Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Conversation 19 January 2015

Just a quick note.

Phone meeting number one with what would be my number one choice for the person to really spear-head this project.

Large amount of agreement on what we want this place to look like. A couple of very good ideas as far as location, personnel, menu, vision, mission, etc.

Has a decent amount of non-profit experience and really brings a large, extremely useful network to the table (both local/national).

Very excited. Moving foward to connect with Oregon Public House group. Including myself would now have 3 of the 4 board members accounted for.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


For all of you that are planning on attending the Hoverson/Presser reception festivity memorial day weekend extravaganza bash, I wanted to make sure that there was an ample list of "things-to-do" for those who have never experience the amazingness that is Milwaukee. Some of you are veterans of the city, some of you novices. Either way, I am hoping that this helps all of you.
Milwaukee City Flag - Voted the 4th Worst Flag in 2004 by American City Flags Survey
    Frank's Diner
  • Frank’s Diner – Out of the way, down in Kenosha, but it is well worth it. The best breakfast of all-time and certainly one of the best atmospheres. Make sure to call for reservations if you have a group of five or more.

Trocadero – They have chicken and waffles for brunch. 

County Clare
County Clare – Outstanding Irish pub in my neighborhood. Connected to a bed and breakfast. I would highly recommend the reuben and the root soup. They also have the best Guinness pour in Wisconsin.


  • Solly's Grille – Been open for 77 years with their specialty “butter burger”. A Milwaukee classic. 

  • Sobelman's – My personal favorite burgers in Milwaukee, and if you like bloody Marys, you are going to definitely like Sobelmans. There are two locations, both basically the same.

  • Safe House – A spy themed restaurant! Find the entrance in a downtown alleyway. You need a password to get in, and make sure to pay attention to all the secret passage ways. The food and drink isn’t too bad either.

  • Mader's – The best German food you will find anywhere except maybe Germany. Get the giant pretzel, get German beer.


  • Karl Ratzsch's – The second best German food, which is better than a lot of food.

  • Umami Moto and Sake Tumi – Very close to each other geographically and menu. Both are Asian cuisine, Umami Moto being more Asian fusion, Sake Tumi being Japanese and Korean styled.

  • Café Benelux – Near the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward. Benelux is Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg and they have a great beer selection and food. They also have a very nice outdoor area weather permitting.

  • Milwaukee Ale House – Great drinks and fantastic food, located in the Third Ward. It is situated on the river walk and has a wonderful patio/deck dining area.
Milwaukee Ale House

  • Dick’s Pleasure and Pizza – Unique place with alcoholic milkshakes, pizza by the slice, and a very trippy, high traffic upstairs club.
    Dick's Pleasure and Pizza

  • Wicked Hop - This might be the best designed bar I have ever seen. Great food and drinks, right next to the Milwaukee Public Market in the Third Ward. Amazing bloody Marys.
Wicked Hop


    Things to see
    • Milwaukee Art Museum
      Milwaukee Art Museum – World class architecture and a fantastic collection.
    • Harley Davidson Museum and Motor Lounge – The museum is very cool, and the lounge has great food and drinks as well as shuffleboard!
    • Milwaukee Brewers (Out of town until Monday) – Stadium is gorgeous and everyone should see a sausage race in their life. Plus Hank the dog is the new local hero.
    • Milwaukee Public Museum – Lots of good stuff, natural history museum.
    • Discovery World – More interactive than the Public Museum. A lot of great science and nature exhibits.
    • Brewery tours – Miller, Sprecher, and Lakefront are the best ones. Sprecher is probably better known for its root beer and soda flavors which are unlimited on the tour!
    • Mitchell Park Domes
      The Mitchell Park Conservatory (The Domes)– Botanical Gardens and on weekends a very nice farmers market.
    • Pabst Mansion – Gorgeous mansion tour of the late, great Pabst. Blue Ribbon!
    • Riverwalk – Not a lot to see, but the best way to get around the city on foot. There are a fair amount of bar and restaurants built on the river walk. And don't forget to find the bronze Fonz.
    • Koz’s mini-bowling – Mini bowling at a bar!
    • Milwaukee County Zoo – The Milwaukee zoo is very good. Take the train, it is delightful.
    • Potawatomi Casino – Close to downtown. Very close to Sobelman's and Mitchell Park Conservatory.
    • Beach - Bradford Beach is the one to go to if the weather is nice. There are plenty of running and bike trails in the city. 

