By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Dec 17, 2022 at 1:31 PM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MillerCoors

The Cellar is about to celebrate its 160th birthday after serving as a fixture in Oak Creek since the town was named “Oakwood.” From the very beginning, Christmas has been a time to celebrate and decorate the massive, 1863-built building, and more recently, its patio and adjacent pavilion.

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“We decorate all parts of the property,” says Shirley Nelson, who bought the business with her husband, Bill, in 1999.  “It takes us at least a week from start to finish. We start right after Thanksgiving and we add new decorations every year."

the cellar holidayX
the cellar holidayX

The traditional-style adornments start at the bar when you walk in the door and continue throughout. Highlights include the tinsel-wrapped 1972 Harley Davidson Aermacchi (restored by Bill) and the scenic nature setting next to the patio featuring a lit tree and shimmering waterfall. The newly-installed, year-round pavilion has a warming and eye-catching fire tower along with a mix of new and vintage decorations.

the cellar holidayX
the cellar holidayX
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“We love to decorate for every holiday and our employees love to help us decorate. We usually make an event out of it and offer food and beverages while they help us decorate," says Shirley.

Aside from the tasteful holiday decor, we were most struck by the dozens of football helmets hanging from the bar – not just Packers and Badgers. Framed jerseys representing a variety of professional teams are also affixed to the ceiling.

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“We're just a big fan of sports in general,” says co-owner Bill. “Everyone is welcome.”

Perhaps it is this inclusive attitude toward all the teams that makes The Cellar radiate an abundance of holiday spirit that goes beyond the decorations. During our visit, employees and patrons at the bar were quick to chat and make eye contact.

The Cellar is known for its made-from-scratch pizzas, but also offers burgers, wraps, salads, kids’ plates and “daily dinners” like shrimp scampi, ribeye steaks, chicken Parmesan and a Friday fish fry with thinly-battered cod that comes classic- or Cajun-style.

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On New Year's Eve, the menu will feature special steak and seafood options. Make a reservation here. The Cellar is open everyday through the holidays with the exception of Christmas Eve.

"We open on Christmas only if an employee would like to work. We don't 'make' anyone work on these holidays," says Shirley. "We are like a family here."

And yet another example of The Cellar's true holiday spirit. 

Learn more about The Cellar's history here.

cellar holiday

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.