Once upon a bland existence, "weird" was not a complimentary word, but over time, this has changed and the word is now more synonymous with "unique" than "creepy."
In short, weird has become a good thing and cities strive to hold onto what makes their place truly special.
Even though Milwaukee does not officially have a "keep it weird" campaign like other cities, there's still enough weirdness to keep life interesting.
American Science & Surplus
Whether you need beakers, electrical gizmos, art supplies, zombie heads or telescopes, this is the place. Even if you need absolutely nothing, go anyway just to read the hand-scrawled signs describing the odds and ends. During a recent visit, we watched a worker melt a gummy bear in a test tube to demonstrate what happens when sugar is exposed to high temperatures. There was also a bin of legs.
This gem of a pizzeria is in the red. Literally. From the saucy dishes to the checkered table cloths to the snug dresses on the 60-something sister waitresses. (Don’t expect any red wine, though, because Maria’s does not have a liquor license. Get a big blue soda in a plastic cup instead.) The walls are adorned with paint-by-number religious paintings brushed by family and strands of Christmas lights twinkle all year ‘round. The pizza is thin and greasy – many diners roll it up like a tortilla – but it doesn’t matter. It’s the experience of Maria's that matters. Any shred of nourishment is a bonus.
Art Smart’s Dart Mart
Arguably, it’s the highly visible sign on the Brady Street side of the building that is what’s most iconic about this quirky shop, but for those who are actually in the market for juggling supplies, Frisbees, magic tricks or gag gifts, this is a one-stopper. My 11-year-old son would disagree, but I do not recommend the fart bombs, however. Those work a little too well.
Every Thursday night, this cozy lounge features an assortment of retired jazz singers sharing the small stage that’s just an ice cube’s throw from the plush seating. Strong cocktails and the ghost of Sinatra are in the mix any night of the week. If you see owner Angelo, be sure to buy him a drink, OK?
Koz’s Mini Bowl
There are really two words that make this bar and bowling alley one of the shiniest jewels in Milwaukee’s crown of weirdness: Human pinsetters. Also, if you are ever going to have a chance to break 200, these small duckpin lanes might be your only chance. Just be sure to call ahead before stopping by Koz's with your bowling shirt on because pinsetters don't just crawl out of the woodwork. They have to be phoned by the owner to see if they're done with their homework and able to work for a few hours.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Oct. 1, 2014
In 1937, Alfred Woelbing began making Carmex by hand, pouring the lip balm into the familiar yellow-capped jars in his Milwaukee kitchen. Today the company is based in Franklin and owned by Woelbing's grandson who says, despite rumors, the product is not addictive.
Published Oct. 1, 2014
Here is a list of items I've eaten that were not food.
Published Sept. 30, 2014
The BMO Harris Bradley Center reopened Turner Hall Restaurant in 2012 and it closed to the public this summer. Now, new food and tavern licenses have been applied for.
Published Sept. 28, 2014
It's possible that Sharon McGuire was the first female garbage collector in the city of Milwaukee, but she was definitely one of the very first few.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
Malört, a 70-proof, wormwood-flavored alcohol, has been described as having notes of gasoline, poison, earwax, rotten grapefruit and decaying flesh. Some say the aftertaste is more repulsive than the initial flavor. But not everyone hates the stuff.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
Becky and Scott Berger opened frozen custard shop Yo Mama! in Wauwatosa during the summer of 2011. In June 2014, the Bergers - along with Peg Zanella - opened The Party Room, 7505 Harwood Ave., in the space that was formerly B Green.
Published Sept. 25, 2014
Dennis Erb has always been fascinated by fierce weather conditions, so when he opened his Cudahy-based brew pub he named it Tornado Brewing Co., 3506 E. Layton Ave.
Published Sept. 24, 2014
On Friday, Sept. 26 there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Café India Bar and Grill at 2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
10 years in the making, "Hamlet ADD" will debut at the Milwaukee Film Festival. The feature-length film - created by Milwaukee's Andrew Swant and Bobby Ciraldo of "What What (In the Butt)" fame - includes many Milwaukee locations and people, including Mark Borchardt from "American Movie," Dustin "Screech" Diamond and Mark Metcalf from "Seinfeld."
Published Sept. 21, 2014
The ditching of commercial shampoo has become popular enough to gain the moniker "no poo." Could you do it? We found Milwaukeeans who did and and others who simply cannot.