Posts Tagged ‘Wauwatosa’

Recently, I visited Cafe Hollander in Wauwatosa again.

Cafe Hollander

This time, I had the La Maria Verde. It was very good with quite a bit of kick! (Although, with a name like that, I expected it to be a) made with Tequila and b) be a greener hue.)

Cafe Hollander La Maria Verde

Seems like they change out their bloodies here on a regular basis, as the Hasta Manana is no longer an option (replaced by the Buenos Dias, I’d imagine). Of the above list, I’ve tried them all with the exception of the Buenos Dias and the Southsider. I’m a big fan of the Milwaukeean and the Frenchie as well.  You can read my original Cafe Hollander post here.



Club Tap is the quintessential neighborhood bar. It’s a small, one-room space that is more long and narrow than it is short and wide.

It’s not a hip, popular place to visit and they don’t serve food.

But it is a bar within walking distance of many in the Pasadena and Swan Neighborhoods and you can count on them to be open pretty much anytime; they boast that they are open 365 days of the year. They even open by 9am on the Fourth of July to serve those coming out to watch the Independence Day Parade.

Recently the bar was taken under ownership by those who own Lalli’s Pizza, a carryout and delivery establishment next door to the Tap. The bar closed for about a week this summer and the locals eagerly anticipated the much-needed renovations were were sure they would be making.

No dice. When we came back, the place was the same old tap with just a few new faces behind the bar. However, one night a friend of mine was in there and noticed they were touting a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar on Sundays. We noted we would have to give it a try.

The Tap has always been pretty much your beer and on-the-rocks type of bar. You won’t find any frozen drinks and since you’re more likely to end your night there then head there to watch a college football game on a Saturday, it’s a not place you’d seek out for a good Bloody Mary.

Recently, while looking for a place to watch a Packers game, it occurred to us that we still hadn’t gotten around to trying the BYO Bar at the Tap.

When we walked in, there was no sign of it, however. When we asked, we were were told, “Oh yeah, we have that, but not during Packers games.” Yeah, because that makes a ton of sense… There were only about 7 people in the place as it is. You’d think they’d want to sweeten the deal to make Club Tap a destination for sporting events like these. But, true to form, the Tap is a tell-it-like-it-is, we-don’t-care-what-anyone-else-thinks, take-it-or-leave-it type of place. They have never been and never will be a place that tries to impress. At least they’re not trying to be something they aren’t?

I say all of this lovingly, mind you. I have a love-hate relationship with this bar. So we went ahead and ordered a Bloody Mary anyway.

Club Tap

Mix: Homemade and very good!

Chaser: Yes–Miller Lite

Fixin’s: Two Olives and a Pickle

Price: $7

This Bloody Mary was actually quite tasty. And while we were some of the only people in there during the game, we did enjoy the free Lalli’s Pizza and breadsticks at half-time and the free shots for when the Packers scored. The bartender was friendlier than those we remember from the past and all in all, we had a decent time during the game.

If it were me, I’d advise them to add the Bloody Mary Bar back on all Sundays, especially during Packers games and maybe advertise the free pizza & shots deal a bit better (or at all). They might find that slowly their perception starts to change and they might even attract people from out of the area.



Last week, I wrote about the Growler Gallery, a bar/store adjacent to Ray’s Wine and Spirits that has several different craft/specialty brews on tap at any given time. Customers can taste the beer and purchase it to take home in different size “growler” vessels. The gallery and tasting room has become quite the hangout, so they’ve added the option to purchase pints, flights and limited snacks during specified times/sporting events. And then last weekend, something amazing happened. Ray’s began offering Bloodies! RaysWhen I inquired about the mix, I was told it was Kaleb, of the beer specialists’, wife, Nic’s, recipe. In follow up, today, that fabulous recipe was posted online.


Thanks to Kaleb and Nic for sharing this with us! I encourage you all to check it out.


As if the local liquor store in Wauwatosa wasn’t already the best around… within the last year, Ray’s Wine and Spirits has added a Growler Gallery and, as of last week, they are also serving up Bloody Marys on Sundays: Rays2 For those of you unfamiliar with the Growler Gallery, it is a bar/store adjacent to Ray’s Wine and Spirits that has several different craft/specialty brews on tap at any given time. Customers can taste the beer and purchase it to take home in different size “growler” vessels. The gallery and tasting room has become quite the hangout, so they’ve added the option to purchase pints, flights and limited snacks during specified times/sporting events. And then last weekend, something amazing happened. Ray’s began offering Bloodies! Rays Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes, choose from what’s on tap!

Fixin’s: Pickles, two olives, beef stick and string cheese

Price: $6

This Bloody Mary was quite spicy & flavorful. When I inquired about the mix, I was told it was Kaleb, of the beer specialists’, wife, Nic’s, recipe.  I was told she runs, but that site is currently not working, so unfortunately I don’t have a way to thank her directly for her delicious addition to one of my favorite stores. Nic, if you’re reading this, will you share your recipe with our readers?

I’m already a regular at Ray’s Growler Gallery and now you can bet they’ll be seeing even more of me.

I highly encourage you to check them out!


Earlier this year, we visited  Camp Bar in Shorewood in advance of their opening a second location in Wauwatosa. We enjoyed their Bloody Mary and eagerly anticipated the opening of the Tosa establishment.

