The bottles that make up Thief Wine's diverse inventory are not stolen, but they may as well be. The shop's name—a reference to the long tube or "barrel thief" used to sample maturing wines waiting to be bottled—reflects the air of mischief shoppers experience in encounters with otherwise inaccessible wines that makes each of the shop's selections feel like the product of a thrilling cellar heist. The fruits of Thief's careful wine curation decorate the walls of Thief Wine's two locations with more than 500 selections, which mix familiar labels with artisanal up-and-comers from around the globe. At each location's wine bar, certified sommeliers pare down the hulking inventory to about 30 essential bottles, which slosh into thematic tasting flights or full glasses to flank small plates of cheese and charcuterie.
The bartenders at Nostalgia I and II work in concert with a laid-back, welcoming service staff and a cavalcade of guest performers to create an intimate environment for groups to relax and enjoy a night out. Guests can unwind over a round of drinks or puff from a hookah stocked with one of five flavors of tobacco as DJs and musical artists lay down a high-energy soundtrack.
Centennial Bar & Grille satiates thirsts and appetites with authentic, fresh pub fare served in a century-old structure that's home to compelling historical nuances. Peruse the dinner menu and start off with handmade five-onion soup ($5.95), then proceed to the main course with any of the freshly made classics such as grilled tenderloin and mushroom ravioli—hearty cut of beef tenderloin quietly wooing the robust flavors of portabello mushrooms and roasted red peppers in a rich gorgonzola cream sauce ($15.95). After settling disputes between former taste buddies, tempt sweet teeth with a variety of house-made desserts such as cocoa-crazed Guinness chocolate cake ($5.50) or the always-beloved bread pudding ($5.50). Along with daily specials, Centennial features a Friday fish fry, featuring a half pound of tender walleye ($13.95), perch ($13.95), or cod ($11.25) fillets lightly breaded and fried.
Since its founding in 1974, the nonprofit organization Historic Milwaukee has tirelessly advocated for an awareness and preservation of the city's architecture and cultural heritage. The organization lifts the veil on Milwaukee's buildings and the people of its past through neighborhood walking tours and boat tours on the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Throughout the year, special tours take visitors on bike excursions and deeper explorations of more focused historical topics. To further engage history buffs, Historic Milwaukee also helms events ranging from a panel discussion series on city history to a citywide open house featuring more than 100 buildings.
A direct descendant of the days when public houses were publicke houses and beer was dinner, Taylor & Dunn’s Public House provides a friendly, familiar gathering spot for people in need of nourishment. The wide-ranging menu spans sustenance options such as battered onion rings ($6.99) that are great for starters to the locally beloved T&D’s reuben, which piles home-cooked corned beef high on grilled marble or light rye and tops the whole thing off with sauerkraut, swiss, and thousand-island dressing or Dunn sauce ($10.99). As the most famous British pair since King Sonny and Queen Cher, the fish 'n' chips promise diners delicious mouthfuls of cod and fries ($11.99). Thirsty stomachs are satisfied by draft or bottled beer, and nightly drink specials include $3 Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick’s on Thursdays.
Red Dot's selection of upscale pub grub provides libation-sippers with solid brain food in between intense study sessions of the bar's beer menu. Red Dot's signature plate of poutine ($5 for regular size) pays homage to the Canadian staple with local flair, blanketing french fries in homemade gravy and Wisconsin cheese curds. The Hot Stuff pizza (ranging from $7 for an 8-inch to $15 for a 16-inch) balances bean salsa, black olives, and jalapeños atop its crust, and the "loaded" grilled cheese ($6.50) trumps Mom's made-with-love version, piling on onions, cucumbers, tomato, and four types of cheese. Wash meals down into the soul where they'll frolic forever with local brews such as Lakefront Brewery's Cream City Pale Ale ($4.25) or out-of-state sips such as Rogue Dead Guy Ale ($5) from the exotic island of Oregon.
Even with the ambitious goal of trying a new variety every night, it would take months to sample every single beer at Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar. Not only are there 53 different drafts and an array of cellar reserve bottles, but the selection is constantly updated with new craft brews from Wisconsin and around the world. Beer-savvy bartenders make their own recommendations behind the circular center bar as servers deliver trays of imaginative gastropub dishes—crab-stuffed jalapeños, freshwater bluegill sliders, and the hefty burger lauded by reporters from A.V. Club Milwaukee as “drool-inducing.” When not toppling giant Jenga blocks or throwing darts, guests can gaze up at the flat-screen televisions and cheer when a hardened banker learns to love in a Lifetime movie. The massive wooden deck gives al fresco enthusiasts space to linger over bites of cod tacos and barbecue pork nachos.