In Bars & Clubs

In Bars & Clubs

"Milwaukee's Favorite Midget" opens new club

Remember the 4-foot-4-inch man tooling around the now-defunct Nacho Mamma's restaurant in a sombrero filled with chips and salsa? Well, Steve Vento is back on the scene, this time as the owner of a new downtown dance club, Ripples on Water.

Ripples, 530 N. Water St. (in the old Liquid location), is now open and will cater to the 21-40 crowd. "It's going to be the hottest spot in the city," says Vento, who calls himself "Milwaukee's Favorite Midget."

Vento has lived in Milwaukee his entire life except for a six-year stint in Las Vegas where he also owned a bar.

His latest venture has a nautical, underwater theme with oars, rafts and other sea baubles hanging from the ceiling. Vento hired a local artist to paint the bar so it appears to be submerged in water.

The wet-and-wild theme doesn't stop with the aesthetic. Specialty drinks include The Shark Bowl, a large fish bowl filled with seven kinds of alcohol, and every Wednesday night is "Mermaid Night," with free champagne for the ladies from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ripples will also throw a "South of the Border" party every Tuesday, with two-for-one Coronas, margaritas and shots of Jose Cuervo.

But the biggest party of all will be on Nov. 25, when Vento turns 44. "It's my triple-header," he says. "I'm 4-foot, 4-inches, I have a 44-inch waist and I'm turning 44."

In the past, people of all heights have been offended by Vento's willingness to ridicule his size and by the fact he's accepted paid positions that some find disrespectful to shorter individuals.

How does Vento respond?

"Exploit the hell out of me," says Vento, who was also the "House Pimp" for "Have A Nice Day Cafe," appeared on Jerry Springer, Sally Jesse Raphael and Jay Leno, and exclaimed "I hate midgets" on a Milwaukee radio station.

Does he really hate midgets?

"No," he says. "I'm just good at advertising and I know how to stir the pot ... But have you ever spit on a midget and watched 'em drown?"

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