Wisconsin’s Culture --- Pleasant Pubs, Taverns, Eateries

Pubs, taverns and breweries have a long history in Wisconsin. They represent diverse architectural styles, interiors, and libations. The ones this author appreciates are those with an element of class reflected in the interior, the service and the clientele --- to wit, they are pleasant to be in and one can relax and enjoy the evening or afternoon. Effort began on March 24, 2014. More coming.

Lyon's Irish Pub


No matter what city I go to, I am always looking for an Irish Pub, and I found one for dinner at Lyon's Irish Pub on E. Main Street in the heart of the Historic Downtown Watertown. I relished my pints of Smithwicks and Reuben sandwich, and enjoyed the hospitality of those working there.

Lena's Lucky Star


Praise the Lord, Lena's Lucky Star in the small and handsome village of Stockholm, Wisconsin, Pepin County. Homemade soups and dessert. Great burgers, cheese curds,daily, specials as local as the Lucky Star can get. And, of course, full Bar-craft beers at Nelly's Pub inside which also boasts its awesome Bloody Marys and Margaritas

Dorf Haus Supper Club


The Dorf Haus is in the quaint village of Roxbury. It is decorated with authentic antiques, paintings of famous German castles and Kings, and stained glass. It serves wiener schnitzel, sauerbraten, rouladen, & pork shank to prime rib, bar-b-que ribs, duck, and family style chicken.

Kitty O'Reilly's Irish Pub - Sturgeon Bay


Kitty O’Reillys offers you a fun and exciting experience with a lively pub, a cozy dining room. and a beautiful outdoor Guinness Patio! While staying several days in Sturgeon Bay, my wife and I went there twice, and it was booming with life. We sat and ate at the bar and everyone who sat near us was happy to talk and laugh and tell a few lies. A must stop when in Sturgeon Bay. A few looks inside.



Pub N' Prime - Marquette


The Pub N' Prime is known throughout the Green Lake area as the very, very best prime rib house in the state! We visited early in the afternoon and weren't ready for that, but having talked to the owner I believe it. These people really care about their prime ribs, and everything else. A few inside shots — you'll see this is a straight-forward down-home Wisconsin restaurant and pub, and a place that serves upscale mouth-watering prime rib.



Reilly's Pub - Marksman

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Reilly's Pub is a family owned pub overlooking Green Lake, "A wee bit of Irish tradition overlooking the shores of Green Lake." My wife and I had a riot in here. Everyone was as friendly as friendly could be. We got a huge kick out of watching this you lad repeatedly coming from the kitchen to fetch more Jameson's Irish whiskey. We couldn't figure out why so many times. The then chef came out and chatted with the people at the bar. We were new to the place, so we asked him a lot of questions about the menu, as we did not know what to order. He had me laying on the floor laughing because he said he put Jameson's in just about every menu item! I don't know if he does or not, but we were sure giggling after having dinner! Oh well, it ad to be the brewskis … maybe.

Clancy’s Stone Lion - Custer


One diner who recorded his-her feelings about Clancy’s said this: “Listen up folks, if you're looking for a great bar/restaurant that is relatively unknown, you've come to the right place.” Jim and Lisa said, “If you don’t try Clancy's your life will not be complete.” Clancy’s is a bit hard to find. Take Hwy 10 east out of Stevens Point past CH J to the sign for CH K, jog off to the right and you’ll be on a road into Custer, a very small village. You’ll pass a couple taverns and then approach a large gravel parking lot on the left. Turn in there and park. Clancy’s does not have a sign announcing the name, but you have the photo here. I had dinner there, and met Mr. Clancy who runs the bar. Mrs. Clancy is the commander-in-chief of the kitchen, and arguably the whole enterprise! You’ll not miss Mr. Clancy. He is a big man and Irish as Irish can be, red hair and beard and all, and very friendly. I had dinner, but better yet was made to feel at home and enjoyed conversations at the bar. Here are a few looks inside. I took these photos the next day at lunch. Clancy’s had a nice crowd, all family with lots of kids, so I did not photograph them.





The Pub - Oconomowoc


The Pub is an Irish Restaurant-Pub on Main Street and you cannot miss it, painted outside in bright red, very nicely done. Opened in 2001 by a couple from Ireland, it is intended to be a truly Irish establishment with contemporary American cuisine. A warm setting, comfortable and warm to the eyes.

