It was 98º outside the day we left Milwaukee to return home to The Great Land. We’d looked forward to our visit, to see family of course, but also to experience some summer. But 98º? It was like stepping into a blast furnace to relieve a chill.
Needing to pass a couple hours before heading to the airport, we (Sister Gail, HW and I) drove to Milwaukee’s Third Ward to seek relief inside the Uber Tap Room, where upscale beers and gourmet cheese plates are served. Amid the hipsters and up-and-comers at the bar I felt a bit out of my element. Things sure have changed since the days I used to carouse here while in grad school at the U of W. Back then is was Pabst, pool, and darts. Cheese plates? The only thing we topped with cheese was beef, which few of us could afford being we’d spent all our money on beer and other treatments.
A big Wisconsin thank you to sister Gail for schlepping us to Milwaukee, in the luxury of her new wheels no less, which at night when you open the car door casts an affluent emblem of excellence on the ground
You’ve made it Girl! You can buy an aftermarket kit for this at Amazon, $112. Such a deal. Remove all identifying features from your Ford or Chevy and install it. Impress your date. S/he will never know you’re a poser.
Earlier in the week, before tripping north to visit family, I treated Happy Wife to two nights in Milwaukee at the Kinn Guesthouse in Bayview. A big shoutout to this place. It was the first glamtel I’ve ever stayed at. As with the Third Ward, Bayview has changed some in 30+ years. Not the safest area of town back then as I recall, but during our visit it felt quaint and friendly, with pocket parks, bike lanes, and boutiques filled with vintage knick-knackery that women purchase to place here and there in the home where it is meant to be simply, enjoyed.
Favorite likes in our room at the Kinn – the high ceiling and cream city brick walls. And free wine in the communal kitchen!
The next morning we walked, and walked (and walked) all the way down Kinnickinnic avenue to the lakefront (~7 miles). We were just strolling along the sidewalk, the heat of the day coming on full bore, when all of a sudden we hear the bum bum bum of rap music get louder and louder until…wait, what’s this
If you think you’ve come up with a novel activity that’s never before been done while drinking beer, fuggedaboutit. Trust me, somebody in Milwaukee has already done it.
Finally we reached the lakefront, strolled along a path enjoying a mercifully cool breeze coming off the lake, then trudged up the bluff and slogged a few more blocks to my favorite east side watering hole, Hooligans. The streets were cordoned off for a street fair, complete with (of course) beer tents, but also food and a bandstand with a surprisingly good local band bangin’ out some good jams, just outside a Whole Foods market. I’m tellin’ ya, all the gentrification made me feel a tad melancholic, my old haunts were nearly unrecognizable.
A notable exception was Ma Fischer’s, good to see it’s still open. Back in the day it was the only place a pickled night crawler could get a satisfying plateful of grease at 2 am
Eventually the heat of the day was too much for us doughy Alaskans, so we Uber’d back to the glamtel.
Two refreshingly cool showers later, we Uber’d to dinner at the Sandford restaurant. Very good food and service, and a notably unpretentious atmosphere. Recommend.
The next day Sister Gail arrived to pick us up and we were off to Appleton! Stay tuned for Part 2.