*Keeping your glass filled and spirits high one Thursday at a time! We introduce The Squeaky Curd readers to Welcome to Thursdays, a local social group determined to make your Thursdays more fun. Each Wednesday we feature a hilariously fictitious history of a Milwaukee County bar that we gather at on Thursday evening – join us weekly!*
Greetings and Salutations my most humble Thursdians,
“A full glass of Old Milwaukee always opens the door to opportunity in this game we call life” – Thomas Ropella
Join us on our regularly scheduled Thursday as we travel to the great neighborhood of Bayside to discover the Speakeasy Nightclub (600 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53217). Now many of you have probably never heard of the Speakeasy; it has always had a reputation of flying under the radar, and as a result it played a quintessential role in Wisconsin during the prohibition years.
The year was 1922 and Al Capone had just acquired the ABC Soda Company in Walkers Point, which operated as a bottling line for soda. Al Capone was never a big fan of beer, usually sticking to his favorite cocktail of whiskey and vermouth; but once introduced to the mesmerizing taste of Old Milwaukee, he knew that this brew had to be enjoyed by all.
Fronting as a soda bottling company, Capone was actually bottling the finest Canadian hooch and Old Milwaukee. Today we know this place as Shaker’s Cigar Bar, another fine establishment on the Welcome To Thursdays list (mark your calendars for December 8, 2016).
With the successful secrecy of this establishment, the ABC Soda Company also became Milwaukee’s first major speakeasy – and Al Capone saw this as an opportunity. He knew there were speakeasies throughout Wisconsin, and he knew that if he could get these establishments the great taste of Old Milwaukee, he could have a tight hold on the entire state. Like any major company, the way to a successful business is through a well-operated distribution center. This brings us to this week’s destination: the Speakeasy Nightclub.
This establishment pays homage to what once was one of the finest operated lumber yards in all of Wisconsin… with a secret. Capone saw this yard and knew it had potential. With the influential power he had established throughout the years, he bought out the lumber yard and began his great plan immediately. Production was to continue as usual with one tiny difference: one warehouse would no longer be used to store lumber, but instead barrels of Old Milwaukee. Trucks still came and went from the yard transporting lumber to all parts of Wisconsin, but some of the logs were hollowed out and filled with barrels of Old Milwaukee.
With this method, Old Milwaukee was enjoyed throughout the entire state during the days of Prohibition. The Speakeasy Nightclub was an essential part of the survival of Old Milwaukee and Al Capone’s reign in the Midwest.
Cheers My Friends!
Your Welcome to Thursdays Founder,
Join us at the Speakeasy Nightclub located at 600 W Brown Deer Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53217, Thursday, September 15 at 7:30pm.