Surrounded by dark hardwood, hanging beer memorabilia, and dart boards, Chumley's Pub looks like the friendly, welcoming, and low-key public houses of yesteryear. The difference, however, is that they've taken the beer game to the next level, boasting a variety of micro-brews on tap. But their drink game might not even touch their food—a menu of comfort fare ranging from their award-winning chili to Black Angus burgers and a Friday fish fry.
Amid the cheers of football and baseball games blaring from big-screen TVs, Magoo's Sports Pub's friendly bartenders fill bellies with domestic and imported brews and pub fare. Flocks of a dozen different varieties of chicken wings range from hot or mild spices to piquant flavors such as thai or caribbean jerk. At the grill, chefs flip burgers oozing with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni or blackened Cajun beef patties topped with with blue-cheese crumbles. Seafood lovers dock at the bar every Friday for an all-you-can-eat fish fry, and a selection of imported beer bottles contain lost messages from sea such as, "SOS. Please send ice."
With its half-timber historical façade, Arriba Mexican Restaurant & Lounge wouldn’t be out of place in an Alpine ski village. But step inside and the space practically glows with south-of-the-border charm: walls are swathed in warm magenta and yellow hues, and the original tin ceilings are gilded in gold.
The pleasant incongruity extends to Arriba’s menu, which landed the eatery the No. 10 spot on CityVoter's 2011 list of best Mexican restaurants. Traditional Mexican cuisine, such as shrimp fajitas and deep-fried chimichangas stuffed with housemade chorizo, takes center stage, but the restaurant also hosts Friday fish fries and serves thick burgers piled with southwestern toppings such as chorizo and guacamole.
Arriba's adjacent lounge hosts live music, potlucks, and open mics. Here, guests can sip libations from a vast drink menu that features 18 varieties of tequila, seven flavored martinis, and precisely one flavor of water.
Aside from being a premier venue for watching sports, Saloon on Calhoun is a bacon utopia with a daily all-you-can-eat bacon happy hour, bacon-infused vodka, and a menu of bacon-accented pub classics. Widescreen TVs speckle the wooden walls throughout, allowing patrons to catch game replays and Martha Stewart knitting segments from the bar, pool tables, or Internet jukebox. As darts bust cork, thin-crust pizzas present guests with slatherings of homemade sauces and bacon burgers, wraps, and beer-battered fish emit puffs of steam in solidarity with the ears of infuriated cartoon characters. In addition to weekly trivia, karaoke, and live blues events, a fully stocked bar with 15 craft beers tests the limits of patrons' tolerance for fun.
Giggles' laughter-rich atmosphere recently earned it a pick as Milwaukee's Best Live Comedy Club on CityVoter in 2009. Upcoming headliners include HBO and Comedy Central veteran Tracy Smith, bringing her sassy blend of honest reality March 18–20. On April 8–10 Giggles will feature its debut of Everybody Hates Chris actor and comedian Mike Estime. The pleasingly varied lineup enables audiences to confidently leave tomatoes at home.
Of the 85 intrepid souls who've attempted to conquer the Paddy's Lament burger challenge at Mulligans Irish Pub & Grill, only one has succeeded. It's not a feat that ought to be taken lightly—contestants have 60 minutes to finish a three-pound burger topped with a half-pound of cheese, a pound of corned beef, and veggies, as well as a mountain of beer-battered fries. Victors are rewarded with bragging rights, a $50 gift card, and an approving head nod from the cook.
For diners not hungry enough to take on the challenge, however, there's plenty of other more reasonably sized pub favorites on the menu, such as tangy buffalo-chicken pizza and meaty nachos. There's also a sweeping variety of authentic Irish favorites, including corned beef and cabbage, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips in a Harp beer batter that's been lauded by reporters from Express Milwaukee as "feathery" and "flavorful." On weekly Friday fish fries, the kitchen serves fried haddock, lake perch, and bluegill along with internationally inspired specialties such as barbecued asian shrimp and spicy seafood linguini.
The bar also boasts 16 draft beers and more than 20 varieties of Irish whiskeys. There are 21 HD TVs scattered throughout the bar and seating areas, broadcasting everything from thrilling football games to thrilling laundry detergent commercials.