I first noticed that Milwaukee had "S" fetish as soon as I moved back to Brew City more than 10 years ago. I heard it rear its ugly head when a coworker suggested we meet up at BBC's.
At first, I let it roll, thinking she might've misspoke. Surely, she didn't think that BBC, which stands for Bradford Beach Club, was a possessive acronym. In other words, the name wasn't "Mr. BBC's Bar and Grille."
Except, I heard it time and time again.
"Are you going to Nomad's?"
"No, I was thinking about Von Trier's."
"Maybe we should eat first at The Trocadero's ."
Yes, those are three real examples. There are so many more, and it doesn't stop just at bars. Just ask the owners of Lela boutique how many times people refer to their store as "Lela's." Or talk to the people who answer the phone at Fazio car repair place (they'll say "Fazio's").
Sure, many restaurants and bars are actually possessive, like "Vitucci's" or "Mimma's" or "Coerper's." But think about every time you've heard someone say, "Buckhead's" or "Lulu's" or "Bar Louie's" or "Libiamo's."
As if Mr. Buckhead would like to welcome you to his saloon.
OK, maybe I'm picking on Milwaukee too much. Maybe people do this around the country, too -- though having lived in a few other cities, I can say I certainly don't recall it.
I put the question out to a few friends from out of town.
My sister, who lives in New York, says she doesn't hear it. Nor does my friend, Heidi, in Providence.
But my friend Paul in Washington, D.C. says he hears it all the time. The Madhatter on M St. is called Madhatter's, he says.
And finally, my friend Oscar in Chicago, says he's not aware of the egregious possessive-fying of bar names in Illinois, but he admits that he actually finds himself dropping the "S" bomb -- but only because he's spent so many weekends in Milwaukee at Nomad's, Palomino's and BBC's.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.