Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bar City, USA

Milwaukee has a lot to be proud of... Wisconsin, generally, in fact. I've written about some of these innovations here, and smart people everywhere recognize that our State accepts and inspires talented people to invent and excel.  Famous folks like Harry Houdini, Orson Welles, Spencer Tracy, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Annenberg and  Georgia O'Keefe prove that there is scarcely any field that is not distinguished by a Wisconsin connection. 

Things are not all sunshine in America's 30th State. We are also known for drunkenness, which is an unusual point of pride for the Wisconsinese.  "Out-drinking your state since 1948!" the t-shirts, mugs and stickers proudly chirp!  "You can't drink all day if you don't start in the morning," a friend's father advised. The DUI laws certainly seem onerous for the thousands currently working their way through the system, but by national standards they are considered lax.  According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse our state ranks near the top of its list of Highest Per-Capita Consumption (though, it may be noted, not #1, which fact will certainly feel like a ripoff to some people). 

C. Dy Godsey
It may seem unusual that someone whose business is beverage alcohol would oppose drunkenness publicly.  For the record, I support the consumption of beverage alcohol for its subtle effects, and I support it wholeheartedly.  My opinion, mixed with Wisconsin's reputation, created a conflict for me when I read that Esquire magazine named Milwaukee its Bar City 2012.

Of course I am proud of Wisconsin's achievements, big and small. This one, however, leaves me with mixed feelings.   Under the guidance of David Wondrich, Esquire magazine undertook to find "the best places to have a drink in America," and our town came up on top.  We earned this spot largely because of our commitments both to hospitality and to variety in drinking culture.  From Wolski's to the Knight's Bar, the Old German Beer Hall to Distil and My Office, Wondrich's team sank drinks all over town.  According to Esquire, the two best bars in America are right here: Koz's and Bryant's.

The Two Best Bars in America.  We'd be foolish not to be proud.

We'd be equally foolish, however, not to check ourselves when it comes to overdrinking.  If you are an overdrinker, and you know who you are (if you aren't sure, ask the people who love you), please sober up before you drive.  Please learn to achieve and sustain a buzz without getting piss-drunk.  Overindulgence leads to embarrassment, inconvenience and to tragedy far too often. 

Now go gather up your friends and practice safe drinking.  We're #1!

1 comment:

  1. I am flattered that esquire would think of us Milwaukeeans! I myself am a frequent beverage consumer, and also know a few who have had the unfortunate lapse of judgement when realizing that they want to drive home. What's more unfortunate is the number of friends who have had more than one lapse of judgement in their past. Binge-drinking is "cool" when we're young, and old habits die hard.