Tag Archives: Beer

Landmark Lanes: Everything Wonderful rolled into one

Since moving to the eastside, I have frequented this wonderfully dive-y joint on Farwell regularly.  While it may not seem like much from the modest sign outside, dwarfed by the Orpheum’s flashy marquee, Landmark Lanes has a lot to offer.

The crew before a stellar evening.

When you first enter you will be led down a flight of stairs into the body of the beast. Landmark isn’t just a bowling alley, it’s an adventure. It includes three separates bars, around 16 lanes, a game arcade complete with big buck hunter (amongst other awesome options), numerous pool tables and a handful of cork and electronic dart boards.

My friends and I usually gather at the Mark around 9:30 on Thursday nights.   Right now they have league bowling until around ten so we down a few beers before we hit lanes.  If you end up going on a Friday or Saturday night, they have great cosmic bowling. A pair of shoes cost $ 2.11 and a game of bowling is about $12 dollars (for 4 people). And if you’re lucky/ have the right sized feet you can snag one of the few pairs of neon flamed shoes they have. Now the Mark is a REAL bowling alley, so you won’t find any electronic scoring here. Make sure to brush up on your manual scoring skills before visiting.

After enjoying a few beers (domestic taps are only 2 bucks on Thursdays, and rail mixers are 3 for you all who like to live on the edge) throwing a few strikes and taking in a few tunes (their jukebox has a great selection) we turn in our shoes and move on to the back bar, where the wonderful Roy hosts karaoke.

While the Mark doesn't have a big menu (frozen pizzas at the bar) they do have a fully stocked vending machine. Combos for dinner is a must,

While they selection of songs doesn’t include current favorites like “Poker Face” the classics are readily available and so are diverse people. The Mark has a pretty solid group of regulars that keep the place hoppin. Karaoke can get busy so make sure to get your requests in early if you want to belt it out before 2am.

So whether you are looking to shoot a little pool or sing a little Dusty Springfield, Landmark is the place for you. I honestly believe that everyone would be better off with a little Mark in their life.

Rock Bottom Brewery before Rockin Out

Before the Peaches show, I grabbed dinner and drinks with friends at Rock Bottom Brewery on Wells and Plankinton. Two of my friends, who had tickets to the Widespread Panic show later that evening, were excited to see that the beer special for the night was “Love Tractor” IPA (named for a song by Panic). Rock Bottom, with over 35 restaurants nationally, takes pride in its beer and it’s rare that you will find any two locations with the same brew menu; they tailor the beers they make and their names to the region the restaurant is located in.

The brewery is big, with brew kettles in the center of the restaurant, surrounded by glass, so patrons can peer in and see where the magic happens. The ceilings are high and décor simple, with lots of wood and an open floor plan. The Grateful Dead, Zeppelin and Phish played over the speakers; I’m not sure if they normally play this type of music or if it was just for the Widespread show, but we sure enjoyed it! I ordered a bourbon veggie burger and a side salad. The burger was topped fried onions and a sweet and tangy bourbon sauce.The salad was huge and had one of my favorite additions, dried cranberries.

Megan likes fish. I really wish I liked fish... :(

Megan likes fish. I really wish I liked fish... 😦

My friend Megan ordered the smoked salmon fish and chips.It was recommended by he waiter and while I’m not a fan of fish, Megan said it was a really tasty twist on a classic. My other friend Devin ordered the chimichurri turkey burger and a Caesar salad. The burger was way bigger than the bun (which is always a good thing) and was topped with a heap of fresh pico…mmmm…. tasty.

Turkey Burger; Thanksgiving birds wish they could be this cool.

We would have hung out longer in our high sided, intimate booth but we had to make sure we got to our respective music venues on time. While I am generally anti-chain, I was pleasantly surprised by Rock Bottom; I am definitely going to have to go back sometime when the weather’s a little warmer and I can enjoy the outdoor seating they have right on the river.

This is my friend Devin. She likes salad and I heart her!

The Stone: Match Tricks and Magic Hat

After downing a delicious dinner made by my friend Megan at her Bay View abode, some friends and I wandered down the street to The Stone bar, just off of KK on Howell Ave. This great, discreet neighborhood joint has everything a Milwaukee drinker could ask for. The jukebox hosts an eclectic selection of tunes to listen too, while you throw a few darts on the cork boards in the back. The beer selection is varied with classic and not so classic brews on tap and in bottles. They also offer trivia, wii bowling, big slices of beef jerky and as many shell on peanuts as you could ever want.

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An over sized coaster I snagged off a table that now adorns my kitchen wall.

