West Side bar guide
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on April 29, 2004 at 5:42 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
A dilemma confronts some Brewers fans as they leave Miller Park -- where to go for a post-game beer. Many fans instinctively go to the pubs on Bluemound Road. But after games on a Friday or Saturday, these bars can be pretty crowded. And a series against the Cubs brings another unpleasant factor to the Bluemound night spots -- the presence of over-served and over-confident Cubs fans.
O'Brien's Pub on 50th and Vliet is an example of an alternative post-game destination (or a good choice on any day, any time of year for that matter). O'Brien's is a lively bar with a large selection of beers. And the best aspect of O'Brien's when that baseball team from the north side of Chicago is in town -- it seems to be unknown to the Cub Nation.
Take a trip to O'Brien's and other West Side watering holes with OnMilwaukee.com.
(Please note, Tosa bars have not been included, as they will be featured in a separate guide.)
5326 W. Bluemound Rd.
On tap: Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Leinie's Red, Leinie's Honey Weiss, Murphy's, Guinness, Harp, Sprecher Amber, Newcastle, Beamish, John Courage, McEwan's, Kronenburg 1664
Grill: yes. Big Screen TV: yes. Music: jukebox. Games: Golden Tee.
"This place is dead," a newcomer to Derry's once said. His comment was not a reflection of how busy Derry's was -- in fact there wasn't a single seat open at the bar that particular night. The truth is that Derry's is not the type of place that will meet the expectations of a young bar-hopper -- and to many, that's a good thing. Derry's is a quiet joint, with no pool tables, dartboards or loud music. And the demographic there definitely skews old -- it's a favorite haunt of many Milwaukee politicians.
Proprietor Derry Hegarty is the dean of Milwaukee Irish pub owners. Hegarty's place seems to have become the touchstone of the St. Patrick's Day experience in Milwaukee -- the place is a zoo on March 17 and during the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Derry's has good burgers and a Friday night fish fry. If you just want a snack, try the cashews for 50 cents -- they warm them under a heat lamp behind the bar.
Friday's Front Row Grill
1 One Brewers Way (Miller Park)
On tap: MGD, Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Lowenbrau, Foster's, Coors Light, Bud, Bud Light, Leinie's Red, Leinie's Honey Weiss, Leinie's Creamy Dark, Leinie's Big Butt, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Sprecher Amber, New Glarus Spotted Cow, New Glarus Native, Guinness, Bass, Blue Moon, Sam Adams Boston Lager, Sam Adams Light, Capital Amber, Labatt's Blue and others. Over 20 brands in bottles.
Grill: yes, restaurant food. Big Screen TV: yes (7). Games: video games.
When the Brewers played at County Stadium, league rules dictated that beer couldn't be sold after the seventh inning. Fortunately, the Brewers were able to exploit some sort of loophole when they built Miller Park -- Friday's Front Row Grill serves drinks throughout the game and after. They usually have a pretty good post-game beer special.
Open year-round, the Front Row Grill offers one of Milwaukee's best respites from the long winter -- a view of the bright green baseball diamond at Miller Park (although at times it's covered by a white tarp).
The Front Row Grill has the biggest selection of beers on the west side -- over 20 beers on tap. This is definitely the place to go if you want fruity drinks or dessert drinks -- Mudslides, Strawberry Banana Coladas, Strawberry Daquiris, and Rum Runners to name a few. Happy Hour specials are offered Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. until close.
5218 W. Bluemound Rd.
On tap: MGD, Miller Lite, Sprecher Amber, Leinie's Red, Leinie's Creamy Dark, Leinie's Honey Weiss, Bud, Bud Light, Murphy's, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse
Grill: yes. Big Screen TV: yes (5). Music: jukebox, live music, dj/dancing on Fridays and Saturdays; Tuesday is 'Country Night', with line dancing. Games: pool, darts, video games, Golden Tee, pinball.
Kelly's Bleachers is a good spot to watch big games: five big screen TV's, numerous smaller ones, and they know enough to turn the music off and the game sound up.
