Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A shout-out to Menasha bars

I'm an old man. At least I feel like an old man. There was a time when I used to go out three or four times a week. I guess it was fun. It was only five years ago but it feels like 50. Looking back I can't believe I ever had so much money to waste, or so much time. Because at the ripe old age of 28, I find bars incredibly boring. Especially Appleton bars. The only bars I like nowadays are in Menasha.

If you live in the Fox Valley, you probably have made fun of Menasha at least 100 times in your life. Even people from Menasha make fun of Menasha. It is the blue collar meat situated between two uppity bread slices, Appleton and Neenah. People just love to rip on it. But people are stupid, aren't they? Menasha has got soul. And it's a blast to hang out there. I love three bars in particular: Hank's, The Old Grog and Club Tavern.

Hank's represents everything great about neighborhood Wisconsin bars: the beer is ridiculously cheap, complete strangers walk up and recommend stuff on the menu and the decor hasn't been updated since 1966. Did I mention how cheap this place is? A friend and I ate dinner and drank two pitchers recently and didn't pay more than $20. I'd pay 20 bucks to keep the drone-like dopes who hang out downtown from screaming in my ear.

The Old Grog isn't quite as glorious as Hank's, but it's located right across the street and it's a great beer chaser to a shot of Hank's. Again, the decor inside is classic. All wood and ratty carpeting, it feels like one of those awesome Up North bars where you wander where at 1 a.m. and end up being forced to squeal like a pig by 1:25 a.m. Except, you know, there's no squealing at Old Grog. Apparently the Grog's steak sandwich is legendary, because it always comes up whenever I mention the bar to people. Also, the Grog is a haven for sexually harassing midgets. At least that's what my girlfriend says. She was slapped on the behind by a little guy the last time she was in there. I suppose I should be mad about that, but I secretly love it.

Club Tavern is the hippest bar of the bunch. In fact, it's probably the hippest bar in the Fox Valley. (Which isn't saying much, but it's still pretty hip.) The jukebox is well-known among music geeks for being heavy on cult favorites like Mekons and XTC. The selection of beers is first-rate, too. What makes Club Tavern so endearing is that its hipness is wrapped in a cozy small-town coating. Where else can you blast the Butthole Surfers while eating fish fry with senior citizens?

So, the next time somebody makes fun of Menasha, just smile and silently mock their ignorance. Anybody who is anybody knows Menasha is the place to be.


Anonymous gavin said...

I'd like to also endorse Hank's, if for no other reason than my good friend's mother works there and makes some of the best damn French Dip in Wisconsin.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mihm's! It may not be a bar, but it too is a downtown Menasha classic.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In th eearly 70's before you were born my little grasshopper, there was a waitress that worked in Hank's. She had one tit that was normal size and one that was half as big. Don't ask me how I know this just trust me. Anyway she was know as "half a jug" or just jugs for short. Did you happen to see her when you were in there?

8:27 PM  
Blogger klhp said...

love the old grog.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Ivy said...

The old Grog indeed has the best steak sandwhich, possibly even better than Mr.Cinders, and that's saying a lot!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Hotel Pub is under new management...

3:57 PM  

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