The A.V. Club’s 12 days of Milwaukee holiday parties
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Forget the so-called “war on Christmas”—if there’s one thing that can bring Milwaukeeans of all denominations together during the holiday season, it’s the promise of live music and alcohol. As a public service to you, the weary Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Saturnalia reveler, The A.V. Club presents its 12 days of Milwaukee holiday parties, perfect for getting in the spirit of the season with a week-and-a-half bender.
Frank’s Power Plant: Frank’s Power Plant Holiday Extravaganza
The one-of-a-kind Bayview club is taking it off this holiday season, with steamy burlesque performances from the Brew City Bombshells, storytelling (and even more burlesque) from Lucky DeLuxe, and a pin-up kissing booth. Free food comes with the $5 admission.
Fire On Water: Fire’s Holiday Party
Pizza, drink specials, and complimentary appetizers from Joey Buenos are the culinary highlights of Fire On Water’s holiday blowout. Toss in live music from hardworking cover band The Kingfish, and you’ve got all the elements of a no-nonsense, sure-to-be drunken good time.
Turner Hall: El Vez “MEX-mas!”
If you’re bracing yourself for a “Blue Christmas,” never fear: the one-and-only “Mexican Elvis,” El Vez, is here to soothe your holiday woes. Full of costume changes and ridiculous theatrics, this over-the-top tribute to the King is perfect for those who demand some showmanship from their holiday entertainment.
Turner Hall: Bad Santa
If there’s a better movie about a boozing, womanizing Santa featuring the late Bernie Mac and John Ritter, we’re not aware of it. Join The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin as he presents Bad Santa to a likely jaded and rowdy holiday crowd. And because the event falls under Turner’s “Beer And A Movie” banner, a mere $15 will entitle you to all-you-can-drink taps and rails throughout the movie.
Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall: Christmas Party Polka Open Jam
In addition to its adorable “kid-on-Wet-Bandit” violence, Home Alone holds a special place in our hearts for the scene involving John Candy as Gus Polinski, “Polka King of the Midwest.” Along with his band the Kenosha Kickers, Polinski gives poor Kate McCallister a lift back to Chicago to rescue her stranded son. What does this have to do with Kochanski’s open polka jam? Not much, though we’re crossing our fingers that someone will play “Polka Polka Polka” or “Domavougi Polka,” a.k.a. “Kiss Me Polka.”
Comet Café: Comet Café’s 6th Annual Holiday Craptacular
’Tis the season for giving, and Comet Café is doing it up right. A portion of the proceeds from its 6th Annual Holiday Craptacular will go to Girls Rock MKE, a day camp dedicated to empowering girls through the glorious power of rock. Prizes from Comet, Lakefront Brewery, Honeypie, Burnhearts, Great Lakes Distillery, Top Shelf Guitar, Bullseye Records, and Sky High Skateboards will be raffled off throughout the night, and music will be provided by jazz/funk outfit Filthharmonic.
Whiskey Bar: Whiskey Wonderland Holiday Party
Leave your workweek behind and head to the swanky Whiskey Bar at 5 p.m. for its annual holiday blowout. Drink specials, appetizers, holiday cheer, and a head start on further weekend drinking are all promised.
Down And Over Pub: Merry Christmas Milwaukee
Certain Stars will headline Down And Over’s holiday party, with Lack Of Reason and Everyday Motive joining in on the fun. The show is free, though a donation of canned goods or other non-perishable items benefiting the UMOS is suggested.
Mad Planet: Ugly Sweater Holiday Party
This one’s gonna be a doozy: The Fatty Acids, Surgeons In Heat, PHOX, and Canopies are some of Wisconsin’s best bands, and they all happen to be playing for this ridiculously stacked Mad Planet holiday party. And if you’re too cheap to swing the paltry $8 cover, an ugly holiday sweater will get you in for only $5. Not that you’ll keep it on long, ’cause this shit is bound to get sweaty.
Circle-A Café: Circle-A’s Christmas Party
Sometimes an intimate holiday party is preferable to a large-scale shit-show, and Milwaukee clubs don’t get more intimate than Riverwest’s Circle-A. Trio Du Monde kicks the holiday action off at 8 p.m., with Publique taking over DJ duties at 10 p.m.
Shank Hall: The Sleighriders
The Sleighriders’ annual Christmas show at Shank Hall is a longstanding holiday tradition. Local music vets Greg Koch, Eddie Butts, Joe Hite, Sigmund Snopek, and many more will celebrate their 30th anniversary at this year’s show, which will benefit Variety, an organization dedicated to helping children with disabilities.
Shank Hall: 5 Card Studs Holiday Spectacular
If The Sleighriders aren’t enough, stop by Shank Hall later in the week for the 5 Card Studs Holiday Spectacular. Let’s face it: a swingin’ and groovin’ night of delightfully cheesy cover tunes isn’t the worst way to prepare yourself for the looming holiday.
Art Bar: X-Mas Party Spectacular
Looking for more even more polka this holiday season? The Art Bar has you covered with a Christmas party featuring Milwaukee favorites The Squeezettes.