Wicked Hop Is A Third Ward Staple
Happy hour extends far beyond the seventh inning stretch.
When you think of Milwaukee’s premiere arts and fashion district, the Historic Third Ward, you don’t exactly think of banging hip-hop beats, but that’s exactly what brought me to The Wicked Hop (345 N. Broadway) one Fall weeknight a couple years ago. Their entertainment room, Jackalope Lounge, has been the home of the Miltown Beat Down Battle for a while now and always brings lively competition between the city’s most talented beat makers. I returned to the Hop the other night to have a couple drinks and watch the Brewers beat the Tigers.
Since I was watching the Brewers I had to take advantage of their $2 pints of Spotted Cow deal during all “Brooo Crooo” games this season. (For regular readers of the column, Spotted Cow is officially considered a “Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale.”) But that was just the tip of the pitcher’s mound. Wicked Hop’s happy hour extends beyond a seventh inning stretch, with eight full hours of discounted drinks from 11AM to 7PM, Monday through Friday. It includes $1 off beers (tap and bottle), $5 margaritas, $5 red sangria and $5 house wine.
Between lunch and dinner (2pm-6pm) you can get $5 select appetizers from their “Comfort Food” menu (M-Th). They all seem hearty for the price and I would probably go for the pretzel platter or the chicken and cheese quesadilla. Wicked Hop has a diverse food menu that includes a pan-seared rare yellowfin ahi tuna entree, “The Billy Bob” sandwich (pulled smoked pork shoulder served open-faced on garlic Texas toast) and for Sunday brunch (10am-2pm), the “Benedict Cumberbatch” (a veggie benedict with their “homlesmade” hollandaise sauce, huzzah!). Three different grande breakfast burritos are also available during Sunday brunch. Plus, Saturday mornings at the bar feature a half-hour (10am-10:30am) of half-off 16 oz. bloody mary’s, which are generously topped with cheese strings.
Wicked Hop carries 28 American micro bottles ($5-$8), 5 Mexican cervezas ($5), 5 ciders ($5), and 8 Euro bottles ($5-$8, including La Fin Du Monde, which is actually from Quebec, but hey, I used to live there and it is the closest thing to Europe in North America). Interestingly, and accurately, Wicked Hop includes Blue Moon among their 10 domestics. Many think this Belgian-style witbeir is craft, but in fact it’s produced by MillerCoors. They have a dozen brews on tap, the most notable among them being Lakefront’s Poison Arrow IPA and Great Lakes Rye of the Tiger IPA.
While they may not be included in the happy hour, the cocktail department at Wicked Hop offers some original twists on classic concoctions. The Wisconsin standard, Brandy Old Fashioned, is infused with Tuaca, a zesty orange vanilla liqueur. Pimm’s Cup, a blend of Pimm’s No. 1 gin, “lemonade” (actually lemon-flavored soda) and fruit, is the official drink of Wimbledon, which is where I first tried it last summer at the All England Club. Wicked Hop’s version calls for Stoli Oranj Vodka plus ginger beer and club soda. Another drink that caught my eye is the Grape Tootsie Pop, “for the kid in you.” It consists of Three Olives Grape Vodka, Three Olives Chocolate Vodka, Grape Pucker, sweet and sour mix, plus a splash of purple. Purple what you might ask? Well, you’ll just have to stop in to find out.
This Third Ward staple is located on the corner of Sunday Brunch and Bloody Mary, I mean, Broadway and St. Paul. The Hop is housed in a charming old building with exposed brick, large windows and high wooden ceilings. The second level overlooks the bar and is usually packed at supper time. It’s a fun spot for any occasion located in the heart of the Third Ward.