441 E. Lincoln Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53207
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I seldom give a 1-star review. I feel that doing so requires some explanation, which I will attempt to give here. In a way it pains me to do so. I was going to The Palm (Sugar Maple's sister bar) before Sugar Maple existed. Back when I was going to bars a bit more often, I often frequented Sugar Maple after it first opened, and almost always had a good time. Their selection is excellent. I hadn't gone in a while, and some friends and I were out in Bay View for a birthday dinner celebration recently, and we all (8 of us) decided to stop in at Sugar Maple at around 9:30 on a Saturday night. Knowing that it's a busy time of the evening we all filed in and started to look for a place to sit. It was full, but not overly packed, There was no place that we could all easily sit together, but we saw two smaller tables near each other that were free, and figured that with minimal effort we could all manage to sit together. We turned one long table 90 degrees without moving it, and relocated two chairs. This was all out of the lane of traffic, in a corner against a wall and railing at the far side of the room. We were just sitting down when one of the bouncers (owner?) walks up and YELLS at my (female) fiance to "GET UP! YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO MOVE THE FURNITURE!!" and proceeds to slam the tables and chairs back into their original positions and then storms off and proceeds to stare menacingly at us from the corner. So, hoping that all 8 of us can end up sitting together, we're now standing in the lane of traffic to/from the restrooms, getting stared at by the rest of the patrons who are wondering what we did to piss off the bouncer. My fiance, being a sensitive person, was about ready to cry and wanted to just leave right away. We convinced her to stay, and then proceeded to stand at the end of the bar and be ignored by the bartenders who were busy checking their smartphones behind the counter. It probably took us 5 minutes for the bartenders to get done with text/email/facebook updates and finally ask us what we wanted. All this time we were having to move back and forth to allow people to go to/from the restrooms since we were forced to stand in the lane of traffic. Eventually a group left and most of us were able to sit down, but a couple of us were left standing, as we were afraid to bring over an unused chair from another area for fear of prompting another tirade and scolding from the bouncer. I was originally going to chalk this up to the bouncer having a bad day, but after reading the other reviews, it seems that rudeness and poor service have become a common practice since I stopped coming here regularly. The bouncer could have said "I'm sorry, but fire code prevents us from allowing the tables to be moved, would you mind standing over here until I can free up some room for you" or "We prefer not to move the tables and chairs because it scratches up the floor, would you mind moving them back, please", or even put up a sign that said "Please do not move the tables or chairs". Any of these would have been better than yelling at a group of completely sober people that had just walked into a business establishment just looking for a drink and some friendly conversation. Im not sure if we just weren't cool enough to fit in to whatever clientele the bar is hoping to attract (its turned from a friendly, laid back local bar into more of a hipster crowd), or if the bouncer/owner just has a chip on his shoulder and is surly to everyone indiscriminately as a matter of course. I sincerely hope that they can turn around whatever internal issues they are currently having, and seem to have been having for some time. If I ever do go back (unlikely at this point) I will update this review or post another, as I did truly like Sugar Maple at one point, and Id like to have the familiar, friendly bar back that I used to know.
Great atmosphere with it's curving bar and different sitting areas BUT I can't believe that with 60 beers on tap, the only food / munchy available is... SOUP! 'Hey Francis, let's walk on over to Sugar Maple and tip back a few and have... soup to go along with 'em." I've been in three times in the past year but if there isn't any actual food to munch on in the near future I'm done. (chips & salsa, popcorn, pretzels, nuts, anything but another liquid... please.
Nothing really much here except they don't allow smoking. Not friendly, outgoing or exciting. Almost could say this group of people borders on stuck up.