Refuge Smoothie Cafe started as a way to indulge without completely undoing healthy eating habits. The menu boasts colorful, tasty smoothies made with fruit and vegetables to satisfy sweet cravings while filling the body with healthy vitamins. House blends include smoothies packed with berries, vegetables such as kale and spinach, and herbs such as mint and basil. Guests can customize their own smoothie or slurp on coffee, tea, and fresh-squeezed juice.
A cold-press system is the key to Juiced! Mobile Juice Bar's vitality-boosting concoctions. Owner Jason Lannoch swears by the technique because it allows him to preserve fresh fruits' and vegetables' nutrients rather than breaking them down with a high-powered centrifugal juicer. Try signature blends such as the Hangover Destroyer with apples and organic beets, carrots, and lemons, or the Lean & Clean, which combines kale with cucumbers, apples, ginger, and limes. Customers can pick up individual bottles at Lannoch's North Farwell Avenue shop or opt for multi-juice power cleanses.
Art Bar, called a "Painter's Paradise" by Urban Milwaukee magazine, isn't your typical watering hole. In its enchanting interior, hundreds of soda bottle caps create an argyle pattern on pillars, wine corks stud an oval-shaped bar, and paint-by-number pieces—depicting everything from horses to the Virgin Mary—plaster a wall.
The kitschy aesthetic offers a glimpse into the creative mind of owner Don Krause. Krause left his former career as an interior designer for Ethan Allen to brave the trials of opening a bar in Riverwest. And he did it his way: His joint pours more than 40 microbrews by night and Alterra coffee by day in a space adorned with the rotating creations of local artists. The beer lineup includes seasonal brews from Bell’s, Founders, Lakefront, and New Glarus, as well as “mystery beers” served for three bucks cloaked in a crumpled brown bag—the way Wisconsin dignitaries drink. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel describes the venue as “a feast for all senses” and “one of the hottest spots in Riverwest,” thanks in part to its comedy, musical, or artistic events.
Fajitas Grill is a place where the staff envisions families creating new memories over plates of authentic Mexican cuisine. In the cheerful space, decorated with artwork and warm colors, the kitchen staff serves up the sizzling fajitas that the spot is named for. Each dish is loaded with ingredients such as grilled steak, garden veggies, and pork with roasted pineapple. These flavorful meats and vegetables also get piled onto handmade tortillas and rolled into enchiladas. Thirsty patrons can pair meals with a glass of wine or a margarita made with smooth, oak-aged tequila.
For more than two decades, laughs have permeated the space within Comedy Cafe. On its stage, a rolling list of local and nationally acclaimed comedians—such as Tommy Chong and Bobcat Goldthwait—launch into schticks or go about repairing minor damage to brickwork. Audiences can work on their spit takes thanks to a menu of margaritas, martinis, and snacks such as popcorn.
When Sababa's founder and head chef, Ed Wahhab, isn’t whipping up a homestyle menu of Middle Eastern dishes, he can be found in the dining room reading diners' fortunes in the bottoms of their cups of Arabic coffee. Ed’s banter and his love of card tricks create a sense of camaraderie that fills Sababa—Hebrew and Arabic slang for "awesome"—as patrons settle in at the bar, puff strawberry-daiquiri-flavored hookah on the patio, or sample housemade hummus and falafel.
Putting a modern American slant on traditional Mediterranean cuisine, the kitchen flavors beef sliders with kifta spices and creates nachos with pita chips, feta and cheddar cheese, lemon tahini sauce, and a medley of garbanzo beans and vegetables. Bartenders pour wine, crack open bottled beers, and mix up specialty cocktails, such as a manhattan with cardamom and a French martini, whose blend of Chambord, pineapple juice, and vanilla vodka is served in the traditional French way, by a weeping clown.