Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011

Riverwest

Neighborhoods

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Riverwest, located west of the Milwaukee River and Upper East Side, is an artsy, comfortable neighborhood. It's home to interesting bars and shops, as well as proud homeowners genuinely devoted to creating a beautiful and welcoming environment.


Eating and Drinking

Farthest east is the Riverwest Tavern (900 E. Auer Ave.), a small establishment tucked into a quiet part of the neighborhood. Here you can get a reasonably priced drink and play pool at the cheapest table in town (75 cents).

If you're looking for a busier social environment, check out the Art Bar (722 E. Burleigh St.). The location guarantees the place will be hopping until last call, and the space is creatively decorated (it's called Art Bar for a reason). Play pool, guess a beer in a paper bag to drink it for free, arrange paper clips on a magnetic table or check out the rotating art displays on the walls. This fascinating place will keep you occupied for many drinks to come.

Never been on an island cruise? That's OK: Foundation Tiki Bar (2728 N. Bremen St.) will convince you you're on one, even when it's below zero outside. This dim, candlelit bar, decorated with carved wooden masks, paintings of ships and various bits of netting, has tremendous mystique—and one of the fancy island drinks will seal the deal. The service is friendly and attentive, so you could easily spend an evening here.

A small hub of stores is situated near Humboldt and Locust, including a full-service Alterra (2999 N. Humboldt Blvd.) with coffee drinks, deli items, free Wi-Fi and tons of great study space for students.

The go-to bar of this area is the Tracks Tavern (1020 E. Locust St.). This longtime staple of Riverwest makes a mean fish fry and always has cool drink specials. There's ample seating, a dartboard, video games, free Wi-Fi and lots of TVs tuned to the hottest sports events.

If you're in the mood for a truly one-of-a-kind coffeehouse, try Fuel Café (818 E. Center St.), a motorcycle-themed establishment with delicious pastries, juices and $2 espresso drinks on Tuesdays.

Retail and Health

Loop Yarn Shop (2963 N. Humboldt Blvd.), a yarn Mecca for all you knitters out there, is located right next to Alterra and offers a wide selection of yarn brands, accessories and patterns.

Also part of this strip of stores is ReThreads (2943 N. Humboldt Blvd.), a hip, reasonably priced used-clothing store that buys, sells and trades. The vast selection of clothing is organized by size, color and style.

If you want snacks, liquor or candy, Sunrise Foods (2879 N. Weil St.) is the convenience store of your dreams. This corner place is practically a full grocery store, with a wide selection of liquor and friendly, knowledgeable service.

For a holistic approach to your health, consider Shalem Healing (800 E. Locust St.), an acupuncture and Chinese medicine clinic that carries hard-to-find vitamins and herbal supplements. The care is conscientious and personalized. Kitty-corner to Shalem is the T'ai Chi Ch'uan Center of Milwaukee (733 E. Locust St.), the pioneer organization in the city for instruction in this ancient Chinese martial art. T'ai Chi is practiced for health, relaxation and self-defense, and may be the perfect activity for stressed-out college students.

Lay of the Land

The area boasts several wonderful parks, including Kern Park (3614 N. Humboldt Blvd.); Gordon Park (1321 E. Locust St.), an expansive riverside park with lots of woodland and sports fields; and the small but pretty Garden Park (on Locust and Bremen), where locals often gather to socialize and shop at the farmers' market that sets up here on Sundays.  

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