In Bars & Clubs

Nicole Goetz serves 'em up behind the Sale Inn's horseshoe-shaped bar.

In Bars & Clubs

Behind the regular-looking facade of this West Allis bar, treasures await you.

In Bars & Clubs

Old Interstate road signs like this one cover some of the ceilings in the Sale Inn.

In Bars & Clubs

Also mixed with the Interstate signs are some horns.

In Bars & Clubs

Eight feet of mouth and teeth are piled up in one corner of the Sale Inn.

Everything for a price at the Sale Inn

Dan Hilety opened the Sale Inn, 5832 W. Lincoln Ave., in 1995 with the idea of filling it with all the collectibles he'd amassed over the years.

"That was before I got divorced," says Hilety. "Everything changes,"

Hilety is a self-described "rummage sale nut." Nicole Goetz, who's tended bar at Sale Inn for five years, jokingly says he's a hoarder.

"Yeah, I had warehouses of stuff," Hilety says.

Many of the items in the bar are for sale, but only for the right price. One of Hilety's favorite pieces is an Early Times advertising reproduction that's mounted on a wall near the bar. Another favorite is behind the bar: a large 1892 engraving of people in a boat on the water.

The ceilings over the pool table and a side room are covered with interstate road signs that Hilety got for the price of scrap aluminum when they were replaced years ago. A classic from I-43 is for the now-defunct Pig and Whistle and he also has signs from I-94 directing motorists to the Gobbler and the Grandview Inn.

Other pieces include a washing machine made in the 1800s, which is in an old phone booth near the pool table, several old school Schlitz ceiling lights, an ice skate signed by Peggy Fleming in 1968 and a massive latch-hook American flag.

There used to be a clown head (presumably not from an actual clown) mounted from the ceiling over the bar, but it garnered the ire of many clown-fearing customers and was recently removed, along with the Christmas decorations. The clown head's hook remains, waiting for Hilety to bring in the next objet d'art.

"Every time you come in here, there's something different," says Goetz, who's a long-time bartender with an accounting degree.

Goetz likes what she calls the nice neighborhood customers at Sale Inn, calling them a "bottled beer and shot" kind of crowd. Sale Inn also has Miller High Life, Lite, Genuine Draft and Budweiser on tap.

The horseshoe-shaped bar has a lot of floorspace toward the front where it curves. At one time this must have seemed like the perfect amount of space for a carved wooden bear statue, but it's now gone.

"That bear got too hard to work around," says Goetz.

Perhaps reminiscent of the clown head that used to hang over the bar, there remains a framed, three-dimensional dead person's face (clearly fake) hanging behind the bar – accompanied by a bone that Hilety tells people is from a dinosaur (he thinks it's actually from a cow).

"My sons and I bought that at Spencer Gifts in Northridge Mall when we were bumming around one day," Hilety says. The nostalgia factor of the face makes it one of the few items Hilety won't sell out of the Sale Inn.

Hilety, who has two sons, worked at Wisconsin Motors for 24 years before opening the bar, which was a barber shop in the '50s. What used to be a phone booth that now houses the washing machine was the entrance to the barber shop before that.

Hilety installed an exposed brick wall when he bought the space and mounted his road signs from the ceiling.

A game of pool is 50 cents at the Sale Inn.

"I was going to raise the price and I even have the new quarter slots for the table, but I never got around to it," says Hilety.

An eight-foot totem-style pole crafted by a local carpenter – for his daughter, who is a dentist – is in a corner of the side room. The pole is eight feet of mouths and teeth, but apparently the dentist had it removed from her office. Maybe a pole of teeth is to a dentist's customers what a clown head suspended above a bar is to drinkers at the Sale Inn.

Hilety's art pieces are outside the bar, too. A concrete dog statue, named Rocky, greets smokers near the back door of the bar. The smoking area is quiet and relatively secluded, tucked up nicely between buildings surrounding the Sale Inn.

"It is really nice out there," says Goetz, "I prefer it to being out front on the sidewalk."


Talkbacks

gregry | Jan. 29, 2012 at 8:23 p.m. (report)

The Washing Machine is actually a WOODEN MAYTAG!!!!! Wringer/Washer . You gotta check out what Wealthy Great Great Grandmas had for high tech laundry appliances

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