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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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A wall of PBRs at J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar.
A wall of PBRs at J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar.

Let the Best Of list be your guide

Bar month is upon us, dear readers. I've got to be honest: I don't go to bars that often. If I drink at home, I can do it in my pajamas, and let's be honest, everything is better when you do it in your pajamas.

Unfortunately I haven't bought any hard liquor for my new apartment yet, so if I want anything stronger than Miller Lite (Don't you dare judge me – it's low in calories), I have to go elsewhere.

I consulted OnMilwaukee.com's "Best New Bar" list to find a new place to hang out with my friend Emily, who is an overworked college student who really needs her alcohol. We chose J&B's Blue Ribbon Bar at 5329 W. Bluemound Rd., mostly because it had the name "Blue Ribbon" in it but also because their Monday specials looked pretty decent ($1 off taps, rail mixers and appetizers).

I give the place a solid four stars. We went during Happy Hour, so it was pretty dead except for some old-timers – which, coincidentally, is just how I like bars to be. We ordered gin and tonics and they were delightfully huge. I sampled the mozzarella sticks rolled in won-ton wraps, and they were pretty good for bar food. The bartender gave us free shots, though he mocked my request for Jameson ("Everyone does Jameson," he said).

It would be a great place to go before, during or after a Brewers game, because of its close proximity to Miller Park. The Pabst memorabilia (including the wall of PBR cans) was charming, and on our way to the bathroom we discovered a whole back party room, complete with billiard tables and bowling alleys.

A quick internet search revealed that the building is a historic tavern from the 19th century, and that the bowling alley addition was completed in 1946.

And if you happen to be accompanied by some weirdo who likes to drink their whiskey through straws (Hi, Emily!) instead of shooting it like a freaking lady, the bartenders are more than happy to oblige.

Best of all, I was back home in my pajamas by eight o' clock.

I'm going to be using our Best Of Bars roster as a guide from now on, and I think you should, too. With 50 categories and roughly 15 bars in each one, there's no better – or more comprehensive – breakdown of what the city has to offer in terms of watering holes. I find it especially helpful if I'm looking for a place in a neck of the woods I'm not as familiar with (Best Bar – Western suburbs, what's up?). The Best New Bar list is also great if you want to try a new place.

Be sure to vote, too. As someone who analyzes the results, I know firsthand that every vote really does count. Show some pride, Milwaukee. Push your faves to the top!

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