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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Corner Barhoppers

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     Being a city literally built on the mass consumption of beer, Milwaukee's corner bars and taverns have always been an integral part of neighborhood culture and economy. To be sure, many if not most taverns found within the greater metro area could be classified as classic "corner" bars. However, certain establishments have been open since the peak of the Milwaukee brewery boom in the mid-1900s, some even dating as far back as Prohibition.
     For the ultimate experience in Old Milwaukee barhopping, try Tony's Tavern in Historic Walker's Point. Save for a television set and jukebox purchased in the 1960s, this bar has remained virtually untouched over the past 80 years. Those seeking a less-industrial South Side location should try the Whitehouse, a historic 19th-century coach stop for highway travelers headed toward Chicago.
     Heading Downtown, The Swingin' Door, one of city's oldest operating establishments, is a definite must-stop for its relaxed saloon-styled atmosphere and collection of Milwaukee memorabilia. Moving just a mile to the north, Regano's Roman Coin, built in 1890 by Pabst Theater architect Otto Strack, gives locals a quieter alternative to the Brady Street norm. Wolski's Tavern has been serving Lower East Side customers since 1908, and has since invented arguably the best and most inexpensive advertising campaign in city history: the infamous "I Closed Wolski's" bumper sticker.
     Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood also houses a local historical treasure, Polish Falcon's Nest 725. This 1899 multiplex of sorts holds two levels of entertainment space, including a lower-level bowling alley nationally recognized as the fourth oldest in the United States. The Uptowner, just a couple of blocks over, is perhaps the city's most perfect dive bar-dark, cheap and slightly exotic-and has been serving locals for nearly 125 years.
     A night of bowling is sometimes the best way to exercise your residency as a Milwaukeean. Landmark Lanes and Bay View Bowl are some of the best late-night bowling options that the city has to offer, but the Holler House, America's oldest certified 10-pin alley, is also a local treasure that should not be overlooked.

Check out these 'vintage' bars in Milwaukee:

Tony's Tavern

Whitehouse

The Swingin' Door

Regano's Roman Coin

Wolski's Tavern

Polish Falcon's Nest 725

The Uptowner

Landmark Lanes

Bay View Bowl

Holler House

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