Before Bryant's was a cocktail lounge, it was opened as a Miller Brewing “tied house”. Story has it that Bryant Sharp (pictured above, behind the bar with his wife Edna) opened Bryant's in August 1936 in its current location as a beer hall. Sometime around 1938, he decided to give up beer in order to serve only cocktails. As part of this transformation, he took out his jukebox and replaced it with a record player, on which he played only classical music. This was the birth of the first cocktail lounge in Milwaukee and, the story goes, the first cocktail lounge in Wisconsin. From here, Bryant's grew in to the swanky lounge it is today.
There are many stories that back up the timing of the establishment of Bryant's as a cocktail lounge. One of our purveyors who custom mixes some of our cocktail ingredients claims that we are their oldest customer, dating back to "around the 1930's". In addition, several people have told us that their grandparents frequented Bryant's the cocktail lounge in the early 1940's. We are unsure of when Bryant's was remodeled in to a cushy lounge, but some old timers have told us they remember the swanky Bryant's in the early 1940's.