Milwaukee Bike Friendly Bar Tour
I was a tad late after realizing, once in my garage, I had to switch pedals out from my polo bike to my Trek since it was dry and most of the salt was gone to rock the DZR Marcos (with custom green board paint splatter). I was gonna need all the gears I could get fighting this Nor’easter. I met Christian for the first time, the photographer for this, outside Blackbird for the (mis)adventure we were embarking on. We had a goal of reaching 10 bars. I’ll be honest we only made it to 8. I could have added a few more bars to this report that people who ride bikes frequent and that incentivize showing up by bike. Don’t get me wrong, more bars could be more bike friendly, as the city itself could. Overall though each year I see more riders I don’t know in the streets and more support from bar owners to cater to those who choose to ride there. These are my personal highly rated ones. Have one to suggest or disagree with me? Go to your favorite bike friendly bar, buy a drink and let them know you rode and appreciate their support. Or politely suggest to them how to improve. From out of town? This is a good guide to get you started.
Blackbird Bar, 3007 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View, 5:06pm, BF Score: 7/10
Blackbird is where you’ll find the home owning, kid having, old men of the bike polo club on a weekend or happy hour with $2 taps of Lakefront Riverwest Stein. Entertain yourself with pinball, shake of the day, big wheel spins, pull tabs. I tossed in $1 and instantly doubled my investment!
Bike parking right in front and on the main Bay View drag, KK Ave, with fresh pavement and bike lanes. Close to my house.
Boone and Crockett, 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Bay View, 5:45pm, BF Score 9/10
A quick jaunt north on KK Ave, through the heart of Bay View, we passed some other worthy Honorable Mentions and should have stopped at Vanguard to fill up on some wonderfully satisfying sustenance. Short on time today though we utilized our Bike Benefits here and got a house specialty $5 tap of Barrel-aged bourbon old fashioned sour. Boone anchors the entrance to Bay View from the North and is a must see for atmosphere and the Gypsey Taco Truck and occasional live music. Bring a date or get rowdy on the patio with buds.
Gain points for being sponsors of the bike scene and advocacy support. Bublr and increased bike parking coming Summer 2016!
Great Lakes Distillery, 616 W. Virginia St., Walker’s Point, 6:45pm, BF Score 10/10
A short ride on the newly paved and buffered bike lanes on S. 2nd St through the quickly growing Walker’s Point district and we arrive at GLD. Custom bike racks, Bublr Station Bike Benefits, Sponsor of Bike Polo and Bike Fed, Santa Rampage stop. This spot gets the gold star for their bike friendliness AND high quality craft liquor, locally sourced, and made in small batches. I recommend a half price Milwaukee Mule using the Bike Benefits card. Saw some friendly faces, including owner Guy Rehorst, who can be seen making folks feel welcome in the tasting room.
Swingin’ Door Exchange, 219 E. Michigan Ave., Downtown, 7:30, BF Score 7/10
This tour rolled through on a Friday night during prime “Door” time. Full of locals grabbing a great fish fry and enjoying 3 PBRs for $5, or an aforementioned Great Lakes Distillery cocktail. The Swinging Door is rumored to be the birthplace of the Bike Messenger. Make sure to see the photos on the west wall. I can’t count how many nights local bike crews blew off steam at the end of a long week here at the Door. Sit outside on a warm summer night to take in the energy of the city downtown between the river and the lakefront. Tonight we also meet up with a good friend Michael Horne, local journalist, historian, bike advocate and general man about town. You’ll know he is there when you see the teal fuji single speed locked up outside.
A Classic. A Must stop. History. Bike parking in alley. Close to Oak Leaf trail. Fish Fry. Deals on Pabst.
O’Donnell Parking garage, 2nd floor, west side. Where MKE Bike Polo cut their teeth. Memories abound here. Not much too see now, but you get to ride by the beautiful Milwaukee Art Museum and along the Oak Leaf Trail if you go this bike friendly route to the next spot…
Nomad World Pub, 1401 E Brady St., Lower East Side, 8:45pm, BF score 9/10
Hopping off the Oak Leaf Trail onto happening Brady Street lock up in the plentiful bike parking outside Nomad. Is it Summer? sit outside and people watch while ordering a Prix Fix (Pabst, Shot of Jamo, and a taboo single cigarette.) Is it Cold? Grab a seat inside and check out music by great DJ’s or watch soccer on the telly. Brady St. itself is not really a biker’s paradise so take the lane and have no shame...the cars can wait. Plenty of bike parking and rad spots to eat or drink along the stretch though so lock up and explore then come back to Nomad for a 2nd round.
Big supporter of bike advocacy, one of the first businesses to put in on street bike corral parking.
Roman Coin, 1004 E. Brady St., Lower East Side, 9:15pm, BF score 10/10
Another classic with a good story particularly close to my MKE heart. Joe Burge, Cody Holmes and I departed from here late one night to drive to Ottawa for the now legendary arrival of MKE bike polo to international bike polo stage. Showing up in our neighbor to the north’s capital city with plenty of beer we’d run across the border and outfitted in our green and yellow nylon track suits blasting Queen. Owner of The Coin Teri Regano has long supported biking on Brady St., Bike In Movie Series and Bike Polo. Again - grab a tall boy and sit outside on a summer night or huddle inside and shoot pool and have a few shots. A dog friendly bar so a good chance you see a few cute lil’ buddies stop in. Ample bike parking.
Fink’s, 1875 N Humboldt Ave., Lower East Side, 10:45pm, BF Score: 8/10
A new comer to the scene but earning points fast! Located at the bottom of Humboldt Gulley so make sure your brake is working. Bike Bennies Monday and Wednesday 2 for 1 taps, but ask nice and you could probably get a Pabst special from the bike riding bartenders. Got a flat? Buy a tube from behind the bar. Shake dice or join the Settlers of Catan tournament.Coming Summer 2016 is a fix-it station outside.
Bremen Cafe, 901 E. Clarke St., Riverwest, Time Unkown, BF Score 7/10
Cheap drinks, live music, bike kids always rolling through. My last stop of the evening. I sent myself home on the bus after getting a late night pizza from the bar. I’m not as young as I used to be folks. Thanks to all who met up with us along the way and cheers to bike friendly bars!
701 E Center St.
RiverwestCenter St Days and RW24 Start/Finish, Beer Rollers perfected
815 E. Locust Ave
RW24 sign up May 1st.
Bike Benefits List of Milwaukee Participants