call home.
8. The Rhum Bar
Upstairs is The Rhum Bar, a classy and cozy little hideout featuring a cocktail menu influenced by Trader Vic's founder Vic Bergeron.
9. The cigars
For extra classiness, The Rhum Bar features a selection of cigars as well.
10. The view inside
Located right on the river, across the water from the Third Ward, The Love Shack features an incredible view of the city – especially on a clear Cream City summer night. The restaurant windows also open up to bring a cool breeze into the island hotspot.
11. And the patio view
If you think the view of the city from the bar is nice, wait until you pop outside onto the patio, featuring an assortment of tables with thatched umbrellas and comfy couches with an outstanding look at the splendor of Milwaukee.
13. AND the second floor view
And if THAT view isn't enough for you, The Rhum Bar features a second-floor patio seating area overlooking the river. Basically, you have to work hard to not find something great to look at.
14. "It's a little old place where we can get together"
The back of the bar brightly declares the lyrics of The B-52s' chipper hit. And now it's stuck in your head. We're sorry (but we're not sorry).
The Love Shack will be open seven days a week, Monday-Thursday, from 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
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