Be MKE: Downtown Dining Week deals, concerts returning and revenge travel

Who we are. Where we go. What we need to know. 

The only place I went yesterday — Milwaukee’s first day without a mask mandate — was CVS. Everyone had a mask on. 

The big deals this week: Everyone is “jacked up” for live music to return, Downtown Dining Week and revenge travel.

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Let’s talk business

Who decided that elastic waistbands weren’t “professional”? Now I’m not trying to wear my tie-dye sweatsuit to the office but I do want to retain some of the comforts that I gained in the last year. Retailers are preparing for us to all go back to seeing other humans regularly and wanting some updated clothes. Casual and comfort will still be king. Denim and polos are replacing khakis and dress shirts. A suit might be worn instead of a tuxedo. “We expect that consumers will continue to live more actively and casually as normalcy returns,” Kohl’s CEO said. “As more people return to work, resume travel and attend events and gatherings, they are seeking out new and updated apparel while maintaining the preference for casual comfort which fits squarely into the product categories we are taking a leadership position in.”

VIP Lounge was fined a lot for violating Milwaukee’s COVID-19 orders. The nightclub at 828 S. 1st St. received eight citations from September through February. That added up to $26,500 in fines. VIP Lounge violated capacity limits, masking and social distancing requirements. Only Junior’s Cocktail Lounge at 3300 W. Lincoln Ave. was fined more — $27,000. VIP Lounge surrendered its license. The city was about to consider revoking its license. 

It’s like 2020 never happened and we’re back in 2019. Electric scooters are back on Milwaukee streets. Bird, Lime and Spin are all participating in the city’s 2021 pilot program. Each company can have 1,000 scooters in the city. Yes, we’ve done this whole pilot program thing before. Ride scooters like a bike — in the street, not the sidewalk.  

Live music is coming back and “everyone is jacked up.” The first major, full-capacity concert is Trace Adkins on July 9 at Gathering on the Green in Mequon. Then the floodgates are open. Maroon 5 will play at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater and Blake Shelton at Fiserv Forum. Shank Hall and Cactus Club will be hosting local talent. “It’s a very exciting time. Everyone is jacked up,” said Shank Hall owner Peter Jest, who’s also putting on 37 other shows around Wisconsin this year through his promotion company, Alternative Concert Group. “It really went from, ‘What are we going to do?’ to doors being wide open.” 

What isn’t canceled

HOT GIRL SUMMER(fest). Megan Thee Stallion is headlining Summerfest at the postponed festival in September. Megan Thee Stallion will perform at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater on Sept. 16 with rapper Polo G. Here’s who is playing the amphitheater at the 2021 festival. 

Free Summerfest tickets. We all love ’em. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, you can get a free ticket to Summerfest 2021 during a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Henry Maier Festival Park. The clinic is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 5 and 6. 

Being a tourist in your own state. Here are the Wisconsin tourist attractions that were closed in 2020 but are open again. 

We are all bursting to catch up on all the summer fun that we missed out on last year. But that doesn’t mean we have to repeat summer 2019. Here are six new things to check out in the Milwaukee area this summer. There’s also this bloody Mary sculpture

Don’t go hangry

Downtown Dining Week starts tomorrow. More than 20 restaurants will have specials for the summer edition of Downtown Dining Week from June 3 to 13. The restaurants will have lunch for $13 and then dinner for $25 or $35. 

New lunchtime option downtown. A pop-up restaurant at Amilinda is serving up Middle Eastern flavors with takeout flatbread sandwiches. The main menu items are man’noushe ($14 or $15), flatbreads topped and rolled like a wrap.

Farmers markets are starting up again. Here’s the full rundown of all the markets in the Milwaukee area. 

Here are the talkers

This is … concerning. Every single county in Wisconsin has a high percentage of excessive drinkers. Wisconsin is the only state in the country where every single county was in the highest category. That means that 23% or more of the adult population reported excessive drinking. The national average was 19%. Wisconsin’s statewide average was 27%.

This summer is all about revenge. “The summer of 2021 is about revenge travel,” said Anne Sayers, acting secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. “People are looking to travel more and travel longer and make up for lost time. They’re sad about missing out on a year of travel opportunities. The pandemic underscored how much it means to us as people to travel.” It seems like everyone is thinking the same thing. State park visitation is up. Fishing licenses are up. Campsites reserved are up. Let’s go.

The Bucks SWEPT the Heat. The Bucks will start the next round of playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets Saturday. Here are seven things to know about the Nets so you can say more during the games than just wow look at James Harden’s beard. 



My purebred mutt Nala is living her best life on my Instagram @HauerSarah. Keep up with my gif game on Twitter @SarahHauer. Questions, comments and Be MKE love can be sent to

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