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New spots to grab a drink popping up all over Milwaukee

(Clockwise from left) Pop and Lakeside Beer & Cocktail Garden both open this Friday, with The City Fountain at 3rd Street Market Hall to follow.
Pop / Milwaukee World Festival / 3rd Street Market Hall / Facebook
(Clockwise from left) Pop and Lakeside Beer & Cocktail Garden both open this Friday, with The City Fountain at 3rd Street Market Hall to follow.

In case you’re wondering what time it is here at Radio Milwaukee, we’re currently stuck at beer o’clock because the suds stories are absolutely overflowing.

We started this morning by bringing you the music-and-malt collaboration between Milwaukee band Tigera and New Barons Brewing Cooperative. Since then, we’ve gotten the heads-up on three new places (including one we unforgivably missed when it was initially announced) that’ll dole out drinks in the very near future.

One for the Summerfest grounds

The highest-profile of the trio just got revealed this week and is also the one with a fixed expiration date. Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. announced a temporary beer-and-cocktail garden set up right next to the lake that it has cleverly titled, “Lakeside Beer and Cocktail Garden.”

While the name isn’t big in the bells-and-whistles department, the garden itself sounds like a promising addition to the city’s outdoor drinking lineup — albeit a brief one. It’ll be open from 3 to 8 p.m. on seven days over the next few weeks: Sept. 8-9, 15-16, 22 and 29-30. You can also park yourself (and your pooch) there during Fromm Petfest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 23.

The beer lineup will be familiar to anyone who’s been to Summerfest. Festival mainstays like Leinie’s Summer Shandy, Terrapin, the Millers Lite and High Life, and Lakefront’s Hazy Rabbit and Oktoberfest will all be available. Beyond that, you can grab a glass of wine, a draft cocktail, a hard seltzer from Vizzy and Topo Chico, or a non-alcoholic option.

It’s a family- and pet-friendly environment, with outdoor games available and easy access to the Northwestern Mutual Community Park. If you plan to take advantage of the new setup, bring some new or gently used books with you. There will be a donation box on hand, with the items going to Next Door Foundation’s Books for Kids program. You’ll also be able to enjoy acoustic sets every day of operation between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Check out the schedule below, and find more info on the Milwaukee World Festival website.

  • Sept. 8 — Random Maxx Trio
  • Sept. 9 — Rogue
  • Sept. 15 — Barb Stephen & Peter Mac
  • Sept. 16 — Cody James
  • Sept. 22 — Ryan McIntire
  • Sept. 29 — The Stangs
  • Sept. 30 — TBA

One for Walker’s Point

Moving to more permanent places, a new bar will open its doors this Friday, Sept. 8, in our Walker’s Point neighborhood. Pop — a LGBTQ-friendly establishment — is located at 124 W. National Ave., the former home of Ashley’s Que. Its first weekend includes a drag brunch Saturday and a watch party for the Packers-Bears game Sunday, and the team over there is 100% ready to go.

There’s so much to love about the new spot’s interior, I’m not entirely sure where to start. The whole thing just feels bright and colorful and welcoming, none of which are a given when you’re talking about your average watering hole. The drinks sound like they’ll be far from average as well, with music icons like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift getting their own cocktails.

Given the newness of the place, there’s still a lot of info to come, so check out Pop on Facebook for updates.

One for the DIY drinkers

Finally, we come to the overlooked member of this triumvirate. At a Labor Day get-together, my brother and I lamented the dearth of self-service beer options around Milwaukee. Wine drinkers can turn to Ruby Tap, but the only one I could recall was a place on Water Street many years ago.

It seems we both missed the announcement back in May from 3rd Street Market Hall that The City Fountain — billed as the city’s first self-service taproom — will incalculably upgrade the space previously occupied by Photoverse Selfie Museum. I finally caught wind of the project thanks to this post from the hall late last week:

It seems things are coming along for the taproom, which will feature 24 taps, picnic tables and other seating options, and a 15-foot screen that will presumably show a lot of sports. When The City Fountain opens later this month (exact date TBD), visitors will get a card that serves as your tab. Take it to the tap wall, pour as much or as little as you want, and settle up when you’re done.

It’s the “as much or as little as you want” part that got me. It would be one thing if the self-service nature of the place started and stopped with full pours. But — and this is probably the old person in me — sometimes you just want a partial. Maybe it’s a self-restraint thing. Maybe you and your friends are sick of doing that thing where a couple people still have half a beer left, so the other people go get another full one, and then you just go back and forth way longer than intended.

Regardless, it’s a good idea, and you can keep up with The City Fountain’s progress on 3rd Street Market Hall's Facebook page.