    Colectivo - There are a number of these as well as Alterra coffee roasters around the Milwaukee area. Milwaukee does have have great coffee scene and this Colectivo is located right near the lake. Great for breakfast or brunch.
    Rochambo - Great coffee place on Brady St. Definitely a little hipsterish, but they make alcoholic coffee and latte style drinks.

    Pabst Theatre, Turner Ballroom, Shank Hall, The Rave

    Hotels options (other than the designated block)

    Arranged most expensive to least:

    The Iron Horse - Valet $30/day
    The Pfister Hotel - Self Parking $25/day, Valet $30/day
    Hotel Metro Milwaukee - Valet Parking $27/day
    Hampton Inn and Suites Milwaukee Downtown - Self $12/day, Valet $26/day
    Courtyard Milwaukee Downtown - Self $18/day, Valet $23/day

    Check out this Link for similar and other ideas!

    If you have questions about Hotels email or Facebook me!

    Friday, January 31, 2014

    Bars I Like - Pittsburgh, PA

    I spent two years living in Pittsburgh while I attended the University of Pittsburgh for my MS degree at the Graduate School of Public Health. Coming from Fargo, ND it was a large transition but I was excited about it and met a lot of great people in the process.

    Being a poor graduate student (and without a car) I chose to live near Pitt's main campus. The lab I was working in was located in the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside.
    Hillman Cancer Center UPMC - Credit TheZachMorrisExperience - 09.22.2008

    Since I didn't have a car and about 95% of my time would be spent in Oakland and Shadyside, I lived very close to the Hillman...very I counted the steps one day from my bed in my apartment to my desk in the lab and it was less than 400.

    Therefore, the bars I am going to list are all fairly close to each other geographically. I am certain however, that if these bars were spread out anywhere, I would still love them.

    Silky's Pub
    Silky's Pub - I love this bar. Right down the street from where I lived and worked in Pittsburgh, THIS is a neighborhood bar. Good drinks, good food, shuffleboard (what else could you possibly want?) But the list goes on. A unique location in the Bloomfield burough of Pittsburgh, a unique interior/exterior, and very close to the best 24 hour diner in Pittsburgh.

    Sharp Edge Beer Emporium
    Sharp Edge Beer Emporium - Located in Friendship, right on the East Liberty border, this bar was a little farther walk. However, this is the bar where my love of beer was founded. The variety is extensive. The food was great, the beer was great, the sports scene was great. There wasn't anything special about the layout. I remember the bar being a little on the small side and they had split the seating area into multiple rooms. This is where my unofficial going away party was held and whenever I get back to Pittsburgh, this is one of the first places I stop.

    Hemingway's Cafe
    Hemingway's Café - The best college bar in Pittsburgh, and one of the top in the country. Dollar drafts of Yuengling and Pitt co-eds. What more do you need to know?
    BrilloBox - The BrilloBox was hipster before hipster was cool (I don't even think that makes sense). Located in a great old part of Pittsburgh, the Box always had great indie bands, and a pretty unique crowd. There is a regular there (and man I hope he is still there) that I personally will never forget, he was there all night every night, it was amazing. He may have lived there. The Box will probably be most recognized by fans of "She's Out of My League".

    Fuel and Fuddle
    Fuel and Fuddle - Fuel and Fuddle was nothing special except that it has good food and good beer close to campus. Often times when students would come interview at Pitt, this is where we would take them. That being said, there were a lot of really good times here, and I met a lot of really great people in this bar. This also was the source of one of the best grades I got on an Immunology exam. We had studied really well over the whole weekend, I believe the test was Tuesday morning. The Steelers had a big Monday Night Football game and a group of us went out to reward ourselves. I think it was just what I needed, a little R&R before the test. Also...great sweet potato fries.

