I’ve spent the last several days in Milwaukee, visiting museums, eating deep fried cheese curds, touring incredible breweries, attending fish fries, and absorbing local culture by the pint-full. I’d like to break everything down, and give you a minute-by-minute recounting of my activities in this, one of my favorite cities in America, but my memories are a bit fuzzy.
What I can tell you is that I hit eight bars on Friday night alone, with my favorite being Wolski’s – a little neighborhood bar a few blocks off of Brady Street, owned by a man named Dennis Wolski, whose grandfather opened the bar in 1908. (And, yes, I liked it even better than the German place where the waitresses wore short plaid skirts and knee-high black socks… Authenticity trumps fetish once again.) If you’re ever in Milwaukee, I’d highly recommend it, and not just because Dennis bought me and my friend Dan shots of whiskey, and sat down to talk with us about everything from the pollution in Lake Michigan to the ways in which his grandfather got around prohibition. It’s a damned cool little bar, that’s been in the hands of a single family for over 100 years, and I think that, in and of itself, deserves at least a pint. (Dan and I tried to buy a pint each, but Dennis up-sold us to a pitcher, by running through the economics of it.) Anyway, you should add it to your list of places to see before the U.S. implodes.
Oh, and the above photo, if you can’t figure it out, is of me embracing Milwaukee’s bronze Fonzie. I know it sounds dirty, like a taboo sex act you’d find outlined in graphic detail in the Urban Dictionary… Like, “Yeah, last night, I got Frank drunk and gave my him a ‘bronze Fonzie’“… But it’s actually kind of sweet to see that tiny, bronze Arthur Fonzarelli waiting for you along the Milwaukee river walk, which is itself quite beautiful. (I’m imagining our Iggy Pop statue here in Ypsi to be somewhat similar in proportion, if not coloration.)
[This last photo, taken at the Milwaukee Public Museum, shows what I’d look like, in the opinion of historians, in the face of terrifying buffalo stampede.]