Stubby’s Has Huge Beer Selection
53 beers on tap from all over the world, happy hour deals 3-6 pm Tuesday-Friday.
There has been a flurry of development along the Milwaukee River south of North Avenue in the past few years. A great place to sit and watch the rising residential tide is the patio of Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar, 2060 N. Humboldt Ave. It might sound redundant to have “Beer Bar” in your name, but Stubby’s has 53 carefully selected rotating taps from around the world. As the preferred pub of Chuck Watson, the Summer Solstice and Bay View Gallery Night organizer, as well as a co-founder of the Arte Para Todos (APT) festival, I’ve spent a number of afternoons at Stubby’s since joining the APT organizing team. We’ve been working on bringing the city another inspiring weekend of music and art (April 21-24) that will benefit art programs in local schools, while enjoying delicious pub fare and world-class beers.
Speaking of benefit events, this month I’m featuring establishments that are contributing their culinary skills to 91.7 WMSE’s 14th Annual Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser on March 6. When I walked into Stubby’s this week the first thing I noticed was the large hanging chalkboard in the middle of the restaurant with the Rockabilly Chili logo drawn on it. Below the image were the words “Steak & Butternut,” referring to Stubby’s entry in the upcoming Chili Cookoff, which is now on their menu. I immediately ordered a cup before studying their extensive beer menu, which breaks down into four categories: “For the Hopheads,” “Light, White & Crispy,” “Rich, Red & Brown,” “Dark, Porter & Stout.”
The happy hour at Stubby’s is great for beer lovers: $1 off all taps and half-off select brews. I went with one of the three select choices, the 3 Sheeps First Kiss, a sweet honey Imperial IPA. Happy hour runs Tuesday-Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and also includes half-off select appetizers. We got a “petite” order of nachos. That label could only apply to its (half-off) price, because the size was far from it. The “Pig Sticks,” aka “baconized fries,” left a bit to be desired, though the two full pieces of bacon among the fries was appreciated.
Stubby’s has an unique rewards club (“Stub Club”) that costs $20 to join and earns you a $53 gift card after purchasing 53 pints. Each order must be a different drink and with their regularly changing tap menu that would provide you with a nice tour of some of the best craft beer from all over the US and overseas. The 53rd tap is always a special beer only for Stub Club members. In addition to all their tap beers, Stubby’s has a Cellar Reserve with exclusive, hard-to-find bottles like Central Waters Space Ghost and Drie Fonteinen’s Zwet from Belgium. Pre-selected taster flights of five different beers are available for $18.
On top of the generous happy hour Stubby’s features some solid weekly specials. On Tuesday nights after 6 p.m. they have 50 cent wings (plus team trivia at 8 p.m.), Wednesdays is half-off whiskey, Thursdays is $3 off all taps, Friday is their fish fry (which includes the somewhat unusual tempura-beer battered bluegill fingers and sweet potato pancakes), and Sunday is all day happy hour for service industry employees and Stub Club members, plus $3 shots of Fernet and Powers. Be sure to download the Meal Steals app for their latest specials and events.
The brunch at Stubby’s is popular, especially during the warm months when the patio is packed, and their bloody mary is formidable. For my second drink the other night I ordered O’so’s Liquid Soul imperial stout, which has a mild smokiness and rich chocolate and toffee flavors. It was a perfect match for the Steak & Butternut chili, which wonderfully balanced heat, sweet, and tender pieces of meat. If that cup is any indication of the quality that will be on hand at the Rockabilly Chili Fundraiser March 6, it is sure to be a can’t miss event for any chili (and independent radio) lover.