Art Bar Has 60 Craft Beers
And a great wine selection. All two-for-one, Monday through Saturday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
This last week has been a case study in the unpredictability of spring in Southeastern Wisconsin. Saturday we awoke to snow-lined trees and homes. By midday all precipitation had evaporated as the sun was out in full force. Sunday it was almost 70 degrees and my girlfriend’s kids were begging to go the beach. On Monday my high school tennis team held our first practice of the season, in swirling snow. Turns out life by the lake is indeed more exciting, or at least, more confounding.
No matter the conditions outside the atmosphere inside of the Art Bar (722 E. Burleigh St.) in Riverwest is always cozy, colorful and inviting. From the red bungee cord and metal pipe railings to the big “THINK SPRING” wall, plus their patio seating for when warm weather is more than just a thought, Art Bar is a great place to unwind and imbibe, especially during happy hour. Their daily deal runs Monday through Saturday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and includes 2-for-1 beers, wine, rail and call drinks.
What Art Bar lacks in the draft department they make up for with great cocktails. Their menu has 8 classic cocktails and 7 “Supersized drinks.” Those include powerful concoctions like the “Nervous Breakdown” (Pinnacle Vodka, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, triple sec, Southern Comfort, Peach Schnapps and cranberry juice) and the “Giddy-Up Lemonade” (Deep Eddies Grapefruit Vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, lemonade and a splash of cranberry juice). Occasionally they will have a seasonal cocktail on special. Rail and call mixers, which are included in the 2-for-1 happy hour, run $4.50 for shorts, $6.50 for double talls, and add $1 for call liquors.
Compared to most Riverwest taverns Art Bar has an impressive selection of wine. One might expect as much, considering artists, in an effort to emulate their European idols, have traditionally been fond of wine. Art Bar’s bottles come from South America, New Zealand, Europe and California, ranging from $6 to $10 for a glass. Art Bar carries Colectivo coffee and has an enticing assortment of hot cocktails. With winter overstaying its welcome there’s still time to warm up with a “Spanish Coffee” (Colectivo coffee with Kahlua, Patron Cafe and Rum Chata) or a “Jumper Cables” (Colectivo coffee with Baileys, rum, and Amaretto).
Art Bar excels in the art of free snacks, as bowls of Gardetto’s were put out all over the bar right as happy hour began. If you have a stronger appetite they carry five varieties of Bellatoria frozen pizzas, 12” pies for $9. Those include Margherita, Chicken Alfredo, BrickHouse, Lakeside Deluxe, and Hawaiian BBQ. During Packers games they always have a free food offering. Art Bar carries a wide selection of teas, Boylan sodas, Red Bull, Coke products, and Speciality Expresso’s such as the “Mounds Bar” (mocha with coconut syrup) and the “Honey Bee” (vanilla latte with honey drizzle).
An eclectic selection of beverages alone makes Art Bar an attractive destination, but what really sets the place apart, no surprise, is its artistic and creative design. Not to mention, Art Bar has a gallery exhibition integrated into the bar that changes over every month and a half or so, almost always featuring Wisconsin artists. The side room has a pool table, two pinball machines, a bunch of board games and an impressive collection of magazines. They have projectors for major sports events and political debates. Art Bar typically has live music on the weekends and sometimes during the week. The Last Laugh Open Mic takes place every second and fourth Thursday and is currently hosted by Gary Zajackowski.
On top of their happy hour Art Bar has a bevy of weekly specials. Mondays is $3 shots of Tullamore Dew and Tuesday’s 2-for-1 happy hour is extended until midnight. Wine-O Wednesdays (all wine is $5) runs concurrent with Beer Bong Bingo. On Thursday all Lakefront beers are $3. Sunday Bloody’s are $6.50 and come with a Coronita chaser, plus they have the everyday value priced $3 PBR Tall Boys, Bitburger and Mystery Beers. Art Bar even has free doggie snacks and bartenders will gladly fill a water bowl. During my visit a couple came in with their dog and the whole family enjoyed a round of drinks. I’m not sure if the pooch appreciated the art, but he definitely liked the treats.