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Address: 530 N Water Street
Phone: 628.1232
Official Website: None
Photo Gallery: View
Map & Directions: View



The Scene:
Occupying the former home of Ripples on Water, and casting it's sensual purple and red glow out onto the street beyond the garage door facade, Lex is Milwaukee's under rated sophisticate lounge, and is steadily making inroads into the city's growing house and underground scene.

The Drinks:
A great vodka selection, lower than average prices, and taller than average pours are the highlights of the libations side of Lex. While you won't find an extensive array of creatively urban martinis among the cocktails available on the standard menu, you will find the classic incarnations of this venerable drink, and won't be disappointed with the quality of the spirits or the mixing. While we haven't sampled the range of Lex's offerings, it's fair to say that the lineup is based around the standard vodka and gin cocktail families. Peek over the bar top (fixing your hair in it's uber reflective granite esque gleam) and you'll see that Lex is well stocked with a selection of premium vodkas and spirits. Vodka seems to be Lex's strong suit in the libations arena, with the standard upper tier offerings (Grey Goose, Belvedere) along with even higher shelf items such as Chopin and Van Gogh. Can you find these Vodkas elsewhere in the city? Yes, but only at less than a handfull of places, and not for the almost warehouse style prices of Lex. Plus, there's always a bottle or two of Zygo tucked away quietly behind the bar. Rounding out the selection is a well chosen stock of rail liquors should you choose to save that hard earned buck for a martini later on at Tangerine.

The Music:
The music offerings at Lex are truly an eclectic mix, and we're willing to bet that this isn't by design. In actuality, it's an atypically exciting musical scene in these early days, because Lex is still trying to find a repetoire to call it's own. On varying nights we've caught big city trance, down deep house, various funkier house flavors, and even true, "directly imported for the occassion" euro beats. As the sorting process continues, the music being spun on any given night is always an adventure. We've heard that it has been known to drastically switch beats practically in mid-beat from house to straight hip hop. Strange? Yes. Unexpected? No. With the debut of AMPlified Tuesdays, Lex is upping the ante and moving one step closer to settling on a unifying thematic undertone. Featuring notable Milwaukee DJs like David Dominguez, Robby Keller, and a sprinkling of shiny Chicago imports, Lex shows that, if nothing else, it's willing to give genres a shot. As the dust settles, we predict the emergence of themed nights similar to Three, but with a wider variety in the sytles of music - Deeper progressive sounds matched with hip hop flavors and hopefully a healthy selection of dark house and deepdish. The Jungle fearlessly tried a similar arrangement only to find it an unworkable format overall. Still, with it's "in between" location and varied crowd, it's a good bet that Lex can pull it off with a little advertising, DJ/promoter support, and some patience.

The People:
Primarly urban hip and well groomed. Lex attracts a smaller percentage of college aged partiers and tends to have a crowd more composed of just slightly older club goers - think the 24-30 age group. Owing most likely to it's eurasian underpinnings, there is also a considerably strong euro crowd that congregates at Lex. Very friendly and outgoing, they all seem to know each other somehow, which can make for great fun after a few rounds and some conversation. In general, the people you'll find cozying up on the velvety couches at Lex are similar to the crowd you'll find sipping cocktails at Tangerine, though perhaps with a little less "flair." But don't worry, it's the type of "flair" that's only fun in small doses - and should you have a Dolce and Gabbana craving, Tangerine is, after all, just a few blocks away.

The Atmosphere:
A quick look around the fairly expansive interior reveals a quasi intimate seating area near the main entrance and a smaller, cozy lounge area - complete with plush couches in bright colors a la Velvet Room - just beyond. This main space towards the front of the club is dominated by the mirrored, terraced central bar. Stretching beyond the main seating and bar area is a large, bimodal space that comprises the rear of the club. The rear area of Lex serves several purposes at once. First, the majority of the space is taken up by a deep chestnut colored dance floor, complete with wall mirrors conveniently placed so you can watch the action from a somewhat unique vantage. Located immediately adjacent is a dimly lit, recessed seating area, suitable for use as a VIP lounge or bottle service area, but with it's deep comfy couches universally open to the public. Across from the dark haunts of this loungy space is a set of tables in the more open air setting of the club proper, and the area is finished by the oppossing DJ booth and rear bar. All in all a well balanced, utilitarian but inviting space.

What to wear:
Something comfortable. Nothing too flashy. A nice pressed button up for guys, with shiny shoes and well worn jeans. We've learned to avoid delving into the mysterious depths that are female club attire. In general, ladies at Lex seem to prefer a slightly dressier, less "underground" set of fashion choices. Again, the comparison to Tangerine is warranted.

When to go:
Weekends are an obvious recommendation, though with the recent premiere of AMPlified Tuesdays, Lex shows that it's willing to branch out into the weekday realm and to play host to a more progressive, sophisticated musical palate. If you enjoy Three on Friday nights, you'll find the Tuesday sets at Lex a derivative work, and should enjoy the sights and sounds. Oh, and remember that you can park for free in the large parking structure right across the street.

Reader Comments

Posted by: Esoterique
On Fri Nov:11:2005:
Hello Lex, I am a DJ from San Francisco, and I am playing in Chicago on the 17th of Dec, however, I will be in Milwaukee on the 15th. I read your posting on here and really like what youre trying to do, I will have my crate and could put a set together, start around 7 with some SF House and build into something deeper and harder, perhaps warm up for the local DJ? Regards, Sammyt10@excite.co
Posted by: clubmilwaukee
On Sun Aug:07:2005:
We have added the ability to post comments about the various clubs and lounges that we review. Please feel free to add your input using this feature. Yes, we do review these entries, and anything offensive or inappropriate *will* be promptly deleted.

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