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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Music Alfresco

Stirring sounds on the patio

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When summer comes, Milwaukeeans emerge from the darkness of their homes to pursue sunnier activities, like window shopping in the Third Ward or walking along the lake. Our city is also known for outdoor music resonating in the open air, under the sun and stars. As usual, the hot-weather lineup includes Summerfest, Jazz in the Park and other large festivals and concert series, but you can also find stirring outdoor sounds in charming smaller settings. "Music alfresco" allows you to enjoy the sounds among the sidewalks, patios and dining areas of our city. The following music alfresco venues host genres as varied as their locales.

Villa Terrace

Villa Terrace's annual Café Sopra Mare outdoor concert series features live music in a variety of styles, including flamenco guitar, mandolin and jazz. Free to the public, the concerts are held in the villa's gorgeous Mercury Courtyard, with seating on ledges or plastic folding chairs. The Italian villa will be open for guests to peruse its beautiful landscape, hillside waterfall, garden and terrace, not to mention its view of Lake Michigan. Coffee, tea and fresh pastries are available a la carte from Bella Caffé. There will also be a continental breakfast, with details to be offered in the near future.

Sundays, June 3-Sept. 30, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

2220 N. Terrace Ave., 414-271-3656, www.villaterracemuseum.org

Trocadero Gastrobar

Trocadero's annual "Tunes on the Terrace" music series features singers and bands playing jazz, country, blues and more. Enjoy a little bit of everything, such as alt-country performer Josh Harty and bluesy rocker Ben Hall. Sip one of Trocadero's popular Bloody Marys at an outdoor table and watch the bands play in an alcove on the terrace. During inclement weather, Trocadero continues the series in its Gardens area.

Thursdays, warm-weather season, 7-10 p.m.

1758 N. Water St., 414-272-0205, www.ztrocadero.com

Alterra at the Lake

Alterra at the Lake's annual summer concert series alternates its Thursday rotation between Musica del Lago—featuring some of our city's finest Latin music groups—and arias and ensembles from the Florentine Opera Company. This popular attraction often finds people sitting on the café's brick patio and grass patio as well as all the way across the street on the Lafayette lawn. Many audience members bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics to these family-friendly events. Visit the Alterra on Humboldt for even more outdoor performances by the Florentine Opera.

Thursdays, June 14-Aug. 30, 7 p.m.

1701 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive, 414-223-4551, www.alterracoffee.com

Molly Cool's Seafood Tavern

Molly Cool's, a seafood restaurant overlooking part of the RiverWalk, will feature an assortment of blues, jazz, classic R&B, rock, folk, country and pop music on its patio. Small bands and solo acts will play to the crowd as people enjoy a spectacular view of the skyline to the south and modern condos across the river. Enjoy a margarita and relax to the music as you watch small yachts float past.

Fridays, June 15-Aug. 31, 8-11 p.m.

1110 N. Old World Third St., 414-831-8862, www.mollycools.com

Horny Goat Hideaway

Bay View's Horny Goat Hideaway is expanding its acoustic offerings this summer. Soak in the sun and enjoy live music as you watch the boat action on the Kinnickinnic River. Thursday through Sunday evenings will feature eclectic music, including reggae and classic rock acts. The sizable raised stage provides a perfect view for patio patrons, and bands can be heard across the bar. Also, starting on Sunday afternoons in June, WMSE's Dewey Gill will host "Big Band Brunch."

Sunday brunches, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Thursdays through Sundays, 8-11 p.m. In cooler weather, music is featured in the tent.

2011 S. First St., 414-482-4628, www.hghideaway.com