My MKE Staycation: Bowling, Books & Booze

The perfect Milwaukee mix of edification and inebriation.

My MKE Staycation is an ongoing series on We ask writers and contributors to describe their ideal day off in Milwaukee. Catch up on the entire series here.

When I was asked to dream up the perfect staycation in this, our fair city, I just had to think back to what I do most Saturdays. Which is: live it up until the Monday morning sunrise smacks me back to reality. Just the way I like it.

11 a.m.

A buzzing alarm clock makes my heavy eyelids swing open like a bear trap in reverse. Oh boy, it’s a hangover. You see my perfect day off starts the night before. Knowing I have zero responsibilities on a given day means dancing and drinks the night before. In this particular scenario, the slight pounding in my head was the result of several cans of cool frosty PBR at The Nomad. This is the perfect place to grab a cold one with fun and friendly people all around. What’s even better than their beer selection is whoever the wizard is who selects their music. Astounding. As I sashay into the bathroom to assess the damage, the ringing of a particular Ja Rule song is still in my head from last night’s festivities. I shower and am soon ready for the day.

12 p.m.

Now fresh to death and in desperate need of food, I wander on down from my 3rd floor apartment to the Bubblr Bikes Station on Oakland Ave. I am not an avid biker, nor am I into working out on my day off. No, this bike-ride is entirely due to my impatient need to get to where I need to be. Which is The Wicked Hop. I order the foot-long grilled cheese for my body, and the Bloody Mary for my soul. The sandwich is served warm and gooey, and although some suggest a side, I just can’t today. My bloody is even better, crowned with everything one could imagine. Instagram-worthy for sure. I sip my drink slowly after pounding my sandwich in four seconds flat all while seated outside, watching the regular people milling about.


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2 p.m.

After a quick clean-up, I decide to spend the afternoon at the Special Collections at the UWM Golda Meir Library. I am after the vast number of Artist Books they house. I Uber on up to the East Side, and within no time I am on the 4th floor, ready to peruse everything from Civil War regiment histories to collections on dog breeding. And seeing as my cash is on the lighter side after the night before, the fact that this is free and open to the public is all the sweeter. I ponder the processes of handmade paper, typographic experimentation and the meaning of life all in an afternoon.

5 p.m.

Now happily paper-cut from all the page turning I’ve done, I’m ready for the next stop. A leisurely walk down to the Water Tower would be nice. It does have one of the best views in the city, and the romance of that tree-lined route, past an array of historic homes, almost inspires the screenwriter in me to resurrect the Mathew McConaughey chick flick.

Alas, I’ve decided I’d rather hang out in a basement. Landmark Lanes is my next stop with some friends. I bowl for hours. Strike after Strike I bring the house down. My pals are so impressed. Something about sipping throwback beer from a pitcher and wearing communal shoes makes me think of home.


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9 p.m.

Having really worked up a sweat throwing them boulders around all evening, I am ready for some food again. Hoping on over to Fresh Fin Poké is a must, due both to its proximity and to my chopsticks prowess. I have always wanted to try the curry coconut shrimp but, like as usual, when it is my turn to order, I instead gravitate toward the Spicy Tuna. To keep it honest I do half greens and half brown rice, add avocado. It is as magnificent as always. If you are lucky enough, they sometimes put out cucumber water FOR FREE. (It is not to be missed.)

I am nearly finished with my food when my comrades begin murmuring about keeping the night alive. “To Brady!” someone shouts. Freshfin’s disposable food containers make walking and eating a cinch.

10 p.m.

I am back at The Nomad, but with work looming in the morning it will have to be a short stay. I promise myself only one PBR and to walk home as soon as I hear a song I don’t like.

2:37 a.m.

I stumble home.