It took us over two weeks to get in–each time we thought about heading to Camp Bar, we found it overflowing with folks eager to try out the newest place on North Avenue. While we were happy to see them doing brisk business, we didn’t want to squeeze in at the bar or bump elbows with our neighbors for our first experience there, so we stealthily waited until a Packers Bye Week and headed over to check it out.

There, we had our pick of tables, the chance to sample the Bloody Mary and the opportunity to speak to Brad, the manager for a bit.

Camp Bar Bloody Mary Wauwatosa

Yes, I can now confirm: East Tosa is getting another great Bloody Mary to join the ranks of Juniper 61, Red Dot and the like!

Mix: Homemade

Chaser: Yes–a Rhinelander Shorty!

Fixin’s: Cheese, pickle, asparagus, olive, beefstick, pepperoni

Price: $8 (They also have a 22oz version for $10; they are $6.50 and $8 respectively on Sundays)

While chatting about Bloody Marys, Brad convinced me to try one of their Specialties as well. While their Bloodies are good, Brad admits their Old Fashioneds are really what they pride themselves on. Indeed, they have several special “Signature” versions on their menu.

I tried “The Stevie…” Ginger Brandy and Orange Bitters… out of this world! All old-fashioneds are $5 on Fridays, so you can guess what day I’ll be coming back next time!

Camp Bar


This weekend, we stopped at Walters’ on North to sample their Bloody Mary.

We’ve been here before, but have never reviewed this drink.

When ordering, we were asked if we wanted it spicy, medium or mild. I chose medium…but I’d hate to see what spicy tastes like. I could barely finish a quarter of my drink–the horseradish and hot sauce were so potent.


Mix:Homemade-you could definitely taste the horseradish and hot sauce!


Fixin’s: Summer Sausage, Cheese, Pickle and Olive

Price: $?

I must admit, I was not a fan of this drink.

And, although the people here are friendly and there is definitely that neighborhood pub vibe, I’m also not a fan of the interior of this bar. With carpeting on the floors and that lingering smoke smell from over from 2010 when the smoking ban went into effect, I feel more like I’m in someone’s basement than a pub where I’d like to spend a lot of time. Compared to the other bars on North Avenue, Walters is very dated and in need of renovation. I felt the same way about Shepherd’s before it became Red Dot and now that’s one of my favorite places to go.




One Saturday morning, I stopped at Highlands Cafe in Wauwatosa for brunch. This place has been around for quite sometime, but I’ve personally recently discovered it.

Their sandwiches are great and, as I would discover, so is their breakfast menu and Bloody Mary!

Highlands Cafe


Chaser:Yes–a shortie!

Fixin’s: Beefstick, cheese, olives, lemon, pickle

Price: $?

This is one large mason jar filled with goodness. I’m glad they have a simple, inexpensive breakfast option to accompany it–2 eggs and toast for just $2.99. This Bloody was quite filling on its own, but I would have felt a bit like a lush if I hadn’t at least put up the pretense of ordering food.

I highly recommend this place for breakfast, brunch or lunch. And of course, for their Bloodies.

They are also open for dinner, but I have yet to try them for that, but I’m sure I will soon!


Since Bel Air Cantina opened in Wauwatosa last year, I’ve become a somewhat frequent customer, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You really can’t beat $2 tacos and beer!

One thing that has always caught my eye on the menu is the Michelada. Described on the menu as “an authentic, tantalizing blend of Valentina, tabasco, lime, worcestershire sauce and seasoning served over ice with a salted rim – just add your choice of beer,” thought it sounded perhaps like the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary.

Bel Air

I could not have been more wrong. This tasted like someone poured hot sauce in a beer. My mouth was on fire and the weird carbonation combo was too much for me to take. Sadly, most of this beverage—and my $6—was wasted.

Lesson learned: A Michelada is NOT a Bloody Mary.


During the Tosa Gran Prix Bike Race, I grabbed a Bloody Mary from Tall Guy and a Grill, a restaurant and catering  company specializing in traditional Sicilian dishes passed on from the owner Dan’s great grandparents.

This was my first experience with the restaurant and even though it was  a small sample, I was quite pleased.

Tall Guy and Grill

Mix: Homemade…very fresh.


Fixin’s: Lemon, Lime, Cheese, Beef Stick

Price: $?

Again, this was a Bloody Mary from a cart on North Avenue during the race. I’m sure dining in on a regular day, it would be even better. I told them that they should consider participating in this year’s Chili’n on the Avenue and I hope they do!

Yesterday, I went to happy hour with a friend at Firefly Urban Bar & Grill in Wauwatosa.

For some reason, I never really think of Firefly when there are so many other restaurant choices in the Wauwatosa Village and East Tosa, but today, we decided to give it a go.

Firefly has an awesome bar. It’s really large and very swank. And, as I discovered, they also whip up a decent Bloody Mary.

Firefly Bloody Mary


Mix: Homemade


Fixin’s: Pickle, Lemon, Lime, Cherry Tomato, Olive and Bacon

Price: $?

This isn’t my favorite Bloody Mary in the Village and I wouldn’t go here specifically for the Bloody  (Cafe Hollander has that badge), but when I come back, I will likely order this again.