Last call at the neighborhood pub

Say it ain’t so, Wisconsin! The corner taps are drying up, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The corner bar and grill is Wisconsin, what with its usual Packer memorabilia and the four guys at the bar who look like they’ve been there awhile. It’s particularly true in Brew City — Milwaukee, but perhaps not for much longer.

We’re losing something with these places,” Deb Seibel of the city’s Plainfield Pub said. “My husband and I are in our late 50s. We always have gone to corner bars. We don’t go downtown. We’re more friendly. We cater to the working people.”

But people are looking for more nowadays. You can’t smoke inside, and there is, of course, more focus on not driving drunk. And sports bars and larger joints are pulling people from the corner pub.

At one time there were more than 2,000 corner bars in the city. Last year, the newspaper says, only 127 renewed their licenses.

  • Snyder

    They should move to Northeast Minneapolis. We still pretty much have a bar on every corner over here. :-)

  • Disco

    Here are some bar-related things I remember from my childhood in Wisconsin. My brother and I (along with our cousins) would wind up in bars my parents would frequent on the way to/from/at the the lake. (I should note that the appearance of children in bars is a different thing in Wisconsin than in Minnesota, where imbibing is still a sin.)

    Stuff required in every Wisconsin pub:

    – sloped floor

    – lots of smoke

    – odor of stale beer

    – disgusting bathrooms

    – cigarette vending

    – broken pinball machine

    – outdated arcade games (Centipede wasn’t really that cool in like 1988)

    – shabby pool table with only one functional pool cue

    – raspy/smoky-voiced, overweight 60-something female barkeep

    – beer nuts

    – somehow still had too much fun

  • Jeff

    Am I missing something? Is it a surprise that over the course of over 50 years, consumer’s tastes have changed and fewer of them want to do something now than the number who did that 50 years ago? According to the article, more than 50 years ago there were 2065 taverns in the city. Ten years ago there were 1042. Last year there were 979 and 127 of them were “family owned”. Shock! I’m willing to guess the number of coffee shops/houses has gone up since 50 years ago.

  • John O.

    Like disco, I also grew up in Wisconsin. (BTW disco, you forgot to mention the requisite Tombstone pizza oven and gallon jars of various pickled animal parts.)

    Another thing that set the “Ma and Pa” neighborhood tavern apart from the blase corporate crackerboxes of today was the conversation. It was the hub for all of the latest community news and gossip. Sure, the jukebox was going, but not at a decibel level equal to that of a Boeing 727 engine.

    The bartender, doctor, teacher, construction worker, hardware store owner, nurse and mechanic could all be engaged in a respectful (and sometimes colorful) discussion on topics of the day. Ah, the good ol’ days.