John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
Did you know that when Eber Brock Ward purchased the land to build the Bay View Rolling Mill and the workers cottages, he established rules that no alcoholic beverages were to be used or made on said properties. Until the Village of Bay View was incorporated in 1879, no taverns existed on company owned land. When the Village was established, the existing taverns that had a license from the Town of Lake were permitted to remain open. Eber Brock Ward was a devout Methodist who did not believe that drinking and serving of alcoholic beverages should be allowed.
One tavern owner took a sneaky route to serve alcohol. He was also the village law enforcement officer. He sold crackers for 5 cents each and gave the customer a free beer to wash it down. He technically was not selling beer to customers. When permission to open taverns became a reality in Bay View, licenses were required. If you sold Weiss beer (white beer or wheat beer ), you paid one price, but if you sold barley beer, you paid a higher price. If you had a pool table, you had to get a license to operate it. If you owned a billiard table, you needed no license. Peter Schumacher had a battle with the Village Board over a billiard table versus a pool table when he had a saloon in Bay View. It is hard to imagine Bay View not having beer for sale, but it did happen.
The Three Brothers Tavern, Club Garibaldi and Kneisler's White House Inn are three examples of taverns that were built by breweries to sell their own brand of beer. There are a lot more examples in the City of Milwaukee of this type of tavern. Years ago, men used to have a pole on their neck to carry the buckets of beer from Kneisler's to the Rolling Mill workers. Before beer was allowed in Bay View, people used to go north of E. Lincoln Avenue to get their beer or go to authorized Town of Lake saloons.
The next time that people had such a hard time getting alcohol to drink was during Prohibition. Then people used to make their own beer and wine. The Italians made some very good wine during this time. Everybody had their own source of alcoholic beverages in these hard times. At least we did not have all of the gangster activity that Chicago, Illinois had. Near beer and soda were made by the breweries until Prohibition ended. Communion wine was permitted to be made at this time. Bay View had the Keller Winery and one brewery in operation.
In order to sell alcohol after Prohibition ended, many taverns served food dishes to its customers. Good food meant good beer and other alcohol sales. A good fish fry on Fridays is still very popular in Bay View. Baked chicken made good sales on Saturdays. I often wonder what came first, the taverns with food service or restaurants that served alcoholic beverages. It does not matter, since all of them serve great food with their drinks.
Visit Bay View and enjoy eating at one of the fine restaurants or taverns. You will enjoy the visit. There are many types of food sold in the restaurants. You should choose the place that you like best.
However if you are looking for Polish food, stop in at the Polonez Restaurant at 4016 S. Packard Avenue. If you like Italian food try DeMarinis Restaurant. There are many good ethnic restaurants in Bay View. If you are hungry, choose the place of your liking.
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