Allison grew up on the east side of Wauwatosa, and now is a musician and piano teacher who lives on the west side of Tosa with her husband Nick. She enjoys listening to live music, attending local arts events, baking and good wine.
In Sunday's Journal-Sentinel there was an article on Milwaukee's corner bars, and how they're "drying up." I'd like to respond to that with a couple thoughts.
As one of those "younger people" who wouldn't normally stop at a corner tap, this doesn't mean that I haven't. This has actually been a topic of conversation amongst friends - corner bars are great and often more convenient and cheaper than going downtown, etc. But here's the thing about the corner pubs: they are often very unfriendly!
At many of these places, everyone who goes into the bar knows each other. It's almost a club, of some sort - the only real way you're welcome is if you are invited in to the pub by one of its "members" - then you're set. But if you don't know anyone who is a regular, and you stop in out of the blue, just wait for the silence when that front door opens. Everyone stops what they're doing, looks up, and glares. Then, be careful not to take some regular's bar stool. It's almost as sacred as one's pew at church.
I've lived by a few corner bar-type places, and I naturally had to try them all out. More often than not, I just felt uncomfortable.
Bigger bars or taverns in popular areas automatically are much more welcoming, whether they intend to be or not. I think that is more the issue here (live music is often a plus, and many small places cannot do that - but friendliness and convenience will still be top priorities).
However, I do have to mention that when my husband and I moved to the west side of Tosa, we moved pretty close to Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub. I think we were both expecting Jackson's to be one of those corner pubs where the regulars rule. Thankfully, it's not that way at all - we love it there! (Please don't ever change your jalapeno poppers recipe!) I'm quite sure the patio that was put in helps. May I suggest that for other corner taps?
Patios have been going in everywhere, so that smokers have a place to go. But you know what? They sure make a place look friendly and inviting.
I'm not sure what to say about the corner taps, other than to try giving newcomers the time of day when they walk in - and try some outdoor seating. Either way, I sure am glad Wauwatosa has a wealth of welcoming and fun watering holes :-)