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It is clear from a look around the place that this is one of Milwaukee’s signature beer bars.

The tavern era had finally come to the seven-year old building. In 1954, the brothers spent $900 to install the dropped ceiling with neon trim above the bar, another classy touch, and worth the money if the owner could get a quarter for a shot and beer, rather than a lousy fifteen cents.

Eighty-three years later, it is still serving beer and cocktails. It operated under the trade name of Bay Cocktail Lounge, or Bay Tap.

The story began ninety years ago this month, on January 11th, 1927, when Sam Taxman and his Shorewood Building Co.

took out a permit to construct a $14,000 structure of ordinary brick construction to house four equal-sized stores in its 74- foot-by-40-foot space.

“In view of declining sales since 1974, I agreed that we would review [the assessment] again in 1978,” the assessor wrote in his files.

The freeway and a changing society marked the end of the South Side cocktail lounge dining craze. Kinnickinnic Avenue would become a food destination again.

Sam rented his four stores out to a revolving cast of businesses over the years.

There was Arthur Bartman, the upholsterer, and Mike Korban the tailor.

Having completed their domination of the old building, the Ciesielskis put it on the market in 1962, asking ,000. In 1972, the place reported gross sales of 2,629 to the City Assessor.

According to the real estate advertisement, it was “a choice location. But in 1977, De Marinis complained to the assessor.

The nearly solid core of business establishments that defines the northern end of the neighborhood peters out at its southern end where modest single family residences tend to dominate the street, punctuated here and there by commercial structures like this 1927 building that houses Lee’s Luxury Lounge, a spacious place that has been pieced together over the years from four separate stores that were not initially intended for tavern use.

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