By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 11, 2024 at 6:13 PM

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Dana’s Fieldhouse, 5004 W. Vliet St., opened in the Washington Heights neighborhood in 1982.

“It was a great year for baseball,” says owner Dana Blodgett. “I can still see Charlie Moore throwing out (Reggie) Jackson at third base from right field.”


Although primarily a baseball, football and golf fan, Blodgett says his bar enjoys all sports. This is reflected on the TV screens, airing a Brewers baseball game when we stopped by on a weekday afternoon, along with framed photos of athletes and team memorabilia on the walls. We especially liked the portrait of the racing sausages.


But Blodgett says the decor isn’t what’s important to him.

“I focus on the people in the bar, and we have some of the best,” he says.


Thomas Zidek has been a bartender at Dana’s for six years and agrees that the customers – and Blodgett himself – is the reason he enjoys working. “I especially like that I can kick anyone out at any time,” he jokes.

Dana’s is a dog friendly, beer-and-a-shot tavern with a lot of regulars, but also a lot of new traffic on the weekends and around sporting events. “Our customers range in age from 25 to 65 and they come from all different neighborhoods including the East Side and Bay View,” says Blodgett.

Bar dice is popular at Dana’s. The bar offers the fairly common “shake-of-the-day” game – which has the potential for a lucrative win – and a signature game that is only played on Mondays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This game uses one die and if the player rolls a one, they get a drink for a dollar; a two gets them half off; three, four and five is nothing and if they roll a six they get to roll again.


Years ago, Blodgett made sandwiches to order, but these days, only serves Luigi’s frozen pizza and occasionally other easy-to-prepare foods like chicken bites and garlic bread. 

Blodgett is only the fourth owner of the bar, which started out as a tavern in the late 1940s. Prior to owning Dana's, he worked at longtime Wauwatosa bar and restaurant, Pep’s (now Colonel Hart’s). The owner, Tom “Pep” Palmer purchased the building that would later become Dana’s in February of 1982 with the intention of selling it to Blodgett after showing him the ropes of bar ownership.

“He taught me a lot. He told me the bar business is a good business – as long as the bar is run like a business, not a rec room,” he says.

In 2010, after the smoking ban went into affect, Blodgett hired a few men to build an enclosed structure on their patio with chairs and televisions. The customers refer to it as “Barney’s Barn” because one of its builders was a neighborhood handyman named Barney who passed away from cancer before the job was completed.


Dana’s gives back to the community by sponsoring local sports teams, organizing charity golf outings and collecting turkeys at Thanksgiving for people who are food insecure. “We do what we can,” says Zidek.

Dana’s Fieldhouse is open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to close; Friday and Saturday from noon to close and Sunday from 11 a.m. to close.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.