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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

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In Bars & Clubs

Wally's Racer's Inn, 5525 W. Lisbon Ave., was one of four stops on the latest crawl.

Barhopping with College Dave & Friends: Fall 2012


Gosh darn, it feels like a while since I've done this. Combining a rather heavy hoosegow hiatus with a major move nearly made my spring pub crawl fundamentally unfeasible.

However, now down in weight and back stronger than ever, my peeps, let me open with some kudos to a few friends in the industry.

First, I want to congratulate the beautiful and dynamic Michelle Hoff (BelAir Cantina) for a job well done competing in the recent Campari Cocktail Competition at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Second, a big pat on the back goes to my good pal Brian "The Wing King" Felten (TomKen's) for maintaining his Wing King title by winning Milwaukee's Wing Fest for the second year in a row.

I can't recommend enough for you all to stop at TomKen's some Monday night to enjoy many of Brian's wings and get served a nice cold one by his little brother, Brad "The Struggler" Felten. And lastly, a nice applause to the dear Tina Urch for her very successful "Femme Adorn" event held at the Hamilton earlier this spring. I was there and it was very nice show held in a very nice place.

And now onto the pub crawl ...

About a week after my extended vacation in Franklin (where I was able to brush up on my cribbage skills with new friends Moose, Wojo and Waldo), I made a few phone calls and put my crew back together for a new tour. This time we used a shuttle generously donated by O'Brien's Pub. We started a good dozen strong with three more joining along the way. We visited O'Brien's Pub, Wally's Racers Inn, Anna's Tap and the Full Moon Saloon.

O'Brien's Pub
4928 W. Vliet St., (414) 453-6200

Joey from O'Brien's and Mark from Jackson's Blue Ribbon came to see me one night at the Bluemound Inn and Joey offered the O'Brien's shuttle with a driver to the crew for our next pub crawl. I graciously accepted and our first stop was invariably O'Brien's, where the gorgeous Jenny Smith slings the swill. Life is good when there's an attractive lady behind the wood at a corner bar and there's usually one to be one found at this place. Just ask the Ace Face (if you know him).

Joel "Joey" Klamann and Brian "Bud" Eft purchased the former Bingo's from the legendary Jon "Bingo" Berta in 1998. Prior to that, the building housed Hare's owned by Tom "Taco" Kroenig and Dick Krouse. Before that, it was John Does, owned by Johnny "The Big Cat" Jonas, Dave Domack and Dick White. And even before that, it was a fine dining restaurant owned by the Stollenwerk family.

I met Wisconsin Club bartender Ron Meyer at O'Brien's back in the day. Ron's a great barkeep when he's not on the golf course. Up until about seven years ago, O'Brien's was your basic corner bar. Not too nice, not run-down. But then Joey and Bud invested their time and money into an extensive remodel giving it a more Irish cottage kind of feel. Sure, the place is much nicer now, but very importantly, it hasn't lost its character and charm. As a matter of fact, my friend Jose "The Puerto Rican Santa" Claudio (Tres Locos, Hector's) said to me, "College, this place is too nice for you and your group!" I've always enjoyed Jose's honest sense of humor.

O'Brien's also has an extensive pub fare food menu – one of the best in town right now. So, the next time you find yourself in the Washington Heights neighborhood after catching a flick at the Rosebud or enjoying a perfect meal at either Cafe Perrin or Juniper 61, stop over at O'Brien's for a brew. Take a look at the menu, too. I trust you'll like it.

Wally's Racers Inn
5525 W. Lisbon Ave., (414) 444-2565

The first time I ever went to Wally's was nearly nine years ago with my friends Maggie, Tommy and Sean O'Donoghue. There seemed to be about eight other O'Donoghues there, too, that day, and it felt like being a part of one big happy family. Then, I met some other patrons, friends, and Kathy the marvelous bartender. Kathy, by the way, tended bar at Gallagher's (47th and Vliet Streets) back in the day.

Wally Jahnke, a former race car mechanic, opened Wally's in 1975 in Milwaukee's Uptown Crossings neighborhood. Thirty-seven years later, the bar is still doing just fine, especially during the day. Friends and family meet here on a regular basis and you can tell that everyone looks out for one another.

Mike's A Little Bit Country was called "Wally's" before Mike went in, but that was a different Wally.

Wally's was the second stop on our tour, and it was the perfect place for everyone who didn't know each other well to get acquainted (or reacquainted) while lubricating their moods. The patrons at the bar were very kind to us and Kathy was the perfect host.

A special touch to the time was when Maggie O'Donoghue showed everyone the pictures remaining on the bulletin board from her 21st birthday party at Wally's – which was, well, over 15 years ago, we'll say. Thanks for the suggestion, Mags. Page 1 of 2 (view all on one page)

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Talkbacks

Victor Golf | Sept. 14, 2012 at 1:45 p.m. (report)

"Hoosegow" mean jail, prison, The Grey Bar Hotel etc, and has for a very long time. Is that how it's being used in the article, or do you use it differently?

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