Connie and I stopped by Drinking Liberally Waukesha last night for the first time. I left feeling disappointed.
When I and some friends started the Milwaukee chapter of Drinking Liberally back in August of 2005, I believed we were doing something one-of-a-kind in the area. It was a place you could go to talk about political issues with your fellow Milwaukeeans. When candidates expressed interest in dropping by we told them very clearly that we were not providing a speech opportunity. They were more than welcome to drop in, have a beer, chat up our membership and shake some hands–but that’s it. No stump speeches. No agendas. Just everyday people talking about what matters to them. And maybe some chicken wings.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into the new Waukesha DL meeting to find a seated audience of about 50 listening to a political candidate at a podium with a microphone. He was charismatic. People clapped. I stood in the back for about a half an hour and then left. No one spoke to me, and I had no opportunity to speak to anyone else.
Maybe this is the kind of thing progressives need right now in America, in Wisconsin. Maybe a highly organized, get-out-the-vote candidate platform is worth a hundred beer-spilling meetups in terms of political results. But even if that’s true, I can’t help but feel that something unique has been lost. If I want to know what a candidate thinks I’ll turn on the television. If I want to know what my neighbors think, I’ll… what? Guess?
Anyway, sorry for all the “get off my lawn” crap. Likely Connie and I will return to DL: Waukesha at some point. I’m sure they must talk to each other sometimes.
So I’ve been thinking about moving. Not next month or anything, but like in a year. Where to? East.
It’s not hard to figure. I live in Waukesha and I work in Milwaukee. Google says it’s a 24 minute commute. If only it were so. Depending on when I leave for work it could easily be 45 minutes. And if there’s bad weather or accidents, who knows.
I’ve been doing this commute for eleven years. I’m tired of it. To say nothing of the fuel costs and environmental impact.
But there’s more. I’m tired of living in a “bedroom community”; one in which all you do there is make your home. If you want to go out to eat, drink, shop or be entertained you’re off to some other place–in the car, of course. I’ve been pining for a walkable neighborhood. One in which I could go out of my front door and find most or all of those things within a comfortable walk.
And I’d like to be able to bike or bus to work. Walking would be even better.
All of this has obvious health benefits, too.
So why now? Because my youngest is going to be starting his last year of high school this fall. After that, he’ll likely be off to college and I no longer have to worry that my moving will cause him to disrupt his ability to get to school or hang out with his friends. At that point, I’ll have little reason to stay here and I can pursue my dream of living closer to work and in a walk-friendly neighborhood. My car will stay in the garage much of of the time, I hope.
So. Suggestions? Neighborhoods you like? Keep in mind I’ll be renting instead of buying.
A couple of weeks ago I heard about a new blog, EatWaukesha. Since I’m really excited about Waukesha’s growing number of terrific bars and restaurants, I asked to be a part of it. Which is why you’ll find my just-previous blog post about bagels cross-posted there.
I feel bad that my first contribution is one of complaint, though. Next time maybe it’ll be a review of one of my favorite downtown establishments.
In any case, locals will definitely want to bookmark EatWaukesha and follow it on Twitter, too.
Now I’m hungry. What are you guys doing for dinner later?
“Now is the time for you to rise and bring your squirrel…to the bagel shop.” – Foamy
It’s the weekend. You wake up in the morning, look around at the fam and ask “you guys hungry?” They are. Nobody seems to feel like cooking, though. Besides, the fridge is looking a little bare, as your weekly grocery shopping trip is scheduled for later that same afternoon. That’s when it hits you: I’ll run out for a dozen bagels! You throw on a baseball cap to hide your bedhead and hop in the car. Your local bagel establishment is only minutes away and satisfaction will soon be yours.
That is, unless you live in Waukesha. There’s no bagel shops.
It’s true that bagels can be found at any grocery store. But those aren’t the fresh, chewy, often still-warm bagels that you get at a shop which specializes in them. And even though the local cafe might have one or two sitting in their bakery case, it’s not the same and you know it.
Since the closing of Big Apple Bagels on Sunset Drive, what we have here my fellow Waukeshonians is a bagel gap. Brookfield, New Berlin, Hales Corners and Wauwatosa all have bagel shops–sometimes more than one–and Milwaukee itself is simply stupid with them. Even Oconomowoc has a Brueger’s. It’s embarrassing.
You’d think that with all the wonderful eating opportunities brought about by the recent downtown renaissance you’d be able to get a dozen fresh-baked bagels on a Saturday morning. But no.
What’s up with that?
Where have I been? There’s good pizza to be had in my home town–besides Michael’s, Matteo’s and Mia’s, that is–and I just heard about it a few weeks ago. Even more embarrassing, it’s right down town near House of Guinness and I’ve probably walked by it dozens of times.
Magellan’s bar is a little on the rustic side compared to, say, Neighbor’s and some of my other favorite downtown hang-outs. But the pizza is definitely worth going in for. A good strategy is one that we sometimes use for Chinese takeout at Golden Gate: go there in person, place your order and wait for it at the bar while you enjoy the beverage of your choice. By the time you’re draining that Spotted Cow your pizza will be ready to take home.
The bill will be quite reasonable, too. Last time we went there using this strategy we paid something like $15. That’s for two tap beers and a large pizza. Can you beat that? I think not.
What am I doing for New Year’s Eve? Staying in downtown Waukesha, that’s what. And why not? Every time I turn around there’s another fabulous new place opening up down there. Just last night Karen and I visited two of them: Taylor’s People Park and Generations At 5 Points.
Taylor’s is a small but classy sister bar to the Taylor’s you know next to Cathedral Square park in Milwaukee. Generations, on the other hand, is more of a restaurant. The menu looks terrific and the bar is well stocked.
Neighbor’s, Nice Ash, House of Guinness, Sprizzo, The Black Trumpet–and now Taylor’s and Generations. Welcome to the neighborhood, folks. See you Wednesday night!
…in downtown Waukesha.
The Rochester Deli
The Steaming Cup
Neighbor’s Social Club
Nice Ash Cigar Bar
The Black Trumpet
And, hey, if any of the non-websited above wish to have a web site on the cheap, gimme a call. I love you guys and I’d be glad to help.
Check this out. A few days ago I got a strange comment on my blog. The content of which had nothing to do with the subject of my post. It was simply promoting an organization which had nothing to do with me or my blog entry. Spam, right? Right.
But here’s where it gets weird. The spam comment was placed there manually, by a local person promoting a local organization–the Waukesha County Museum, of all things. After some thought, however, I decided that even hand-carved, locally produced spam is still spam.
Having nothing against the museum, I have no problem linking to them. Not liking spam, however, compels me to expose this ill-conceived tactic.
The museum should look into establishing it’s own blog. Have a real museum employee write it in his or her own voice. Let people comment. Let the author comment on the blogs of patrons who write about their visits. Let links develop back and forth, organically.
You know what? The Waukesha County Museum is less than a mile from my house, but I’ve never been inside it. I should go–and blog it.
I’ve never been to this get-together, but since it’s less than a mile from my house I think I’ll give it a try.