Saturday, October 01, 2011

American Gods and Roadside Attractions Tour: Say (Club) Anything aka Mil(k)waukee

Saturday nights in Denver, for Acr0nym and I, are typically reserved for Milk Bar revelry.

While likely imprudent to post that publicly, I figure if any of you truly want to stalk and stab, you'd already have figured out how to do that by now. I'm fairly certain the one or two of you who actually would be serious about the Stabby McStabbers already have my address...have even been inside my home at my invitation. But who'd really want to see me harmed? I'm awesome!

Still...this is me living dangerously.

Anyway! Also, if you know Acr0nym very well, you'll also know he is averse to change...both the kind he might carry jingling in his pocket and the kind that requires him to step outside his everyday routine. So the fact that he'd researched Milwaukee goth club options for Saturday night prior to our departure should come as absolutely no surprise.

What was a surprise, we'd come to find out, is just how fabulous Club ? (as it appears on Facebook. Everywhere else on the web it's called Club Anything), "Milwaukee's premiere alternative dance club", really is.

Now, when I went to the Kinetik Festival in Montreal the year before, it was relatively easy to pack because, mostly, we were going to be spending our time in full "goth regalia" and I knew whatever I brought could be mixed and matched to come up with something halfway fabulous every night. But, because this was a mostly roadtrippin' trip, my suitcase contents were, for the most part, filled with sweats and t-shirts and comfies. I packed one single outfit to wear to Club ? that night and, for better or for worse, would just have to make it work.

I have to be honest, by the time we'd eaten and found a motel to sleep in, I wasn't particularly in the mood to go out. My neck was killing me and I was, once again, of the crab. However, Acr0nym's heart was set on going to this club and, not wanting to be a spoilsport, I fixed myself a cuppa joe and started to get ready.

And then? Then Acr0nym, in HIS infinite wisdom and know how, surprised me (how does he continue to do this? I ask you.) again.

Acr0nym had his very own, homemade liniment oil with him.

If you know Acr0nym very well at all, you'll know he is a whiz at an awful lot of stuff. You might even know that, for him, making stuff from scratch is a particular obsession. He's made his own cola, attempted soy sauce (but we try not to mention that fiasco...very often), his own amazing Batman (and Crazier than Batman) hot sauce, and his own butter (ohmygawd the butter! YES! PLEASE!). So the fact that he'd made his own liniment for use on aches and pains should not have surprised me. And yet? It did.

Once I'd let him rub some of it on my neck though, I almost immediately began to feel better and I started to get excited about the prospect of getting out on the nightlife town of Milwaukee and getting my gin face on.

So...we readied ourselves. I wasn't exactly pleased with the outfit I had (you know how that goes, right ladies?) - particularly not knowing what to expect from the other patrons at the club - but it would have to do. I was trying to (roadtrip) impress. Acr0nym, as is true to form, was dressed to offend having brought his "I shaved my balls for this?" t-shirt. Unfortunately, even though this is standard summer fare for him at Milk in Denver, we would discover, too late, that the overall look for him is made by the presence of his red and black bowling shirt over the top of said offensive t-shirt...and he'd forgotten the bowling shirt at home. Back into plain black t-shirt he went.

Mostly, I think, because, when he had the novelty shirt on, I said he looked like a vanilla husband out to humor his goth wife *laugh*.

Club ? isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, in a "good" part of town. Largely industrial and/or of the barrio it was and Chocolate Jim had warned us of this fact. What Chocolate Jim didn't understand is that what he considers a bad part of town is know...TOWN to us. We weren't worried.

In fact, I'm fairly certain we were both pleased to see the location - gritty and smallish (not unlike the Hi-Dive for those Denver-ites in the know...although. in Club ?'s defense, much much nicer on the inside). However, the area was teaming with life - pedestrians, cars, and cops. Again, really REALLY not worried.

We walked up to the door boy - his name escapes me - and, with a rather cursory glance of our ready ID's (he mumbled something to the effect that he didn't feel like he needed to see them - thanks for making us feel 39) he let us in to the fabulousness that IS Club ?.

