Just heard about this place, sounds new. I gotta check it out!
WHAT IT'S LIKE HERE: Part Dutch coffee bar and restaurant and part Belgian beer bar, Café Hollander opened in late November in the spot that used to be Gil's Café. The bar - which had been rescued and restored from a south side bowling alley - is U-shaped, with half of it in the non-smoking restaurant section and the other wrapping around and into the smoking side of the bar. The atmosphere is lively but casual with many stopping by for a meal, drinks or a meal and drinks. Already a neighborhood hangout, many make this spot their sole destination on weekend nights. While it's close to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Café Hollander draws customers from not only the east side but also from outside the city. The bar is busiest around 10 on those nights. The music, which is never loud enough to disrupt conversation, ranges from indie rock to electronica to classic jazz.
WHAT YOU'LL BE DRINKING: Sure, they've got some taps (Guinness, Stella Artois, Newcastle, etc.), but the Belgian beer selection is being embraced and explored by many. For white beers, try the Granny Smith apple-flavored Ephemere Apple or the light Wittekerke Wit. Other standouts include the Trappist ales and Lambics. The Trappists, which include a couple of Chimays and the sweet herb malt Westmalle Trappist Tripel, are brewed in Belgium by authorization of a Trappist monastery under strict production standards. Of the Lambics, beers for which fruit is only added in the conditioning stage of brewing, try the black current-flavored Lindeman's Cassis or the cherry Kreik. For cocktails, vodka is the top seller here - especially Ketel One, which is, of course, a Dutch product. There are also a number of specialty martinis and a full range of wines.