The walls at Kelly's are decorated with Wisconsin sports mementos. A notable one is an autographed picture of the almost forgotten Bonnie Brewer.
After Brewers games you can use your ticket stub for half off beer taps. If you want to discuss the game in detail, you might want to try another bar -- the music here is very loud. It's the only bar near Miller Park with a dance floor, so it may attract more girls after the game -- or at least the guys trying to meet them.
5230 W. Bluemound Rd.
On tap: Murphy's, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Newcastle, Sprecher Amber, Leinie's Red, Leinie's Honey Weiss, MGD, Miller Lite
Grill: yes, restaurant food. Big Screen TV: yes. Music: jukebox, live music. Games: pool, air hockey, darts, video games.
Long Wong's bills itself as Milwaukee's only Chinese-American sports bar -- while we have not verified this, it is true to the best of our knowledge. Long Wong's is a good choice after a Brewer game if you're looking for something more subdued than the cacophony of Kelly's Bleachers. Like many bars in the area, Long Wong's runs a shuttle to Miller Park for baseball games.
Long Wong's is the only venue on the west side of the city that features jazz on a regular basis. Gary Christensen's All-Star Super Band plays every Thursday from 5:30 to 7:45 p.m.
4919 W. North Ave.
On tap: Sprecher Black Bavarian, Guinness, Harp, New Castle, Dos Equis, MGD, Miller Lite, Bud
Grill: yes. Big Screen TV: no. Music: jukebox. Games: darts.
The interior of McBob's (see photos) has an unpretentious, dive-bar feel -- the wooden stools and tables are scratched and unpolished, the walls are cluttered with old signs, flags and other knick-knacks. It's the type of place you'll definitely feel more comfortable wearing an old pair of jeans than slacks and a tie.
McBob's is best known for good, cheap food. The selection here is larger than you find at a typical bar-grill: how many pubs do you know that serve New York strip steak, chicken cordon bleu, and pan fried perch and walleye? On the weekends McBob's serves breakfast, with a menu that includes eggs benedict, waffles, and corned beef hash.
Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends are Taco Nights at McBob's. If a recent Thursday is any indication, the tacos are a big draw -- the bar was packed with taco diners, and there was a steady stream of carryout orders as well.
McBob's is distinguished by the diverse crowd it draws, a reflection of its location on the edge of multicultural Sherman Park.
4928 W. Vliet St.
On tap: Guinness, Newcastle, Riverwest Stein, Harbor City, Sprecher Amber, Bass, Harp, Foster's, Leinie's Honey Weiss, Leinie's Red, Leinie's Berry Weiss, Hacker-Pschorr Weisse, Bud Light, Miller High Life, Miller Lite
Grill: yes. Big Screen TV: yes (2). Music: jukebox, live music, karaoke. Games: pool, darts, foosball.
O'Brien's is a neighborhood joint that feels like a college bar -- the customers tend to be young and casually dressed, the music is often loud, and O'Brien's stays busy later into the night compared to other west side bars. The place pulls in a lot of softball players from Wick Field across the street. O'Brien's is also famous (or infamous) as a cop hangout. Contrary to reputation, they do close at 2 a.m.
O'Brien's is a good choice after a Brewers game -- it's a little less crowded than spots closer to the stadium. O'Brien's can also serve as a refuge from Cubs fans after games in which Miller Park has turned into "Wrigley North." (Although maybe this summer we should hang around with Cubs fans after the game just to taunt them with: "Game 6, Wrigley Field ... just five outs from the World Series ... Cubs lead 3 to nothing ...")
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If you haven't been to McBob's for a weekend breakfast yet, GO! Corned Beef HASH is FANTASTIC! And the bloody's aren't bad either!
Mike Schmidt said: Good article, but I was searching for Bars that had a shuttle service to Miller Park. Bluemound bars are the easy ones, but do any other locations/bars have shuttles. I'd love to have a list of bars to try... as a season ticket holder, I'm sick of the Wongs/Kellys scene. ms
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