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The City Lounge

Historic building sees a new beginning

Jun. 26, 2014
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The building that currently houses the City Lounge (3455 E. Layton Ave.) has had a long and storied history. Originally opened in 1925 as the Esgandarian Hotel, the building was built by brothers of that name. By the 1980s the space had been converted to a bar known as the East Bound Lounge, which eventually closed after a fire destroyed the building. It wasn’t until 2007 that the building was carefully restored and opened as the City Lounge. Very little of the original building had survived the fire, so much had to be reconstructed new, but “with reclaimed materials wherever possible, even every doorknob was reclaimed,” says Alex Ahmad, co-owner of the City Lounge.

The result was a modern space and proud tribute to the past. The City Lounge is decorated with vintage Milwaukee memorabilia throughout. Old street signs, historic street lamps and even a restored bar that graced onetime Downtown Milwaukee hotspot, Papagaio.

For the past seven years, the City Lounge has been a go-to spot in Cudahy for live DJs on the weekends, catching the big game on huge screens, a fabulous outdoor beer garden with a fireplace, karaoke and trivia nights. “We have a little something for everyone,” says Ahmad.

Craft beer lovers have recently been taking notice of the City Lounge too. They are not kidding around either, with a total of 28 beers on tap including Dogfish Head, Bell’s and Southern Tier, a solid selection in bottles, plus exclusive brews by 3 Dachshund Beer. “Our flagship Ankle Biter Ale and the Otto’s Oatmeal Stout are very popular,” says Ahmad. Customers are encouraged to join the City Lounge’s Suds Club. Members need to try at least 30 beers and then they’ll receive a mug.

Patrons already know that the food available at the City Lounge is a cut above most bars too. Ahmad calls it an elevated bar menu. “Our pizzas are custom made with handmade sauce and fresh toppings. There is no deep fryer on premises either. Everything is baked, not fried. We have great wings and burgers too.” There isn’t a full-service kitchen at the City Lounge, but there is still a fairly substantial menu. Another plus is that the kitchen dishes up food until close every night.

Now a new chapter is about to begin at the City Lounge. As of July 16, Ahmad will become the sole owner. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Ahmad. “I am planning a two-day re-launch party July 18 and 19, with live music on both days.” Ahmad invites patrons to stay tuned for more information about the party and other upcoming events to celebrate the change in ownership.

Visit ourcitylounge.com for more information.


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