By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Jun 22, 2023 at 11:01 AM

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When Butch Schettle decided to sell his bar and grill, service industry veteran Mary Pakula expressed interest. She’d run her parents' bar, Tap City, in West Allis for 10 years and was looking for a new adventure.

“Butch said to me ‘All it needs is a personality, Mary, and you got that,’” he told her in late 2018.

Thus, Pakula opened Mary’s Caddyshack, 1959 S. 124th St., on Jan. 1, 2019.

The combination of her outgoing personality and years of meeting people through tending and managing a bar brought customers in droves to her new spot.

“People came from all over. Even from up north and Minnesota to support me,” says Pakula. “I am very, very blessed.”

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Pakula, who will soon turn 60, opened the bar at 55 and the same year partnered up with her boyfriend. “He’s a good one. I couldn’t be happier,” she says.

It’s been four years since she opened and these days, Pakula spends less time behind the bar. She does however keep her Tuesday shift so friends from near and far can make a point to visit.

The exterior of Mary’s Caddyshack is welcoming and charming. It’s set back from the road and looks like it could be nestled on a resort. It has a cottage-like look and feel.

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The inside is cozy, too, with a large horseshoe-shaped bar, a smattering of tables, large flatscreen TVs, darts and gambling games. 

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Because it's across the street from a golf course, the bar’s name and some of the decor is “Caddyshack”-themed.

“I’m gonna get Bill Murray in here before he passes,” says Pakula.

Hosting live, local music is important to Pakula so she schedules it just about every evening. Monday is karaoke night; Tuesday features an open mic and “Sunday Fundays” usually feature live music, too.

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During most of the year, there’s a band on Friday and Saturday nights, but in the summer she books fewer musicians because there’s so much going on all over the city.

“When I worked for my dad at Tap City, he always said we couldn’t make money on a live band. So I sold Avon products to afford the permits and pay the bands – that’s how much I wanted live music in my bar,” says Pakula.

Mary’s Caddyshack also has dart leagues on Wednesdays and bingo on Thursdays. During Packers season, the bar has shuttles to Lambeau Field.

Mary’s is mostly a beer-and-shot place, but one of her bartenders, Lydia, is well known for her margarita.

“I have a really great staff. It took a little while to get here, but everyone brings so much personality,” says Pakula, who has the person's name working each shift on a chalkboard under the title, "Star-tender." 

The food menu features simple, quality and well-priced food. Hot dogs and chips are $2.50; Pritzlaff-meat burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are $5.50; Luigi’s Pizzas are $7.50-$8.50.

"I make my own 'Mary-nade' seasoning for my burgers," says Pakula.

We visited during Taco Tuesday and enjoyed three soft tacos for $7.50 (hard shell is also available) loaded with ground beef with all the fixings available at a counter opposite the bar.

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Pakula says bartending is a natural fit for her because she loves people.

“I’ve always been the one to get people together. I’m the glue,” says Pakula. “I enjoy meeting people and asking people about themselves; I’ve become an empath over all these years. I really get people and I love ‘em.”

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Mary’s Caddyshack is open 11 a.m. to close Tuesdays through Sundays and from 2 p.m. to close on Mondays. Follow Mary's on Facebook.

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.