1709 N Arlington Pl, Milwaukee, WI | Directions 5320243.053064 -87.894937
Neighborhoods: Lower East Side
We were seated at a table for 15 minutes before even being approached about drinks or orders. A waiter was chatting up a storm with some old friends at the table next to us completely ignored us sitting there. Nice and classy water bottles, however, our waitress didnt notice we had NO GLASSES TO DRINK. On top of no service, on a hot day we were left staring at water we couldn't drink. I would never recommend this restaurant to ANYONE. NOT WORTH THE TIME. Food was good, but being blatantly ignored left a sour taste in my mouth overall.
Wow, what a terrible brunch! – I recently went with a couple buddies to the Hi Hat Lounge for Sunday brunch. I was happy with the kinds of items on the menu, the competitive pricing, and the atmosphere. Yet brunch was the worst I can ever remember getting, and I’m a big fan of brunch.
The problems with the service started immediately. The host took several minutes to seat us, which was puzzling since there were many open tables and no one in line. He didn’t ask if we wanted smoking or non-smoking. My two friends smoke and would have preferred one of the empty non-smoking tables downstairs. After being seated, we waited what felt like five minutes to get some coffee - we weren’t yet watching the clock. The waitress did finally come and coffee was served in glass mugs that looked nice but didn't keep the drink warm at all. We're all young bachelors and not the most hygienically demanding, but one of the mugs was really pretty dirty with some stuck on detergent or something. It shouldn't be any big deal - you just ask for a new mug, right? But then it got weird. We sat there and waited almost twenty five minutes for the waitress to come back! After a while, my friends got bored and went to smoke a cigarette downstairs. When they came back post-cig, the waitress till hadn't stopped by. What kind of brunch place can’t handle refilling your coffee within twenty five minutes? That’s when we started noticing the time - we weren’t just being uptight from the get-go, but it was starting to get annoying.
Finally, the waitress came to take our order. The frustrating part was that the whole time we were sitting there unserved, we could see the plump purple-dressed host just standing downstairs near the door or leisurely chatting with patrons rather than assisting in any way. There was a skinny, well dressed guy hanging out upstairs who must have been a waiter but he spent the great majority of this time just standing there looking at the plates stacked under the heat lamp. He was literally fifteen feet from our table 90% of the time and we couldn’t tell what, if anything, his job consisted of. Our waitress, though sort of slow and unfriendly, was actually the only person outside the kitchen who was doing any work. It was hard to blame her for being in a bad mood - I would be too if I were running around listening to complaints while the other staff were standing there looking dumb.
For our table, we could see what looked like our food go under the heat lamp but when we saw all three plates sit there longer and longer we figured they must be for another table. Nope - sure enough, our waitress finally picked up the plates from under skinny guy’s nose and brought them over. Why the guy who was standing there staring at our breakfast for fifteen minutes couldn’t have brought it ten paces to our table is beyond me. Total elapsed time at this point: fifty five minutes. The whole time, our waitress was trundling about, the dapper guy was standing there doing nothing, and the host was generally leaning against the wall downstairs like a plus sized mannequin from a 1980’s era San Francisco used clothing store.
The food was would have been below average if it were served warm. The breakfast burritos were a cold version of a standard, inoffensive formula - cheese, eggs, salsa, meat, you know the drill. The cheesy hash browns with all our meals were especially awful. It's surprising that the Hi Hat kitchen was able to make a pile of cheddar cheese, full fat sour cream, and butter flavored grease actually taste bad! They managed the feat by avoiding all seasoning and mixing some half raw potato shreds with the heavier ingredients. It was a cold, greasy, undercooked, slimy wreck. If the burritos were hot and the potatoes were cooked properly, it would have been a perfectly solid lineup. Instead it was gross.
Just don't waste your time at the Hi Hat.
Hi hat is trying too hard – I think the hi hat has a reputation for being a melrose place or 90201 type hang out. if you're not dressed in a certain way women treat you differently. I go to the hi hat with friends, rarely do i try to talk to anyone at the bar because i am aware of the "snotty, conceited people" atmosphere there.
When i go out. i want to enjoy myself. i dress how i want to dress. and i talk how i want to talk. people there, if you don't fit in to their little social circle, they will not warm up to you. this is why i keep to myself. i am not famous, i am not rich, i am simply a man who wants to have a drink, the kind of clothes i am wearing my social background, race, etc.should not matter, but to some people especially the women, it does.
the doorman at the hi hat seem to be unfriendly and uninviting as well. I just can't stand to be in an enviroment where people think they're somebody when they're a normal person working just like the rest of us. hi hat needs to get its act together, and the women there: please, you're human just like me, quit fronting, you're not hurting me, you're just trying to be above it all and you aint foolin nobody, especially me!
Have the chocolate martini – If you can snag a table, this is a great place to people watch. The 'booth' near the window is great - especially for Halloween!! The chocolate martini is a must have, almost like a dessert!
Credit Card Hassle – The last time I was in Hi Hat, I was told that I would need to have my crdit card swiped to run a tab. However, when I asked for my credit card back, I was told that they would have to hold it until I settled by bill. This was in case I left without paying. When I asked if this was change in policy, I was not given an answer only a question whether I wanted to settle my bill. When I demanded my card back I was told that my bill would be settled immediately and that I would have to leave. I was able only to have one drink. Since I have gone to Hi Hat over a dzoen times I can only assume that there was a change in policy or that my apearance was not acceptable that night. Either way I was very disappointed with the treatment I recievd.
User review by ccnnlly7548 – Hi Hat Lounge is one of the best brunches in all of Milwaukee. The crab cake eggs benedict is AMAZING. The fresh orange juice is delicious. The service was not up to par-- it seems that this establishment found every airy, self absorbed female in milwaukee as part of their serving staff.
Martini specials, live jazz and cushy decor make this a sizzling spot on ultra-happening Brady Street. – The Scene
With plush sofas, an ornate downstairs bar and super-strong martinis, the Hi Hat has attracted attention as one of Milwaukee's swankiest bars. Grab a seat along the upstairs rail and you'll have a great view of the action. There's never a cover, and live entertainment--ranging from DJs to jazz--make this a fun place to bring a date. Dress casual or formal, depending on your mood.
Gin, gin and more gin. Martini specials bring cosmopolitan flair to the low-lit bar. Although mixed drinks rule, you can also get a beer for a few bucks. After partying Friday and Saturday nights, the lounge draws a brunch crowd on Sundays--don't be surprised to find hungry folks waiting outside when the doors open at 10am. The well-spiced shrimp and grits provides a nice change of pace from the usual eggs. French toast is done well, topped with pecans and walnuts.
Lounge Appeal – The Hi Hat is hands down the best bar I've been to in Milwaukee. I was so happy to see that somebody finally got it right. Great Bartenders, Great Martinis, Amazing Food, the Hi Hat has it all.
Hi Efforts – i felt the hi hat was trying so hard that you could feel the insecurity in the air. capitalizing on the return of martini culture, milwaukee apparently "needed" a place like this. OR else... the young folk need to be educated on all of the great establishments that already existed... (expensive for Milwaukee too)_
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