In Bars & Clubs

Blue Jacket Bar's patio is the perfect place for a cocktail on a hot summer day.

She said/she said: Happy Hour at Blue Jacket

She said/she said is a series of rapid reviews written by the intrepid duo, Lori Fredrich (the foodie) and Carolynn Buser (the socialite). Tune in weekly for our latest meanderings on hot spots around town.

Destination: Blue Jacket.

Reason for visiting: Happy Hour. Takes place Tuesday through Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m.

Specials: Half price taps and wine pours and $5 cocktails.

Regular Pricing: $9-12 for cocktails; $5-$9 for beer; $8-15 per glass for wine.

Pro Tip: Stop in for dinner specials (after 5 p.m.) just about any night of the week. On Tuesdays, enjoy steamed mussels and your choice of draft beer for just $13. Or grab a pound of wings for just $10 on Thursdays. Check out more daily specials online.

Mood: Blue Jacket provides a relaxed, intimate atmosphere with a cozy patio and open air dining, thanks to glass windows on the front of the restaurant that open during clement weather. Their wine, cocktail and beer lists are extensive enough to please most palates, and food options include everything from nibbles to larger plates.

Go here when:

Lori: Blue Jacket is the perfect spot to spend a summer afternoon. I tried two cocktails – the Jamrock Station (vodka, St Germain. Aperol, grapefruit and lime) and the Pimm's Cup (gin, cucumber, lemon and mint); both were well balanced and refreshing on an 80 degree afternoon. Although they don't have specials on food during happy hour, there are plenty of things to nibble, including a cheese plate ($13) and charcuterie plate ($18). The cheese plate featured extremely generous portions of three excellent Wisconsin cheeses – Cedar Grove Montague, Hook's Blue and Saxon Greenfields along with accoutrements like sliced baguette, cherries, pistachios and honey. Charcuterie included pork rillette, shrimp tureen, pork pate and cured salmon with pickles, mustard and bread. We got one of each (enough to feed 3-4 people generously) and walked away feeling satiated and happy.

Carolynn: If you are looking for an adorable patio – during the day or not – with spot-on cocktails and food Blue Jacket is a great choice. I enjoyed the Philosopher's Stone a lot – the mix of gin, St Germain, green Chartreuse, lime, and Bolivar bitters was a superb concoction for the 80-plus-degree afternoon. I was concerned the Francis Coppolla Sofia rose would be a little sweet for me – they graciously let me try some to taste – but it was the perfect pairing for the cheese and charcuterie plates. I love a happy hour with food specials – which Blue Jacket doesn't offer – but the cheese and charcuterie were quite outstanding and I will be back for them both. That pork rillette will be in my head for a while.

Go back for:

Lori: Really loved both the charcuterie and cheeses. The shrimp tureen, in particular, was delicious – fresh and light with chunks of shrimp and a great dill flavor. I'd also consider going back on a Thursday when they feature half-price bottles of wine. I'd willingly grab a bottle of Francis Coppolla Sofia rose (a great summer blend of syrah and pinot noir) and a bowl of their weekly house-made pasta.

Carolynn: The patio is cozy and would be delightful during the day or at night with the space aglow with the lights strewn about. I'll be going back for a $5 French 75 soon – as you can't get much better than gin and sparkling brut on hot summer day. I'm intrigued by their dinner special on Tuesday nights which has steamed mussels and a draft beer for $13.

Overall Rating:

Lori: I'll put a thumb up for this one. They have all my summer prerequisites: a sheltered patio (good for us fair-skinned folks), refreshing cocktails and food to nibble. My one criticism is relatively minor, but notable. The water we were served alongside our cocktails was lukewarm. Especially since we visited on a warm day, I would have loved to have seen the water chilled, or served on ice.

Even though they don't have specials on food during happy hour, there were a few great options to keep our hunger at bay. And we enjoyed plenty of quality charcuterie, cheese and two drinks each for around $25 per person – not too shabby.

Carolynn: I'll agree with Lori on this, the water being served at room (or patio in this case) temperature was a downfall. The happy hour menu itself doesn't limit you on choices as there are specials across the board – and I appreciate that. I'd love to see some food specials available, as well. I'll be back though – solid thumbs up to Blue Jacket.


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