North Ave. Bar Scene Is A Ghost Town
When was the last time you were out on North Avenue? That’s a great question you could ask anyone from age 21 to 26, the target demo for most North Avenue bars. More and more bars are going out of business on North Avenue which was once a staple with the college kids. Bars are giving away drinks at an absurdly low price, but still, people are trending water. Rascals is the latest North Avenue bar to shutdown, and my guess is it will not be the last one.
Why is this happening to once vibrant scene on North? The answer is complicated, but let’s start with Uber and Lyft. It’s extremely easy to get to Water, Cathedral Square, Third Street, Third Ward and Brady for about six to eight dollars. Before the ride-sharing apps, there would be a reliance on cab drivers which would never work the way you wanted it to. We always had to call a cab 30 minutes in advance of leaving. That’s why North made more sense because it was in walking distance. Then if we wanted to head to any of the other locations, we would find a cab there which was much easier. These painpoints don’t exist anymore screwing the bar scene here.
The other part has to do with the fact North Avenue’s bars are not seen in high regard. No one makes it a point to go to any of those bars on North on a regular basis. They’re all pretty dinghy with filled with underagers and a vibe to the place that screams ‘early college’ versus ‘Just a night out on the town.’ I’m not sure how you fix that. You want to play to your audience, but it’s clear that college-age group is leaving you for other adventures in Milwaukee. It wouldn’t hurt a bar or two to come up with a new concept where they can start attracting more than just college kids.
We’ll see which bar is next on North Avenue to go and what happens to that area long-term.