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Lakefront Brewery prepares to grandly open its new patio

 A wide shot of an industrial brick building with a long patio space that runs alongside a river.
Lakefront Brewery / Facebook

When you have, as Lakefront Brewery co-founder Russ Klisch puts it, “the longest RiverWalk patio in Milwaukee,” a gradual opening just doesn’t cut it. You gotta go grand.

So, after several weeks in operation, the longtime Milwaukee beer maker’s newly renovated outdoor area will get a proper introduction this Tuesday, July 18. The less-formal debut occurred at the end of May, when Lakefront Brewery visitors — including Radio Milwaukee’s Dan Reiner — got their first opportunity to pull up a chair along the Milwaukee River. They also stopped having the opportunity to take their lives in their hands by using the questionably sturdy staircase that formerly accessed the outdoor area.

As Reiner put it after his visit:

The most important part about the new deck isn't the lounging space, but the staircase that takes you down to the Riverwalk. If you've visited Lakefront in the past, you may recall the terrifyingly steep, narrow, maybe-not-to-code enclosed stairwell that used to lead patrons in and out. That's now gone, replaced by a beautiful, wide, definitely-to-code outdoor staircase.

You can lavish similarly glowing terms upon the entire exterior, which came together with help from the Kubala Washatko Architects and Findorff Construction. It’s a space that’s as lovely as it is sturdy, with clean lines, industrial components and colorful flourishes, like a logo-forward mural and a row of planters in front of the rail bar.

Admittedly, it has been a while since my days of ridiculously regular visits to Lakefront, resulting in literally my entire glassware collection being festooned with the LB mark. But the thing I’m most excited about is the beer hut , which looks like a Little League concession stand on steroids. I still remember sidling up to the somewhat-shoehorned outdoor bar with cream city brick as a backsplash, and the new setup (right side of the image below) appears to be a vast upgrade from its functional predecessor.

An outdoor seating area next to a river has a series of dining tables and chairs, and a row of higher chairs tucked underneath a long counter.
Dan Reiner
Lakefront Brewery's new outdoor patio.

If you haven’t yet enjoyed the many upgrades, this week’s event is a perfect opportunity. It starts at 5 p.m. with a cheese curd cocktail hour, as well as other cheesy offerings from the Curd Wagon. Pete McDermott of Ladybird will provide the live-music entertainment, and you also have a chance to walk away with a case of Lakefront Brewery beer (or a gift card if you’re not a drinker) via a raffle that will declare its winners at 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the brewery and its big event, visit Lakefront’s website.