A password will be e-mailed to you.

With a new owner behind the dark glasses at this Downtown spy haven, the intrigue continues.

The SafeHouse doesn’t feel very safe when you walk in. There’s that moment of panic when you’re asked the password and you blink and start to stammer.…

It’s been ages since I’ve been inside this 50-year-old espionage-themed institution, but I wouldn’t make a passable spy if I hadn’t come with the password (sorry, that’s classified). But I do share it with my friend minutes before we duck into the discreet alley entrance. As instructed, I whisper the words in the “sentry’s” ear and look at my friend, expecting him to follow suit. But he blinks and stammers, and I see he’s in trouble…

I have been let in, however, and I head down a dark hallway to sliding doors that lead to the bar, where diners are guffawing at the flat-screen TVs. It takes a moment to realize my friend has caused this reaction. Visitors who don’t have proper clearance (i.e., the password) are asked to perform silly commands, and my friend’s oafish pirouettes – projected on the screens – gain him entry. He strolls in to cheers.

The SafeHouse of summer 2016 – and of new owner Marcus Corp. – isn’t a stretch from decades ago. The minimal cosmetic updates don’t detract from the time-warp appeal of the quirky interconnected rooms, secret entrances, a spinning booth and servers who sometimes speak in code.

 

Photo by Rebecca Kames

Photo by Rebecca Kames

Illustrious as the SafeHouse is, its appeal is more novelty than culinary prowess. Nonetheless, we enjoyed our meal, which included a massive plate of beef nachos Camp Stanley ($15), breaded cod tacos ($14) and the juicy Asian-glazed chicken wings sprinkled with sesame seeds ($12). And I will share a little secret, that I intend a recon visit (date undisclosed) to experience the “El Chapo” sandwich named after a Mexican drug lord, and for one more look at the, ahem, Burt Reynolds photo in the ladies room. Yes, female agents. A necessary pit stop before completing your mission.

 

‘A Safe House Found’ appears in the August issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find the August issue on newsstands beginning August 1, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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