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.
The affable staff at GameMaster leads customers through a neon-lit showroom populated by billiards, foosball, and air-hockey tables for infinite in-home revelry. Pool balls fly across blue felt on the multipurpose Phoenix billiard table, which transforms into table tennis or a slide-hockey platform with a simple kiss from a frog. The sleek, modern Tucson billiard table reunites players with precious orbs through a league-style ball return, and pucks glide across the sleek, white, 7-foot Detroit air-hockey table, adding numbers to an inlaid LED scoring screen. Alternatively, the Calgary air-hockey table boasts an air-flow of 80 cubic feet per minute and an LCD electronic scorer. Inside the Maverick foosball table’s sturdy mahogany cabinet, counterbalanced wooden figures make daring saves as human players twist quick-grip handles. Customers can also learn to hit small targets or fasten pins to distant lapels by perusing the shops' selection of dart cabinets ($79.95+) and dart cases ($16.50+).
Since 1960, the nonprofit Sunset Playhouse has grown and flourished alongside the community that helped build it, offering access to lively performances and Broadway classics. In the frank, funny, and potent Pulitzer- and Tony-nominated play 6 Degrees of Separation, playwright John Guare uses the story of conman David Hampton, chronicled by the New York Times, as a springboard for an existential proposal: all of mankind is connected by a string of six acquaintances.
Every night the notes of renowned jazz, blues, and R&B performers echo through the glimmering walls of 88 Keys Piano Martini Lounge, where martinis and small plates meet beneath mood-setting blue lights in West Allis’s downtown stretch. The relaxed spot was conceived by co-owners Greg Barczak and Suzy Ball who, as West Allis Now reporter Mark Schaaf notes, “hope the city is turning a corner and want to make something more of the downtown” by attracting a younger crowd and lending the area an intimate, upscale nightlife option.
Inside the low-lit lounge, glass windows open and close to bathe guests and performers in a cooling breeze. Artwork and Wisconsin gangster memorabilia, including John Dillinger photographs and high-school report cards, beam down upon pots of fondue and gourmet pizzas. Behind the glowing bar, master mixologists blend a lengthy list of 28 specialty martinis and fill glasses with wine and beer.
The atmosphere at Jonny Hammers is that of a classic diner and bar, with regulars enjoying a game at the free pool table while guests discuss the finer points of the game over pints of Wisconsin beers. While watching the day’s favored sport’s game on the bar’s television or socializing on the patio, guests can dig into classic American dishes such as burgers, fish fry plates, and thin crust pizzas bursting with fresh produce like an embezzling scarecrow. The diner opens up bright and early at 6 AM every day, with a 12-hour happy hour seeing it through until the evening bar hours.
On Saturday afternoons, dogs stretch out on Vino 100’s sun-drenched patio as their owners clink glasses over their heads. So goes Yappy Hour, one of the many weekly gatherings that further Vino 100’s mission to foster a casual, accessible community of oenophiles. The shop also hosts live music on Saturday nights, as well as tastings and classes that delve into topics such as german wines and comedic timing for effective spit-takes. The wine experts are happy to guide customers through ample selections of wines, which they categorize by flavor and body for simplified browsing. In addition to wine, the shop’s shelves carry more than 50 seasonal beers and specialty cheeses and snacks for practicing newly gained pairing skills.
Readers of OnMilwaukee.com named Leff's Lucky Town the best bar in Wauwatosa in 2011, and it’s easy to see why. Though the historic building has housed both a silent-movie theater and a shoe store concealing a Prohibition-era speakeasy, today the wood-paneled bar is anything but silent, and the taps flow freely and legally. Groups of friends and family members wash down 10 signature burgers and a menu of Cajun barbecue wings, larger-than-life pretzels with stone-ground mustard, and sandwiches such as The Hulkster—hot ham, turkey, and roast beef.
Yet what may have been the award clincher is the spot's welcoming, humbly homey atmosphere, which may have also contributed to it being featured on the Fox6 Days of Dining Week. Tucked amid sports memorabilia or together on the outdoor patio, parties gather to catch their favorite sports or telekinetic spoon-bending competitions on high-definition televisions.