New bar celebrates Japanese culture with unique drink offerings

NOW: New bar celebrates Japanese culture with unique drink offerings

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A newly opened bar is ready to transport patrons to Japan with its unique drink menu and decor.

"I love the Japanese culture, so I'm like let's celebrate that and have things most bars don't," Owner Robin Koutecky said.

For Koutecky, opening another bar was not in the cards until she stumbled across the former Ollie's location on 100 West Maple Street.

"I named Clementine, Clementine, because it's on Clemen, and I named this bar Red Maple because it's on Maple," she said.

After a year-long renovation that included gutting almost everything except a urinal and water heater, the bar is officially open. The drink menu includes classic beers and cocktails, but they also have a cherry blossom Japanese Old Fashioned with a simple syrup infused with cherry blossoms and a Japanese Bloody Mary that replaces Worcestershire sauce with liquid aminos and soy sauce.

For now, they are only serving alcohol. But soon, a kitchen will be added. When she purchased the bar, Koutecky also bought the home next to it with plans to convert its garage into a kitchen.

"We want to offer a late-night service that's sit-down, that you can enjoy while having a drink or two," Red Maple bartender Eric Phillips, who is helping curate the food menu, said.

The menu will not include things like sushi or ramen.

"My partner in the restaurant is half Japanese, so we want to do Japanese comfort food," Koutecky said.

"Japanese sandwiches, Sandos. We're going to feature Japanese golden curry, which is actually my favorite curry and no one in the city serves."

Karaoke and different Japanese-themed nights are also in the works for the bar that opens at 11 a.m. every day of the week.

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