Ducatista wrote:Even as a student I was always more of an upper-State bar goer—Plaza, Irish Pub, Stillwaters, Nar Bar, Nick's, Lundeen's, Paul's Club—but I spent my fair share of 80s late nights and Saturday afternoons in The Pub's scuzzy embrace.
Yeah, I too spent a fair amount of time at the Pub in the early years of my legalized drinking. But I eventually moved on up the street to the Plaza (aka, the 'Za) and all the other places you mentioned.
In the late 70s (when Wisconsin had the 18 year old drinking age) some under aged teens (like me) could occasionally pass for a legal aged drinker at the bars that never carded. The Pub always carded so once I was legal, it seemed cool to go there and all the other places I could never go before (like Headliners).
Eventually, the novelty of attending the Pub wore off, and it became just another student bar to me. And then of course, I got older and no longer fit the demographic of a student bar. The last time I recall even being in the Pub was sometime in the late 80s. Seems the older my friends and I got, the further east we migrated (first just up the street to the Plaza and Nicks, then eventually all the way over to the Crystal Corner and the Harmony Bar).
I did occasionally sit in the window seats at the Pub and watch people going by on State St. Unlike some legendary patrons (usually drunk UW alumni), I never rated girls by holding up playing cards. Wasn't my style (I had enough trouble meeting girls without pissing them off).
Most of my Pub memories are of playing arcade games in the early 80s. Games like Pole Position, Tapper, Paper Boy, Spy Hunter. Today, if I play one of those games on my computer, it takes me right back to the Pub (the only thing missing is the Marlboro, the tap beer, and of course, my youth).
Also, the Pub was the first bar I entered when I could drink legally. On my 18th birthday, (at one minute past Midnight) I presented my driver’s license at the door and got one of their 22oz birthday cups of beer. Looking back, I'm surprised they let me in. Why? Because I had not yet obtained the coveted Wisconsin ID card.
(OK, a history lesson for the youngsters: )
At that time Wisconsin Drivers licenses didn't have pictures. So you had to go to the register of deeds and get a State of Wisconsin ID card, which had your picture on it. The picture was a black and white photo that you actually supplied yourself, usually from a photo booth. Bars could refuse Wisconsin residents if they did not present a Wisconsin ID card. So when you turned 18, the first thing you did was apply for a Wisconsin ID card (on the first available business day, of course). The card took a couple of days to arrive in the mail, so they gave you a receipt. Incredibly, some bars would serve you if you showed the receipt and a driver’s license. To this day, I still have my Wisconsin ID card and the receipt for getting it (enshrined in a manila folder, for posterity). I believe it cost $3.00.
Ducatista wrote:Went to an after-bar above The Pub once—it was a crazy rooming-house setup, as I hazily recall.
Speaking of above The Pub: In the early 80s a good friend of mine rented a room on the floor above the Pub. It was a small efficiency (one of at least a dozen or more), with a bed, a fridge, and cockroaches. On the west end of the floor there was a large shared kitchen and a large shared shower and restroom. He lived up there about 2 or 3 years, and reported that living on State Street was no place for peace and quiet. At that time, most of the other residents were students from the Peoples Republic of China.
Sometimes when he knew I was coming right over, my friend would stick something in the door (which was security locked) so I could get in. One time when I arrived, the door was locked. I shouted up to my friend, and he came down to let me in (puzzled that the door was not blocked open as he had left it). On his way down, one of his neighbors stopped him and handed him an envelope. In excited broken English, the neighbor said (repeatedly) "VERY IMPORTANT message for YOU!” My friend thanked him and looked at the envelope. It was the piece of junk mail he had used to block the door. It was from Publishers Clearing House and had my friend's name printed in big letters saying he may have won several million dollars. We had a good laugh, imagining what good fortune that neighbor thought was possible in the USA .