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

    Bars I Like - North Chicago, IL

    I spent five years of my life living in North Chicago (which is the name of an actual suburb, not just northern Chicago city). Numerous students (especially foreign) were tricked into thinking they would be living in the northern area of the city of Chicago, not in a completely separate suburb 30 miles north of downtown.

    North Chicago the suburb is a wasteland consisting of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a U.S. Navy Base and associated military base things (commissary, exchange, housing, administrative buildings, etc.). There are very few quality restaurants or bars nearby. Directly south is Lake Forest (which has one of the only Ferrari dealerships in IL, and has a median family income of $200,000+). Directly north is Waukegan which the majority of the population is minority, and the median family income is $47,000). Based on the demographics of its neighbors, North Chicago is a weird place.

    The best place to go then is a little further away. Libertyville, and Highwood were my personal favorites in the time I was there. Libertyville is a little slice of Americana. The main stretch of shops, bars, and restaurants is historic, classy, and has nice variety.

    Firkin - Libertyville, IL
    Firkin - With what I would consider the best beer menu and best food in the area, Firkin is a high quality bar. Very average size, but they were smart enough in the cold Chicago winters to make people go through their back alley to keep drinkers and diners comfortable and away from any drafty entry way. They have vinyl Monday's and a lot of other great events.

    Firkin is also interesting to me because it seems like the best informal meeting bar in an area where there is a lot of business being done. Headquarters in the area include Solo Cup Company, Pactiv, CDW, Grainger, Brunswick, Abbott, Baxter, Hospira, and Takeda to name a few. Firkin was a good place to be seen and to talk to locals.

    Mickey Finn's Brewery - Libertyville, IL
    Mickey Finn's Brewery - Just across the street from Firkin is a solid bar. Not quite a great sports bar, not quite a great microbrewery, not quite a great venue for music, but above average in all three.  It has a great patio, and often throws block parties in the summer behind the bar. The menu is great, with all the usual bar food, but large, above average quality of each. Apparently it is moving as construction has begun on their new bar (just across the street, down a little ways).

    I love this bar. It is sort of my default bar whenever I can't or don't feel like making a decision. I know if I go here I won't be disappointed and will probably have a great beer, a good meal, and feel very comfortable whether at the bar, or out on the patio. Plus like any good brewer, I enjoy looking at the brewing room.

    Chief's Pub - Lake Forest, IL
    Chief's Pub - I love the bar at this bar. Chief's is very unpretentious, with a good menu and good beer. They have a very friendly (usually very attractive) staff, and keep their prices reasonable, especially for Lake Forest. There is nothing really special about this bar (except the bar itself which is huge and beautiful). Great for watching a game, an after work drink, or anytime.

    Bridie McKenna's - Highwood, IL
    Bridie McKenna's - A definitive Irish Pub, they have a great beer selection and the best of the best Irish dinners. The bar is clean and very pretty. Not especially ornate, but a lot of dark wood and brass as well as hardwood floors, a nice fire place, and an interesting flow of patrons. The bar is close enough to Lake Forest College that it attracts college kids, which adds to the atmosphere, especially on the weekends.

    Bridie McKenna's is one of my favorite places to go in the fall and winter when it's necessary to have a great dark beer and some Beef and Guinness Stew.

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    Saturday, January 11, 2014

    What's In a Name?

    Obviously, one of the most important aspects of of starting any business is the name, and branding of your business. Personally, I think this is even more important in the service industry. Bars and restaurants are known by their name and a lot of feelings can come with the mention of a name (good or bad).

    With that being said, a couple of ideas have been floated over the course of our bar planning that I particularly like.

    1. Lance's - This is an obvious choice. However, what I would like to do is make the logo into two crossed lances and have it be a what I think is a rather cool visual play on words (which may or may not be a oxymoron). 
    2. Juanita's Last Resort - This is a long running name, probably the first name that we came up with way back in college. Outdated, and doesn't really mean anything anymore, I add it to the list just for posterity.
    3. Far-Going's - Again, I like this is a play on words. It would be a very nice name for branding purposes, and I think would convey a nice positive message which is perfect for a non-profit bar.
    4. Fargo Public House - The best part about this name is the tradition and history that it conveys. Public Houses were places people could go, get a beer, converse, debate, and were important centers of ideas. Unfortunately, this name isn't so original and there are many (insert city/state name here) Public Houses, and the first successful non-profit bar is the Oregon Public House.
    5. Sanctuary - Again, not necessarily an original name, (there is a great one in Iowa City, IA) but for a non-profit pub, I think it conveys the proper message and just has a really nice connotation. 
    6. Fellowship Pub - Relatively original name, and again proper messaging and branding. 
    So my hope is that when the time comes, one of these works well and people gravitate and appreciate the name.

