By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 19, 2023 at 8:47 PM

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Because it’s spooky season, it seemed like the perfect time to visit Juice’s Ghost Town in Grafton – and it was. However, it quickly became clear that it was worth a visit during any season, spooky or not.

But let’s get back to the spooky. The name, after all, suggests some sort of supernatural happenings, and when we asked bartender-of-18-years Doug Lasgoeman if the building was haunted, he firmly said, “Yes.”

Considering it was built in 1902 as the Ulao Tavern and Dance Hall, it’s not surprising that a lot has happened in the space and there might be – depending on one's thoughts about this sort of thing – some lingering energy or maybe a friendly spirit or two lurking about after last call.

In 2005, Mike “Juice” Gannon bought the business and he’s simply having fun with the ghost theme. All year ‘round there are ghost decorations and a proudly hung painting of the building – created by an artist in Cedarburg – that discreetly features dozens of hidden ghosts.

juices ghost townX
Juices Ghost TownX

However, truth be told, Juice’s Ghost Bar isn’t scary at all, but it certainly has a lot of character.

“It’s a supper club meets a dive bar,” says Gannon. “And it’s awesome.”

The menu is a mix of classic supper club entrees, from Prime Rib to pork chops to Friday night fish fries. We went on a Tuesday night and it was all-you-can-eat ribs for $25– but it also boasts a strong selection of more-casual eats like sandwiches, wraps, salads and appetizers.

Juices Ghost TownX

Guests are welcome to order food while sitting at the bar Sunday through Thursday (note they are closed Wednesdays), but on Fridays and Saturdays eating takes place in the two dining rooms. There’s also a patio and three-season structure for customers to enjoy when the weather permits.

We bellied up to the bar on a Tuesday night for apps and Millers, but wound up eating and drinking more than planned. Lasgoeman was immediately welcoming and fun to chat with throughout the evening. If we had an empty High Life in front of us, he asked, “Another champagne?” We liked that.

The beer, wine and cocktail menu is solid, with an emphasis on Manhattans, ice cream drinks and Old Fashioneds. The Old Fashioned recipe is Gannon's secret and pre-muddled prior to service because on the weekends they serve 200 or more. Those in the know order their Old Fashioned at Juice’s with brandy (duh), as a "sour" as opposed to a "sweet" and with pickled and marinated sweet-and-savory mushrooms. 

juices ghost townX

At one point, we asked about the ceiling tiles adorned with hundreds of hand-drawn hash marks. Lasgoeman told us it was an ongoing game of dice between Gannon and one of the regulars, Wayne AKA “Wayner” AKA “The (self-appointed) Mayor of Grafton.” 

Gannon corroborated the story in a later interview.

“It’s been going on for about six years. Wayne and I play three games of dice every Saturday. One die. Evens or odds. The loser buys the Jagermeister,” he says.

Apparently, after each dice game, Gannon stands on the bar with a black marker to make a hash tag on the ceiling in favor of the winner.

After a couple of drinks we started with the Bacon Cheddar Cheese Lumps because, well, how could we not? Cheese lumps? It was perhaps the most decadent app we've ever eaten and we had to stop ourselves at two knowing much more food was yet to come.

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The French onion soup was a delight: the broth was salted but not too salty, and the cheese was broiled to perfection.

We also ordered two sandwiches: "The Ever Famous Norb Sandwich" and the Philly cheesesteak. The Norb featured a half-pound of tenderized, pounded and peppery sirloin steak with sauteed onions (mushrooms or cheese are also options). The cheesesteak was a stack of sliced prime rib with green peppers, onions and mozzarella cheese on a crisp French roll. Add a side of fries and tots and we also had lunch the next day.

Juices Ghost TownX
juices ghost town

After dinner, my dinner date and I shared a grasshopper cocktail made with ice cream, creme de menthe and white creme de cacao topped with whipped cream and a cherry. Juice’s also serves a pink squirrel, golden Cadillac and brandy Alexander.

juices ghost town

Overall, the decor at Juice's is warm and cozy, with lots of dark wood, humorous signs (“drinks well with others," “welcome to the nut house”) and glass lamps with cows and Packers logos. There's also an interesting collection of cocktail shakers on display.

Juice's Ghost TownX
Juice's Ghost TownX

Gannon started working years ago as a bartender and beer distributor, but says buying the bar was the best decision of his career.

“It’s cliche, but this really is a 'Cheers' like place. People who didn’t even know each other 18 years ago are now the best of friends,” he says. 

For Juice's Ghost Town's hours go here.

Juice's Ghost Town

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.