MKE Underground is a series focusing on the grittier aspects of life in Brew City. In respect to younger readers, OnMilwaukee will publish these sassier stories after 9 p.m.
Most Milwaukkeans have seen or own an "I Closed Wolski’s" bumper sticker, given nightly for free to patrons who stay until bar time. However, the East Side tavern has another tradition that’s almost as old as giving out bumper stickers, but lesser known.
Wolski’s, 1836 N. Pulaski St., gives ladies (or men, if that’s their thing) a pair of "panties" on their birthday.
"We’ve been giving away the bumper stickers for 40 years," says Wolski’s co-owner Dennis Bondar. "And we’ve been giving away the panties for at least 30. I think it was my brother Mike’s idea."
According to co-owner Bernard Bondar, Dennis' and Mike's brother, they offer the underpants to stag or bachelorette parties, too. Customers can also purchase them for $8.
"We like to joke that we’ll give a buck off on a trade in," says Bernard.
The style of complimentary underpants has changed over the years. Currently, the bar offers cotton "boy shorts" that read, like the bumper sticker, "I Closed Wolski’s" and are available in turquoise, raspberry or black.
"The styles come and go. Once we had pairs with Velcro on the sides – easily removable – and other times we’ve gone with lacy or thong. I can’t believe how well I know my panties," says Dennis.
The current style of Wolski’s underwear was requested by female customers.
"We used to have a lot of fancy kinds, but the girls wanted cotton. They are looking for comfort," says Bernard. "But who knows what style we’ll have in the future. Maybe we’ll go back to fancy."
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.