Insider View: Darren of Milwaukee Ballet offers tips
Q:Where do you grab a bite and a good drink when gay friends come to visit?
A: My favorite restaurants in town that I love to dine at after a performance or when my family or friends come to town are: Palms (world cuisine, 221 North Broadway, Milwaukee; 1-414-298-3000), The Calderone Club (Italian, 842 N. Old World Third St.; 1-414-273-3236), and my favorite chef in town is most certainly Thomas Schultz whose exquisite meals can be found at The Iron Horse Hotel (regional American cuisine, 500 W. Florida St.;1-888-543-IRON). To grab a drink with my mates, my hangout spot is definitely The Room (625 S. Second St.; 1-414-277-5040), where bartenders Joel, Dan, and Paul will certainly take fab-u-lous care of you. This gay bar is really a great way to meet the friendly locals, have a few drinks, and shoot a game of pool. I fell in love with the place not only because of the friendly crowds, great hospitality, and service, but also due to it having a New York cosmopolitan feel to it, and after moving here from New York City in 2007 it certainly brought back memories of the Big Apple.
Q:How about lesbian friends?
A: A great place for lesbian visitors is definitely The Pint (Walker's Pint, 818 S. Second St.; 1-414-643-7468) and if you are up for dancing all night, Milwaukee's famous La Cage (801 S. Second St.) is a great way to party and break out a groove all night long.
Q:What would you recommend as the gay/lesbian friendliest lodging option?
A: When my family and friends visit they normally stay with me so I haven't really needed to look into accommodation arrangements, however a few of my local friends book rooms at the Iron Horse Hotel for a romantic getaway for Valentine's Day and I hear that the rooms are divine.
Q:What are your best insider recommendations for someone visiting the city?
A: Although I admit that I haven't seen as much of the beautiful city of Milwaukee as I should have, [the city] does cater for all interests with a range of museums and events from sausages, cheese, and beer to baseball, dance, and all aspects of the arts. One of the most popular visitor hotspots that I would recommend is The Harley Davidson Museum (400 Canal St.; 1-877-436-8738). Also Summer Fest and Pridefest are fantastic festivals with numerous activities for the entire family from all cultures and backgrounds. One of my favorite things to do in the warmer months of the year is to take a stroll along the riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee. It is a fantastic walk with lots of great dining along the way.
Q:With all the traveling you’ve done for performances, what are your favorite places to visit in the world and why?
A: Without being biased I strongly believe that Australia is my favorite place to visit in the entire world. The people are so wonderful and it certainly is a continent full of rare beauty, adventure, and excitement. … I also really enjoyed my trips to Athens, Greece (seeing and performing at the Acropolis), Riccone in Italy (eating the glorious food and gelato), New York City (seeing so many wonderful Broadway musicals, including In The Heights), and I love Lexington, Kentucky, because I love horse racing and I always have a great time when I go.