WisconsinWisconsin Bars Nightlife and Entertainment.

Wisconsin. Over 40% of Wisconsin’s population is of German descent – and proud of it. So don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a festival such as Summerfest, Oktoberfest, or Brat(wurst) Day. Germans emigrated to this, one of the most central states in North American Continent, between 1850 and 1900, along with various others of European origin. They were followed in the 20th Century by African Americans and Mexicans, who mostly made Milwaukee their home; and Hmongs, all settling alongside the original Yankees who first arrived from New York and New England.

Bordered by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, the Montreal River, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota, over 45% of Wisconsin’s land area is forest; the remainder a mix of rich farmland, mountains and glacial lakes. The main cities are Madison (the capital, but not the largest), Milwaukee (which is), Green Bay and Kenosha.

Tourism is big business in Wisconsin. The landscape variety attracts skiers, hunters (deer), boaters, and fishermen, while the beautiful Door Peninsula in the East draws thousands of visitors annually and millions visit the dozens of attractions in the Wisconsin Dells area.
Wisconsin highlighted in redToday Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland and its citizens are nicknamed Cheeseheads…if you must buy one of the triangular novelty yellow foam hats made in the shape of a block of cheese, don’t wear it on the plane going home! It’s also famous as being home to the Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee – the USA’s second largest brewer. Now this is good news because it means Wisconsin also has higher than average beer consumption …and bars to drink it in! So..we like Wisconsin!

Nightlife in Milwaukee is as varied as you want it to be. It’s a beer making town and consequently there are brewpubs, taverns and lounges galore, everything from student populated bars to more sophisticated and swanky venues .A brewery tour is probably a must and one of the smaller venues worth visiting is the Lakefront in N Commerce Street where you can sample the beers and bring home a souvenir glass for around $5 or so. Or try one of more than 300 beers at Von Trier’s on N Farwell Drive – complete with free popcorn. If American beer isn’t your thing, there’s the obligatory Irish pub or two – County Clare also offers b&b

For great jazz (and food) try the 311 lounge on E Wisconsin Ave, Bryant’s ,The Velvet Room or the Hi Hat Lounge and Garage on N Arlington Place, while if Sinatra type music is more your thing, At Random on S Delaware Ave might be for you. Intimate, with drinks for two, cocktails and martinis. Nice.
Flag of WisconsinReady to party late…in Milwaukee you sure can, whatever your clubbing age and style! You’ll find clubs in warehouses and brick buildings in the arty Third Ward area or more upscale venues like Tangerine and Eve with their Champagne and vodka cocktails, both on N Milwaukee Street. The Safe House is a bit of a tourist attraction with its hidden entrance, secret password and other spy type themes. Great atmosphere, but not cheap (because of the tourist element). For more down to earth young clubbing places, try Pure or Cush on E North Avenue or the Mecca Niteclub on W Hampton Ave.

Madison, although the capital, is much smaller than Milwaukee and more of a winter resort; nevertheless, there’s a reasonable choice of nightlife from handcrafted beer and pub fare at the Angelic Brewing Co (yes that is the name) on W Johnson St or Madison’s West Side Pub & Brewery on S Whitney Way to the Blue Velvet intimate cocktail lounge on W Gilman St to the Brocach Irish pub (authentic of course) on W Main Street (where would we be without them).

If wine is your thing then the Wine Knot Bar prides itself on being he only wine bar in Kenosha………which just about sums up the choice there! No disrespect to Wine Knot, it has an extensive international wine list as well as interesting cocktails, beers, and live music a couple of times a week.

There’s good food and great food to be had in Wisconsin too. The state’s cultural heritage comes to the fore here with anything and everything from fried fish on Friday (hailing from the Catholic no meat Friday rule) to sophisticated fine dining and all sorts inbetween – which includes frozen custard. Oh yes.
Seal of WisconsinTry Balzac on Arlington Place, Milwaukee, for superb tapas or a full menu, along with an ever changing wine selection. If you can’t decide what takes your fancy, Balzac offers half glass ‘taste pours’ while you decide. Wilson’s Bar and Grill in Madison is a classic spot for jumbo chilli burritos, burgers, fish fries and prime rib; while The Casbah on E Main Street is said to offer a superb Mediterranean based menu with live music at the weekend. Over in Kenosha, being on Lake Michigan, there are some gorgeous viewed pubs and restaurants. The Boat House on 7th Ave offers a superb seafood menu (fab clam chowder) with live entertainment three days a week, while Chops on the Lake (Third Ave) is an upscale steak house, again with live music from Thursday to Saturday.

Unlike a LOT of states in the US, Wisconsin’s liquor laws are pretty free and easy. They actually permit the consumption of alcohol by minors, as long as they are supervised by parents/guardians (or spouses). Most municipalities allow off trade sales to 9pm, with a couple of exceptions, and on trade sales are til 2am. As for a smoking ban……..they’re trying.