While we were there, the bar was running a promo on Magic Hat Brews, with their intoxicating, apricot laced # 9 not so pale ale on special for 4 dollars a pint.  Some Magic Hat promoters were sitting at the table next to us and we started to chat. We definitely choose our seats well that night; each of us got a t shirt and awesome bottle opener along with some mind exercise. One of the guys also showed us this really great brain teaser that I will now share with you…

Take 12 matches (or toothpicks) and set them up like so.

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Now, while only moving ONE match on only the left side of the equation, (leaving the solution/right side alone) make the equation true. You cannot introduce a variable (such as x) and you cannot add or remove matches.

Did you figure it out?  Don’t worry, I’ll post the answer in a few days!

The Pabat Mansion: 7 Dollar Time Machine

Ok, so now lets talk about the shack itself. Located at 2000 Grand avenue, the Pabst Mansion was completed in 1892 after 2 years of workmanship completed by dozens and dozens of craftsmen. Pabst spared no expense when building his new family home; the house was fully wired for electricity (which was novel at the time), all NINE bathrooms were complete with indoor plumbing, and a state of the art heating system was installed (with 16 separate thermostats) to keep the family toasty during the bitter Wisconsin winters.

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The Mansion, built in the Flemish Renaissance Revival style, is a true Wisconsin work of art. Each room is decorated beautifully with copious amounts of woodwork, priceless art and of course antlers everywhere; the reception room is complete with a massive chandelier made from the antlers of a once majestic buck. The decoration throughout the house is rich, with gold and deep hued wall paper adorning most rooms. My favorite area of the house was the captain’s study. More rustic than the rest of the building, the study has a dropped wood ceiling and engraved wood paneling running along every wall, creating an intimate cabin like, cozy feel in the decadent room. Unfortunately, the Pabst family only spent a few short years in their majestic residence; Captain Pabst died and 1904 with his wife following shortly after in 1906. The children immediately put the home up for sale and in 1908 the Archdiocese of Milwaukee purchased the building and transformed it into the residence of the Archbishop. For 67 years the house was home to many sisters, and priests but in 1975 the mansion was put up for sale again. The Archdiocese had hoped that the historic building would be sold to some restoration group, who had the intent of turning the building into a permanent museum (like it is today) but funding was cut short and a third party bought the building. Not long before the mansion was demolished to make room for a parking garage, WHI (Wisconsin Heritages Inc.) received a grant and purchased the mansion.  Since then, every wall ornament and piece of furniture has been careful attended to in order to restore the former Pabst home to its original glory. Eleven years ago, the mansion was officially names the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion to focus on the preservation of the Pabst family legacy.

I'd rather study here than at the library...

Admission to the mansion is 7 dollars for students ( 8 during the holiday season). If you want to take a quick trip back in time 100 years I highly recommend spending an afternoon wandering around this Milwaukee gem (that is unless you have a time machine and in that case we need to talk!)

The Blue Ribbon

But I know all you really care about is the beer right? Well I couldn’t get my hands on Fred’s secret recipe of hops and malt that makes PBR the liquid gold that we all know and love, but I did find that the recipe has remained generally unchanged since the days Phil Best brewed it.  “The Blue Ribbon” got its name after winning first place at the 1893 Chicago Colombian Exposition. As a marketing ploy and way for drinkers to distinguish Pabst’s beer from competitors, Fred started tying a blue ribbon around the neck of every bottle.  Eventually the actual blue ribbon was replaced with a printed label inspired by the blue ribbon.
In 1977, America’s love affair with PBR was at its peak; the company reported selling 18 million barrels.  After a period of unimpressive sales in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, PBR has made a massive come back thanks to our friend the hipster.  Despite the fact that many ads feature trendy dressed 20 somethings enjoying PBR, and even NPR (a hipster’s verbal bible and their most prized topic of conversation next to awkwardly obscure music groups) has started airing spots for the Blue Ribbon, the Pabst Company refuses to fully embrace these new thirsty consumers as its new target demographic.  Their Fear?… Hugging the hipsters close would challenge the beers authenticity and result in the loss of lifelong drinkers like the blue collar Chrysler engine builders of Kenosha, WI.

Despite its reputation of being responsible for some of the most awesome hangovers ever, PBR has remained a staple in Wisconsin bars and fridges for decades.

Fred Pabst, My BFF

One chilly, dreary day in October, after abandoning my attempts at homework after realizing I had read the same page three times,  and then becoming thoroughly bored with everything on television, I decided to go on an adventure. “Where will this adventure take me?” I asked myself.  I soon arrived at the conclusion that the majority of my adventure would take place somewhere warm and dry, considering the weather was less than pleasurable. I also knew I wanted my adventure to take me downtown; then, I could report my findings back to you. After a little indoor inquiry  via the internet, I decided to visit The Pabst Mansion.

