The Forum: Bay View's Revel Bar brings Brew City together
"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee is brought to you by Miller Brewing Company, calling Milwaukee home since 1855. For the entire month of March, we're serving up fun articles on bars, clubs and beverages – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!
While the city of Milwaukee is relatively small geographically, the number of diverse neighborhoods certainly adds to its perceived size.
Each corner of this town has a unique history. The Polish influences are still apparent on the city's South Side, with Kosciusko Park, the Polish duplexes and the statuesque Catholic churches serving as reminders of an era gone by. The German settlers left their mark on the North Side of Milwaukee, namely the Gothic architecture and the Germania Building Downtown. The Third Ward – once home to Italian immigrants – now offers luxury living spaces, river views and upscale nightlife.
Today's residents who live in the dozens of Milwaukee pockets are a 21st century reflection of that rich history. Make no mistake, this is still a segregated place. However, as time goes on and as some of the institutional barriers erode, the glorious cities within the city are revealed.
When talking about historic Milwaukee, the Bay View neighborhood is worthy of note. Its modern day renaissance has transformed this urban enclave into a real destination for locals and tourists alike.
One of my favorite bars in Milwaukee is in the heart of that neighborhood. Revel Bar, located at 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is a dimly lit hookah lounge with subtle Middle Eastern details that asserts it as a unique destination. While there is a time and a place to kick back in one of Milwaukee's many dive bars, Revel offers something more upscale without being pretentious. I really enjoy this establishment because, above all else, the staff makes you feel right at home – even if you've never been there before.
Upon entry, the first thing you'll notice is the ample seating. Tall, cushiony stools line the custom epoxy bar. The Cream City brick and copper-tiled ceiling is a 19th century throwback to Milwaukee's world class architecture. Along the walls and to the rear of the establishment, you'll find high-back booths and wide ottomans which encourage group conversation.
Determined not to be boring, Revel changes the drink list frequently. Special cocktails, however, are a mainstay on the menu. Meanwhile, the wine and beer selections highlight each of Wisconsin's seasons. Eight taps featuring beers by local micro-breweries offer options for even the most discriminating of tastes.
If exciting attractions are what you crave, then Revel has you covered, as the Bay View spot hosts a mix of special events on a regular basis. Do you love to cut a rug? You'll enjoy listening to some of the hottest DJs in the area play all your favorite jams. For your more cultured side, Revel is the only bar in Bay View to host monthly gallery nights. Works by local artists provide a tasteful aesthetic to an already classy interior design.
If you're like me, then you'll enjoy the elegant simplicity of a classic highball cocktail. And at Revel, you can expect a heavy pour.
As the only hookah bar in Bay View, its daily happy hour goes from 5 to 9 p.m. offers combination deals on drinks and water-cooled, flavored smoke.
If you're looking for a laid-back atmosphere, courteous staff and a variety of satisfying spirts, then give Revel Bar a try. I'm sure I'll see you there soon.
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