Spitfire Grill - Okuchee


The Spitfire Grill is a neighborhood kind of pub, cozy atmosphere, said to have awesome food, a good break from routine fried foods, some say “a little pricier than other bars in the area, but hey its not your average slummy watering hole like most Okauchee taverns,” which says a lot.

Gootches - Boulder Junction



The welcome sign at Goochs A-One Bar and Grill is a welcoming one indeed. You cannot miss it. You know you are up in Wisconsin’s northlands when you get here. My wife knew it as the Shrimp when her family came to its cabin up here in summers. I walked inside and found one of the more delightful paces I’ve seen up in these parts. I knew the nano-second I walked in this was my kind of place. Gooch’s had a real nice lunch crowd, great people, all enjoying their meals and camaraderie.


If you are a wild-life lover, and you like great food, great people, and a nice cool one, this is the place for you. Let me show you just a few of the animals mounted on the walls. You could depend some tie just walking around and looking at them. To see more, go to our story, “Gooch’s A-One Bar & Grill, Boulder.”




Urbane - Sheboygan


The Urbane is directly on Michigan Ave in Sheboygan and when the weather is good, has an open air front.It looks very inviting. Some say it was low key, relaxing, while others said a little to “uppity-up” for them. I got you a better look at the open air area. It looks neat to me.


Lake Street Café - Lake Elkhart


The Lake Street Café is just up the street from the luxurious Osthoff Hotel and well worth the stroll. The night we went in, it was packed, wall to wall. WE found a place to hang at the front window, and despite the land office business, we received fabulous service. I returned the next day to take a couple inside shots. Great place. Fun. It has two different dining rooms, one colorful, bright and very casual and the other a little more dressed up with table cloths. In business since 1999.



The Boathouse - Minocqua


The Boathouse has changed hands a few times over the past few years. Originally Bosackis, it has been a famous Minocqua dining and pub attraction since 1917. The fourth generation of the Bosacki family had to close in 2009. It was then changed to Matt Morgan’s but it too was forced to close a few years later. It is now owned by Gary and Sue Ruschmeyer who have other restaurants and considerable experience. It is getting rave reviews. It looks out on Lake Minocqua and arguably has one of the most famous bars in the state. Take a look. It is dazzling. You gotta have a cool one at this bar.




Willow Wood Lodge - Hazelhurst


The Willow Wood Lodge has been described by the Hazelhurst, Wisconsin web site as follows:

"Cozy and unique rustic log cabin bar, offering sandwiches, pizzas and a full liquor bar. Also offering cottages, boat rentals, bait shop, gas, camping, showers, electric and water. Located on the Tomahawk River across the road from the Willow Flowage. Open year-round. Your hosts, Herman and Vicki Bartels." This is a look at the main lodge dining and bar building. We want to give you a closer view of the stone entryway to the right.


Just gorgeous vegetation in the summer. Let's go inside. You'll get a real treat.


As soon as you walk in, you see a pool table and the bar. It all has a log-cabin feel to it inside, neat, clean, warm.
We'll show you a few taxidermy mounts inside the lounge area.




If you wish to see more, go to our story, “Willow Wood Lodge, wilderness on the Tomahawk and the Willow Flowage”

A.J. O’Brady’s - Menominee Falls


A.J. O’Brady’s is on Main Street in Menominee Falls, in the Hoenig-Lohn Building built in 1874. It has been through many iterations of taverns and inns and was bought by Pubs America Inc. in 2011. It is both an Irish Pub and Sports Bar with a great food atmosphere.

Mo’s Irish Pub - Milwaukee


Mo’s Irish Pub is in the heart of downtown Milwaukee. I stopped by, had some brewskis and dinner. Enjoyed it a lot. It has the old rustic, authentic theme, even with some “stalls” where a couple can sort of gain some privacy from the world for a bit. Dark inside, but comfortably so.


I think it was the separating walls between bar seats that reminded me of some Irish pubs in Dublin I had visited.

Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub - Milwaukee


Jackson’s Blue Robbin Pub is in the same building as the Brewhouse Hotel, both located in a rehabilitated section of the old Pabst Brewing Co. historical buildings in Milwaukee. I stayed in the hotel and had some brewskis and dinner at Jackson’s, all just great. A look inside Jackson’s.




Foxy’s - Briggsville


Foxy’s in the small town of Briggsville in southwest Marquette County is my kind of place. It’s a sportsman’s Bar that features good ol’ Wisconsin barbecue. It’s got great food, a nice country atmosphere, with Burns Cove Lake and park right across the street, a favorite place for the neighborhood to sun bathe, fish, swim and picnic. It’s not far from Wisconsin Dells.

