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Ruse Cocktails: ‘More than just a place to get drinks’

Historic downtown Algoma building is once again home to a bar

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October 7, 2022

ALGOMA – The idea behind opening Ruse Cocktails – a cocktail bar in the heart of downtown Algoma – is one owner/operator Andrew Bradle said he’s had brewing for quite some time.

However, finding the “right space” has always eluded him – until now.

“We’ve worked in the service industry for many years and had the idea for a cocktail bar for a long time, and were just waiting for the right place,” he said.

That “someday” idea officially became reality earlier this year when Bradle took a leap into entrepreneurship, opening the doors to Ruse Cocktails at 322 Steele St.

“With Ruse, everything just fell into place, so I knew I had to give it a go,” he said.

The establishment’s opening not only filled a downtown vacancy but also brought the historic (1905) downtown Algoma building back to its roots of serving drinks.

“The building has been home to various businesses throughout the years,” Bradle said. “It started as a tavern, then was converted to a billiard hall during prohibition. In the early ’30s, it became a clothing store, which remained for the next 60 years.”

He said work was done a few years ago to restore the space back to a bar.

“The previous owners lined the bar top with articles about the building’s history and previous businesses,” he said. “It still has much of the original tin ceilings and wall panels.”


Owner Andrew Bradle said Ruse Cocktails pays homage to its building’s history – boasting many of the original tin ceilings and wall panels. Submitted Photo

?Bradle said by setting up in a historic Algoma building, Ruse is doing its part in preserving historic architecture and construction.

“The building wouldn’t be built today,” he said. “The work and materials that went into these historic buildings are worth preserving. Walking into Ruse is like a snapshot in time – you don’t see craftsmen like this in new construction.”

Bradle said Ruse is more than just a place to get drinks.

“It’s fun to bring something to life,” he said. “We get to carve out our part of the community – a bar is just how I know how to do that.”

Bradle said his advice to others thinking of opening a business is – “just try it.”?

“You’ll be more upset if you don’t than if you try and it doesn’t work out,” he said. 
What it has to offer
Though specializing in classic cocktails – think Manhattans and martinis – and after-dinner drinks, Bradle said Ruse also carries a wide selection of beer and wine.

“From handcrafted cocktails and craft beer to macro lagers, we’ve got something for everyone,” he said. “We currently do not offer food, but recommend many of our neighboring restaurants and welcome carry-ins.”

Bradle said currently, the bar has about two dozen cocktails.

He said both the beer and cocktail menu is intended to be rotated seasonally.

Hours for Ruse are from 4-10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays through the fall and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Bradle said the bar will stay open later for Green Bay Packers games.
Fitting right in
Bradle said the welcoming arms of the Algoma community has been nothing short of amazing.

“The Algoma community has been great even before we opened,” he said. “People would stop by excited that something new was going (into the building). Customers love to come in and read about the building’s past, have a drink and tell stories of all the businesses they remember.”


Ruse Cocktails pays homage to its building’s historic past as a bar, by preserving much of its architecture and construction. Submitted Photo

?Bradle said he loves the “community” that a small town like Algoma has.

“We tried living in big cities, but it didn’t take,” he said. “Sure, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, and yeah, you can get a burger after midnight, but nothing beats the interconnectedness of a small town. My wife and I live south of Sturgeon Bay now, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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