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Back to School

That’s right, it’s September, and when I think September, I think wombats. But that’s another story… It’s school time again, and we here at The Barhopper have ventured far abroad from our Riverwest home base for the benefit of our loyal readers at UWM. Because, when you’ve been drinking 40s all night on the quad, arguing about whether or not the trombone was really once called the sackbutt, it can be hard to make it all the way back over the bridge, and you need to find somewhere a little closer to continue the night’s drinking. Well, maybe that was just my college experience, but anyway. . . Axel’s 2589 N. Oakland 962-2122 Ambiance: Very chilled out, dim in that calming way. Or maybe that was just the golf on TV. Crowd: Axel’s’ slogan is “Where the East Side meets.” Yes. On Tap: Various Milwaukee stalwarts, plus relative oddities Redhook ESB and Heineken, and outright oddities John Courage and Smithwick’s. Top Shelf: JD, Bombay Sapphire, Korbel, Seagram’s 7, Absolut, Tullamore Dew, and good ol’ Barton’s vodka. Juke Box: Soundgarden, Poison, NIN, Eminem, ’70s, ’80s, and hip hop compilations, Radiohead, Van Halen, and the only Phish I’ve ever seen in a jukebox. No, no university students drink here. Men’s Room: A deep brown, richly textured paint job that reminded me of chocolate cake frosting. Women’s Room: Lovely Assistant says “Eh, it’s a bathroom. There’s a window!” which I think is equivalent to six out of ten or bronze/silver alloy or something. Additional Comments: Friendly bar staff, excellent old school cash registers, and kickin’ flat screen hi-def TVs. Lava 2026 E. North 225-0668 Ambiance: It’s called Lava, so there’s a lot of red light and black surfaces. Crowd: Young, and pretty much 50/50 on hipsters and students. On Tap: Miller Lite, Blue Moon, Bell’s Oberon, Spotted Cow, Lakefront and Capitol seasonals, New Holland Mad Hatter pale ale, and Spaten Optimator, which sounds like something Arnold Schwarzenegger might have played. Top Shelf: A large selection of high end vodka stands out. Juke Box: House sound, which on this evening went from a reggae-esque mix to a ’90s/classic rock combo. No, I don’t get that one either. Men’s Room: There’s red light here too, and it reflects in the water and the clear plastic sink. Women’s Room: “It’s the only black plastic toilet I’ve ever seen. And the sink glows. It’s kind of creepy,” reports creeped out Lovely Assistant. Additional Comments: Quote of the evening, overheard by L.A. “So, who are these guys anyway? It sounds kind of europop.” – guys at the bar on Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” Clearly, education season is just in time. So go out there, hit those bars, and learn some songs. And, I suppose, attend class if you must. Hey, I did, and now I get paid to drink.