When we think of theme bars, we think of karaoke joints, tiki huts and biker bars. But just as Milwaukee institutions like At Random, Art Bar and The Foundation have come to show, when a bar gets a theme right, it is oh, so very right.
Hosed on Brady, a firefighter inspired bar located at 1689 N. Franklin Pl., is the latest to gather memorabilia and pull in the real deal in the hopes of joining ranks with some of Milwaukee's favorites.
So, how do owner Donna Olson and her bartending crew expect to do it?
Well, it helps when you're located directly next to the Milwaukee Fire Department's Engine Company Six station and draw local firefighters to frequent the bar after a long shift. Add in dozens of artifacts from stations all over the area and it starts to make sense.
"We wanted to make a nice place for the fighters to be at home. I've lived in this neighborhood for 25 years. Besides being my neighbors, they really are my friends," Olson says.
Hosed on Brady, formerly Franklin Place, opened mid September to call firefighters and customers to its door.
"We've had firefighters from all over come. Not just Milwaukee, but Racine, Kenosha, Cedarburg and Ozaukee; they come down to see the bar," Olson says.
In addition to fire station signs, firefighter equipment and uniforms, Hosed on Brady flashes red siren lights and pours out free shots every time the crew next door heads out on a run.
"The shots are a toast to the firefighters' safe return," Olson says.
From top to bottom, Olson and her team renovated and restored the home-style bar. The newly lit sign, viewable from Brady Street, beckons bar-goers to step inside and see the difference.
"There isn't a surface in this place that we didn't somehow replace, paint or clean. We really wanted people to have a fresh take when they came in here," Olson says.
The set up is classic with a long bar, small tables lining the perimeter, a pool table and several flat screen televisions for adequate viewing from every seat. You won't find a fancy cocktail menu but Hosed taps several beers, offers a full liquor selection and even stocks small bags of chips on a metal stand.
"We don't serve food, other than popcorn and peanuts, but we have menus for all the neighborhood establishments. We invite customers to have food delivered. We want to keep the community strong and expose other places in the area," Olson says.
Olson's determination to give Hosed on Brady a sense of community is seen in her product choice and bar décor. Serving Hook and Ladder beer on tap, a portion of every beer sold is donated to firefighter burn treatment and care. Likewise, the bar rail is lined with a firehose signed by firefighters from throughout the area.
"Each station has brought something different to donate -- the poll, shields, jackets, air tanks. Engine Six is particularly focused on the neighborhood. They're very, very receptive to their neighbors and make it so easy to be a family member indirectly," Olson says.
Join Hosed on Brady Monday, Nov. 16 in raising funds for Feeding America with celebrity bartender and Milwaukee Admirals player Nolan Yonkman.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.
After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined OnMilwaukee.com as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.
Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.