Steny’s Has Milwaukee’s Longest Happy Hour
It can’t be beat for sports events, but it’s always got energy and reasonable prices.
There are a few times each year when multiple major sports events converge into a cascade of non-stop big screen entertainment. The next week or so will be one of those stretches where fans of round and roundish objects will cheer crazily, throw back some adult beverages and barely get anything else done. The highest-profile games for us Milwaukeeans will be the Badgers Final Four appearance and Brewers Opening Day.
On top of that the NBA and NHL regular seasons are wrapping up, plus the Frozen Four (college hockey championship) is next weekend. Also, the Admirals are fighting to hold onto that 8th spot in the AHL playoffs. (I’m confident none of my readers care about this one, but on Tuesday my Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer will play to make the final of the CONCACAF club tournament, the Champions League of North America.)
I can’t think of many bars better equipped to experience this onslaught of sporting bliss than Steny’s Tavern and Grill on 2nd and National. (If you want to feel the action live in person, Steny’s shuttles to all local games, and rents its vans.) The Walker’s Point staple was established in 1985, a damn fine year to be born, and has attracted a loyal and diverse fanbase ever since. The irony in watching the Final Four at Steny’s is that Indiana just passed the heinous “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a thinly veiled prescription for discrimination. Their lawmakers are supposedly targeting the sexually free community, which happens to include many of Steny’s neighbors. Artists, such as the band Wilco, have cancelled shows in Indiana. Some, like commentator Keith Olbermann, have called for the Final Four to be removed from Indianapolis. Chances are the sports establishment doesn’t move a muscle. (They care more about dollars than people these days. It’s the same reason they won’t move the 2018 World Cup out of Russia and the 2022 one out of Qatar.)
If you’d like to forget about this crazy world and sink into some drink specials while scantily clad men (and women!) run around and throw or hit things, Steny’s is a great place to be, starting with the beginning of the week. Mondays is “Milwaukee’s longest happy hour,” with discounts running from 3pm to close (Tuesday through Friday it ends at 7pm). I stopped in earlier this week after my first tennis practice as the assistant coach at my high school. (The end of May is another awesome conflux of sports, with the French Open, the end of English Premier League, plus NBA and NHL playoffs all breathing the same air.)
Steny’s is basically a Canadian bar. They love hockey, they’ve accepted gay people since (at least) the 1990s, their Bloody’s include clamato juice (so they’re not as pulpy and more refreshing, technically making them Ceasar’s, not Mary’s, but who’s counting loonies in Milwaukee?), and their fries are perfect for poutine (yet they don’t serve that drunk delicacy). During NHL games you can get 4 Labatt or Molson bottles for $11. If you don your team’s gear during a live NHL game and they score a goal you score a free shot. (I know where I’ll be, wearing my Canadiens sweater, during the NHL playoffs.)
Their happy hour includes $5 Bloody’s, $2 off pitchers, $1 off cocktails, and 75 cents off taps. On draft they have three Milwaukee Brewing Company beers (O-Gii, Hop Happy and Polish Moon), Central Waters Belgian Stout, Hinterland’s White IPA, two soon-to-be-mentioned beers (see below), a trendy sour ale (Moylan’s Lonely Tarts Club), as well as a handful of other brews. They also have a wide variety of “bombs” if you like to blow things up (metaphorically and alcoholically-speaking).
Before I got a chance to look over the menus the waitress let me know that a regular at the bar was interested in buying my Minnesota hoodie (I’m a Gopher fan at heart, but I’ll be rooting for Bucky tomorrow). I had to decline, but I knew I wanted a Bloody. At Steny’s you get the Bloody plus a High Life, Lite or Bud Light chaser for free, or for fifty cents more you can get a taste of the good stuff. I threw in two silver Washington’s to taste Boulder Beer Company’s Shake Chocolate Stout on nitro. It was smooth as a four-letter word and delicious as a French pastry.
If I had a crew with me at Steny’s I would’ve definitely ordered a discounted pitcher of craft brew, something like New Glarus’ Serendipity, the result of a bad Wisconsin cherry season, a hodgepodge of leftover berries that created something unexpectedly wonderful. Steny’s has more than a dozen craft beers on tap. If you prefer more crystal clear water in your beer (and are a fan of an original Canadian sport), the 4 for $11 Coors Light buckets during Bucks game is probably your jam.
Considering the recent influx of Walker’s Point bars and restaurants, Steny’s has kept their prices at a happy medium. They are on par with nearby taverns, cheaper than Downtown, but maybe not as low as their friends on the far South Side. You can still get plenty of bottles and cans for around $4. Steny’s has an impressive selection of hard stuff, and wine isn’t forgotten, even if it is 90 percent Sutter Home plus one Schmitt Sohne riesling.
Walking into Steny’s with an appetite (or developing one there) is never a bad idea. If poultry is your poison, Steny’s is your spot. They deep fry (most of) their chicken wings, then roll them in spices, and finish them off in the oven. The process makes for a crispy piece of meat that I can’t resist. Other options that excite are the Italian Beef (Chicago’s own) and the spicy Jamaican potato side with their Friday Fish Fry. For day-specific specials see the pictures. The menu (food and beer) will soon be undergoing changes (like our g-damn freeways!), a 3 Floyds Zombie Dust is on the horizon, and “you should be here.” Or so I’ve been told.