Blue Bat Kitchen & Tequilaria

249 N. Water St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I didn't even know Tequilaria was a word—I guess it's kind of like taqueria, like if tacos were Tequila—but it was the kitchen part I came here for, and some interesting variations of the taco. I had smoked brisket tacos—with cabbage, onion, and bbq sauce—very good. They also have three kinds of hot sauce that they make—which is fun. (The hottest one is called “Batshit Crazy,” which is kind of funny.) There was another restaurant in this space previously but I'm not even going to bother looking up what it was because I never ate there—so I don't know if this is the old décor or brand new, but it's okay, a lot of muted wood, nothing overly cute—not inspiring, but I guess that's better than being annoying. The most notable thing here, though, is the Tequila menu—more kinds of Tequila and Mezcal than I've ever seen. I used to love Tequila, and I wish I could still drink it—though I don't know if I could afford it here. The least expensive shot is $4, which I could afford, but would that feel lame? It gets pretty expensive on this menu—I saw one that was $225 a pour. If I was working somewhere and someone came in and ordered a $225 pour, I'd probably propose right on the spot—if not marriage, then purchase of the title to the Hoan Bridge, or an exclusive interview. When I last lived in New York, my very favorite Pho restaurant closed, and eventually in its spot opened a Pulqueria. I don't know if Milwaukee has a Pulqueria yet, but it will eventually, so there's a business opportunity for you! I'd like to return to the Blue Bat, maybe with a friend next time—it's a convenient location, and you can sit by the river if it's warm. I should have, on this day, because the worst thing about my visit was that the music was too loud—way too loud—maybe they didn't realize, I don't know. It was only bearable because I was alone and not trying to talk to anyone. But then this one song came on, for some reason louder than all the rest (one of the real downsides of digital music), and it was so loud that it compelled me, during the song, to put a decibel meter on my phone (which you can do, almost instantly—this world!) and it measured the song at almost 90 dB—which is the noise level of a lawn mower—and will cause ear damage over an 8 hour exposure. To be fair, it was just this one song that loud, and I'm not really criticizing the restaurant for this—more than anything it struck me as funny. Plus, I've heard a lot of people—especially in this town—over mid-day cocktails—at least that loud.

Randy Russell