Bars in Wisconsin

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In 1999, Dave Sobelman was serving burgers and pitchers of beer to blue collar workers in the rough and rugged Menomonee Valley. With the checks he cashed on weekends from the humble factory workers he began ordering some of the finest ingredients for this burgers - locally baked country-butter rolls and the best beef available.

Then one day, Dave walked out of his burger bar and saw a newspaper stand for the Shepherd Express. The cover story highlighted the Top 5 "Pub Grub" locations in Milwaukee and Dave's did not make the list. This omission was a turning point in Sobelman's history.

After seeing the article, Dave called the author of the story and invited him over for a burger. The local writer came into Sobelman's the next day and sat at the bar, ordered a PLAIN burger, and a beer. That very next week, Dave Sobelman had his own feature article on the front page of the Shepherd Express praising the burgers at Sobelman's Pub and Grill as the absolute best in Milwaukee.

Dave became wild with the possibility of fame after seeing his name and acclaimed burger in print. So with the help of this wife - Melanie - Dave began placing his energies into continuously providing the most quality ingredients and best tasting menu he could create for the public - and of course this menu included drinks. Dave's location is after all, a storied Schlitz tavern.

It's really not what's inside the glass that makes Sobelman's Pub and Grill's signature bloody mary stand out. The drink, or "Bloody Masterpiece" as it's affectionally called (not to be confused with the "Baconado" or "Crown Mary"), arrives with 13 garnishes. Brussels sprouts, celery, sausage, cheese, and even a cheeseburger slider stick out of the drink like an edible bouquet. The creative drink has garnered many fans, not to mention a feature on Good Morning America.

That slider garnish serves as an introduction to Sobelman's menu. The husband-and-wife team will proudly tell you that they have always had the best burgers in Milwaukee, and they back up the claim with a 2013 Readers’ Choice Award from Milwaukee Magazine and three other local Best Burger Awards in the last 3 plus years. Each Certified Prime Black Angus patty is sandwiched between a fresh baked country-butter roll and rests beneath toppings such as homemade chili, diced jalapeño, or The Piggyback's pork belly, which comes drizzled in bourbon sauce. These burgers have often been imitated around the city, but never duplicated. Aside from burgers, the cooks craft chicken cordon bleu sandwiches and host a Friday fish fry with beer-battered cod.

Despite the creativity shown on the menu, Sobelman's Pub and Grill's original location on St. Paul Avenue has a timeless element. The Sobelmans make great use of their building and they've kept original Schlitz tavern elements such as beer-barrel tables and strict adherence to the law of gravity in the revived Menomonee Valley neighborhood. Simply put, Sobelman's Pub and Grill is Classic Milwaukee.

1721 West Canal Street
Milwaukee,
WI
US

Behind State Street Brats' charming Old-World half-timbered façade, a convivial bar-and-grill atmosphere welcomes visitors to lively feastings of pub fare. With a special focus on sausages and cheesy meals, the menu celebrates the best-loved staples of Midwestern cuisine. Chefs serve up brats two traditional ways, with the Sheboygan-style white brat soaked in beer and red brats split open and grilled for a smoky flavor. Patrons can customize their orders at the condiment bar by slathering on a wide selection of toppings, such as tomatoes and sauerkraut, and picking the best flavor from a spread of local mustards, including Koops, Silver Spring, and Mustard Girl.

A two-time finalist for Madison Magazine’s Best Sports Bar, with a gold in 2011 and silver in 2012, State Street Brats relishes the company of happy regulars and avid sports fans there to catch games on the bar’s 25 TVs. Extensive cable and digital subscriptions keep crowds entertained with professional football and baseball or collegiate action. Four evenings a week, the second floor comes to life with a live DJ and a packed dance floor. Bartenders also keep fans on their toes with themed specials, such as Flip Night Tuesday, where patrons can flip a coin to determine how much their drinks cost.

603 State St
Madison,
WI
US

Conceived by Las Vegas restaurateur Mark DiMartino, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery evokes Ireland by way of Vegas, with waitresses dressed in plaid mini kilts shouldering trays of chilled beer and pub fare. Like an enchilada stuffed with four-leaf clovers, the eatery’s Irish nachos interpret a south-of-the-border classic in a Celtic way, slathering potato chips in cheese sauce and seasoned ground beef; alternatively, pot roast and vegetables simmer traditionally in the Olde Dublin Irish stew’s Guinness-infused beef stock. Barkeeps pour a full bar’s worth of wine, cocktails, and beer, which surfaces in bottles, bombers, and multi-brew mixes such as the Blue Moon and Guinness combination. High-definition TVs glow with a ceaseless parade of professional and college baseball, basketball, and hockey, and live bands add to the entertainment smorgasbord on Friday and Saturday nights.

2615 S Oneida St
Green Bay,
WI
US

Pub 22, a Kenosha watering hole that opened in early 2012, serves up classic pub snacks paired with cold drinks. The spot's cooks toss chicken wings with piquant sauces, fry fresh potato chips for pub nachos, and grill burgers to serve with helpings of fries or tater tots. Local bands frequently take the stage for live shows.

2200 60th St
Kenosha,
WI
US

Within its storied confines, The Ivanhoe presents hearty cuisine drawing from classic Irish and American pub traditions alongside a selection of 26 brews and a focus on lively community. A bountiful drink menu holds the secret access code to an international cabal of crisp brews, indexing aliases such as Spotted Cow ($4), Smithwick's ($4.50), and the notoriously elusive Blue Moon ($4). Sample one of more than 100 whiskeys, absorb a glass of wine, or sip a martini such as the tongue-tickling Snickers ($8). A robust food menu details singular starters such as the wasabi-laced sesame seared tuna ($10) with greens in a honey-soy-ginger sauce, as well as Celtic standbys such as the European-style fish and chips ($10). The Jameson burger ($9) extends a transatlantic bridge of onion rings smothered in Jameson sauce and the relieved tears of stranded sailors.

231 Main St
Racine,
WI
US

The Wooden Nickel Sports Bar & Grill could easily throw out the tables and chairs, burn the menus, and close down the bar—even then, people would have plenty to do and see. While diners feast on burgers, they bask in the glow of televisions broadcasting sports from ESPN GamePlan, NFL Sunday Ticket, and Fox Sports Network. Trivia competitions bring friendly rivalries into the eatery on weeknights, where players can match minds to win free drinks and bragging rights at the next Mensa track meet. The kitchen's pub grub mixes well with draft and bottled beers, which wait in the wings to swoop in and extinguish thirst pangs or rinse burger residue from hands.

217 E College Ave
Appleton,
WI
US