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    Saturday, December 28, 2013

    Bars I Like - Fargo, ND

    Since I have been thinking about starting a bar, obviously I have been in a few of them over the years.

    Below is a list of some of the bars I have liked in Fargo, ND. It is by no means extensive, and as this blog continues, I will periodically add to this list.

    Fargo, ND

    Duffy's Tavern - Fargo, ND
    Duffy's Tavern - Duffy's was the first bar where I felt like a regular. Unfortunately, I did not do my 21st birthday here, but we found it soon after and never looked back. White Russians were $3.25, PBR pounders were $2, and they had the best jukebox in town by a mile (CCR, James Brown, Dr. Hook, etc.). This small box with no windows was designed like a drinking fortress.  The front double doors are a trap (rookie door!) and when you walk in, you immediately hit the bar of regulars.  However, if you are brave (and lucky) enough the back booth is open.  The only food available is frozen pizza, but they do have off sale.

    The Bison Turf - Fargo, ND
    The Bison Turf - The Turf is the epitome of a college bar. Located across University Avenue from North Dakota State University, it was the closest bar to a campus of 15,000 thirsty binge drinking North Dakotan's. The menu was deep fried and greasy (the turf burger and seasoned fries are a must), and their mug night/pitcher night specials on drinks resulted in a lot of craziness and bad (good?) choices. A classic college bar in what is quickly becoming an amazing college town.

    Rooters - Fargo, ND
    Rooters - Rooters wasn't a place that we frequented all that often, however when we went downtown, it was usually a first or last stop kind of bar. Great drinks, and usually a very lively crowd. The picture above is only one half of the total. The bar is split into two halves with a ton of bar space. I always loved this bar for its simplicity and lack of pretense.

    Hotel Donaldson - Fargo, ND
    Hotel Donaldson - The Hotel Donaldson is obviously more than just a bar. It is also a magnificent hotel and restaurant. I won't waste time discussing them anymore than to say if you get a chance, a stay and a meal are a must. There are two lounge areas. One in the front looking out onto Broadway Avenue, which is the main downtown area of Fargo, and the other, the Sky Prairie which is their rooftop lounge, that during the summer gives a remarkable 360 degree view of the Fargo-Moorhead area. The HoDo as it is affectionately referred to is the cornerstone of the downtown scene.  Classy, and overflowing with quality and goodness.

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    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    Welcome to Our Bar

    Downtown Fargo, ND
    For the longest time (roughly 10 years) I have thought about owning a bar.  I think this is a common dream for a lot of college guys with a large group of friends, who think it would be cool to have a "place of their own".  Fargo had a pretty great bar scene, as has Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago and some of the other places we have lived in.

    As we went through college, and after when a few of us moved to different cities and states, we kept notes periodically of bars we liked, layouts, what worked, what didn't, names, etc. until we had a very large word document full of random ideas for our bar.

    Originally, many of us gravitated toward a business-casual sports bar/club, but during a brainstorming session around a pool in Las Vegas, after a late night bachelor party, the idea of how to be unique came up, and the light bulb went on...a non-profit bar, where net profit would go to local charities.

    Naturally, like all good ideas, someone has already done it.  So to the internet I turned searching for a non-profit bar, and sure enough, I found the Oregon Public House in Portland, OR.  They weren't open yet, and they were going to be the first one in the world.  I got excited.  Even though we weren't first, we were pretty damn close.

    Oregon Public House - Portland, OR

    This blog is intended to detail the process of how we plan on starting up our own non-profit bar, following the Oregon Public House "model".  We might succeed, we might fail, but it will all be detailed here.

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