City Grille - Wausau


The City Grill is part of Wausau’s Jefferson Inn, a wonderful hotel and used quite a bit by business people. It is contemporary featuring American cuisine and features a full bar with a lavish wine, drink and beer menu. It is a bit upscale, but casual and relaxing, and the food is marvelous, but you need not wear a tux --- Wisconsin informal will do the trick.



Malarkey’s Pub - Wausau


Malarky’s Pub is located in the heart of Wausau’s 400 Block in the old downtown. Since I live n ton, I have gone here many times. I’ll show you a few inside shots. It is known for its great music, friendly service, huge selection of libations and large tap selection. Established in 2007, it has just expanded to add Townie’s Grill, a “gastropub.”



Water Street Place Pub & Eatery


Schullsurg first of is a marvelous town to visit. The Water Street Place Pub & Eatery Historic Inn is special. It is a bed & breakfast historic inn but has a magnificent;y preserved and restored restaurant that has, of course, a pub that features a variety of beers and wines.

Steel Head Saloon - Algoma


I’ll start by saying, I love Algoma! I stopped off at the Steel Head and had a wonderful brewski or two and a meal. The first portion was built in 1870 and was upgraded to be a hotel. Today it is the Steel Head Saloon --- friendly and casual. Top drawer in my book.

Stadium Diner and Bleachers Bar - Algoma


Stadium Diner and Bleachers Bar is not in as eloquent a building as is the Steelhead, but I went in here as well and it is terrific. This is a wonderful Wisconsin tavern, a sports bar that hosts a great clientele, and I had a lot of fun in here. There was a group of ladies from out of town, I think they were teachers, attending some Algoma function and they were getting a head start on the function. They were a riot, wonderful ladies. The place inside is a lot larger than it looks from my photo.

New Glarus Hotel - New Glarus


The New Glarus Hotel Restaurant was built by Swiss immigrants in 1853, and has long been a landmark for fine Swiss cuisine, a Swiss atmosphere and entertainment. The restaurant features Geschnetzeltes, cheese Fondue a' la Neuchatel, Beef Fondue Bourguignonne, homemade Swiss pastries and more. There is a traditional outdoor European dining on the glass enclosed balcony. In addition to its restaurant, it also features the Ticino Pizzeria named after the Italian speaking Canton of Switzerland, serving pizza, lasagna, spaghetti and other Italian treats along with a bar and beverages.

Puemple’s Olde Tavern - New Glarus


Puemple’s is one of those rare authentic taverns in the US, a “historic Survivor.” It has comfort, charm and a friendly old-world Swiss tradition and atmosphere. It was established in 1893.

Pioneer Tavern - Eau Claire


The Pioneer Tavern is on Water Street and is a fun place to visit and decompress. It boasts, “Home to the oldest outdoor patio in Eau Claire, the Pioneer Tavern is a classic college bar with a splash of local history.” It has 12 beers on tap, six of which are imports or microbrews, with indoor games such as pool, foosball, and darts.

Grasse’s - Sister Bay


The emphasis at Grasse’s is emphasis is on fresh, home made foods featuring Door County ingredients. Features an extensive craft beer selection, varied wine list, home made desserts, and Wisconsin ice cream. This is a place where the owners love food, love to talk about it, read about it. watch shows about it, and eat it! They love to cook, grow and preserve food.

The Garage@Husby’s - Sister Bay


The Garage@ Husby’s features great burgers, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and dinner entrees, as well as food and spirits.

Cornerstone Pub - Bailey’s Harbor


The Cornerstone Pub in Bailey’s Harbor is in the downtown area of this Door County resort. It has been here since the 1920s. It’s motto is “Good food at a reasonable price served by good, reasonable people. The pub boasts that it “keeps a clean and relaxed ship. Our customers are fun-loving and the environment is friendly.”

Depot Bar - Prairie du Chien


This is the Depot Bar, originally built in 1864 and has been fully restored. She sits at St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi River not far from where the Wisconsin meets Ol’ Man River. A neat place to be in the summer.

Ledgestone Winery - Brown County




LedgeStone Vineyards sits at the base of a section of the Niagara Escarpment, about eight miles south of DePere. They planted their first vines in 1998. The establishment also imports grapes from Washington to round out the menu of wines. Estate Grown Wines include Frontenac, Frontenac Gris, Sabrevois, LaCrescent, and Marquette, with more to come as the vineyard matures. Its Monarch Creek Wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine Zinfandel, Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Barbera.