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Isn't he lovely, isn't he wonderful!

Before I tell you about this lame excuse for a house (completely kidding this place is magnificent), I think you need a little background on the man who sponsored its creation. Captain Frederick Pabst was born in Germany in 1836 and crossed the pond with his parents in 1848, settling first in Chicago.  Some years later, Pabst met Phillip Best, who owned a small brewery in Milwaukee. Pabst later married Best’s daughter Maria in 1862, and moved to Milwaukee to begin his life as a family man.

After his ship was beached on the shores of Whitefish Bay during a storm, Fred (as I like to call him, considering we are basically BFF) decided his days on the waters of Lake Michigan were over. He joined his father in law in the brewing biz and eventually became the president of the company in 1873. ( I would just like to say thank you to the storm that beached Fred’s boat in Whitefish Bay, without you, Milwaukee would be THIRSTY!)  As you can imagine, Pabst was pretty successful and put a lot of money into the city of Milwaukee, building the Pabst Whitefish Bay Resort (which is now a subdivision, tear), The New German City Theatre (which was rebuilt as the Pabst Theater after the original building burnt down) and the thirteen story Pabst Building (which was demolished in 1980, double tear).   Fred’s leadership served as a catalyst to jump starting the now successful Pabst Brewing Company.

Belgium in Bay View: Cafe Centraal

Another cool spot at the intersection of KK and Lincoln is Café Centraal. Part of the Diablos Rojos restaurant group, who also owns Trocadero and Café Hollander, Café Centraal hosts Bay View’s largest dinning room. The ambiance is open and the décor, rustic. You’ll dine at sturdy wooden tables, while sitting in wicker chairs (a step up from the kind you’d see on someone’s front porch). Large wooden barrels are scattered amongst the tables, and lined along the extensive wrap around bar are mismatched stools (over 35 different styles in all). Towards the back of the restaurant is an old garage door that, when opened, reveals a patio/beer garden which patrons can use November through March. Ok, you caught me. The patio’s not open in the dead of winter, but if it were, I’m sure some sconnies (with thick liquor coats of coarse) would enjoy a beer or two out there.

The chairs are adopted (shhh they dont know!)

The chairs are adopted (shhh they dont know!)

Now, the menu is very similar to its northern brother, Café Hollander; but, that isn’t a bad thing. The food here has a Belgian flare, as does the beer. They have a bunch of great appetizers, including mussels (prepared 3 ways) and frites (fancy shmancy French fries). Sandwiches, entrees and salads follow, with my favorite being the Benelux Meatloaf. While I usually prefer caramelized ketchup instead of gravy on my loaf, their Au Jus Ale gravy is really flavorful. The classic Quiche Loraine is also stellar, and has a really great tender crust; all too often quiche’s crusts (including my own, I hate to admit) are soggy.

Can't go wrong wih blue neon.

Can't go wrong wih blue neon.

The star here is not the food, but the alcohol (which I am quickly learning to be the case with many Milwaukee eating establishments). Café Centraal has 23 (+ or – a few specials) tap beers and over 60 bottled/caned beers. What most people don’t know is that different beers, like wines, should be served in a glass particular to the type of beer; and, Centraal prides itself on “correctly” serving each bubbly brew. Unlike Sugar Maple, they do have some of those “familiar” beers like Bud Light, Miller Light and Corona; but, you deserve a slap on the wrist if you order one of these “dull” beers and fail to take advantage of Centraal’s vast selection.

Last but not least, are the Bloody Marys. On Saturdays and Sundays, Centraal serves brunch. The Napoleon Dynamite I had was heart attack delicious; pancakes topped with fried eggs, bacon, Belgian beer sauce, with a dollop of whipped cream, all swimming in maple syrup. But the BM is what stole a little piece of my heart that day. I ordered The Southsider, which had Absolut pepper vodka, hot sauce and jalapeno stuffed olives, but they have 3 others… The Traditional (which is just what you think it is), The Frenchie (which has French vodka, Dijon mustard and blu cheese stuffed olives) and the Milwaukeean (with local Rehorst vodka, beer, bacon and cheese). Café Centraal is workin real hard to smash all those preconceived notions about bloodies being bland!

So now you can plan a wonderful Saturday in Bay View with out leaving the intersection of KK and Lincoln: an early Brunch at Café Centraal, a beer at Sugar Maple, a light lunch at Lulu’s; and, you will STILL have time to hit up Bed Bath and Beyond before dinner!

Café Centraal

2306 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Bay View, WI 53207

(414) 755-0377

Atmosphere: Casual/ Rustic

Price: 5-20 bucks

Serving: Lunch, Dinner Desert, Drinks and Sunday/Saturday Brunch