When we walked in the door, the first thing we saw was a lovely maple-like topped oblong bar with seating nearly the entire way around. There was a decent-sized stage and dance floor and two hallways leading off to...who knew? One off to the left and one straight ahead.

We walked up to the bar and, Acr0nym, in that way he has announced to the cute bartender, Sarah we'd learn, "Hey! We're tourists! Tell us about this bar."

We proceeded to order drinks. Ginandtonic for me and silver tequila and coke for him. Clearly, they didn't know what to make of an Acr0nym in the house as Sarah, poor thing, couldn't find a decent tequila to save her life. Clearly, good tequila is not a priority in Milwaukee (Great Lakes Distillery? I'm making this a challenge. Gauntlet? Thrown down). She looked and looked but couldn't find anything outside of Cuervo. Yikes.

The adorable - if somewhat stoic - doorboy would eventually come to the comparative rescue and produce a bottle of 1800. That would do just (under the circumstances) fine.

* A note about Milwaukee: Chocolate Jim had warned us about drinking in Milwaukee. He'd told us that, whereas most other places in the country might give you a splash of liquor to go with your mostly mixer of choice, in Milwaukee the opposite was true. He told us, quite seriously, if you ordered a rum and coke in Milwaukee, you'd get rum with a cursory splash of coke for flavor.

Honestly? We poo-poohed him. Acr0nym and I, after all, drink at altitude night after night, week after week. We were professionals. Oh bloody hell...that joke was on us. *

We'd wander about the club once we had drinks in hand. We'd find the absinthe bar (the Elixir Lounge) alas, closed (dammit to hell!!!), the pool tables, the DJ booth, the bathrooms, and YES! the smoking patio.

A word about the smoking patio...

I spend most of my quality Milk time on the smoking patio. That's it is. I spend most of my time anywhere on said smoking patio. That's I roll. Most smoking patios in Denver are, largely, crappy. The one at Milk is, pretty much, no exception. Either you're smelling the pizza delivery place next door or the rancid grease from the Arby's up the alley. Because, yes, the smoking patio is off the alley at Milk. w00t!

But! The smoking patio at Club ? is a delightful little courtyard in the middle of things and decorated with a tiki bar, tiki torches, and a variety of halloween-y goth decorations.

It is, in a word, awesome.


Oddly though, I didn't spend much time out there. Sure, Acr0 and I did what we are addicted to do a couple of times but, eventually, we'd find ourselves sitting at the fantastic bar most of the night. First, talking and (me) doing shots with Sarah and then, after awhile, talking to another patron, Jenni (YAY! Another Jenni spelled with an "i"), who also happened to be an off-duty Club ? bartender.

Sarah and, particularly, Jenni made the experience spectacular for us!

Jenni, once we'd met, would stick with us most of the night, telling us about the club, about Milwaukee, about how things used to be, about Gary (the owner, who was in Chicago that night and who we didn't have the pleasure of meeting, and how he once tried to kill her...unintentionally of course *laugh*), about Great Lakes Distillery. It was at her recommendation that I'd try the Great Lakes Distillery gin called Rehorst (OMG! so amazingly good and smooth!!! I love you, Great Lakes Distillery).

By the end of our night, the three of us - Acr0nym, Jenni, and I - would be frantically trying to Facebook friend each other via our phones. We succeeded.

I'm 100% certain that, if it hadn't been the hospitality shown us by Sarah and the adoptive friendliness of one Ms. Jenni, our experience would not have been the same and we would not have remembered Milwaukee, overall, with such adoration and warmth and a determination to return.

As it was, we are, in fact, determined to return...ASAP.

* A note about Club ?...Club ?, just like many goth/alternative clubs across the nation, are struggling to stay open. In Denver, we're really REALLY lucky to have the support of Regis and his crew to continue to operate Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for us - the scary kids - in two different clubs. We are frankly flooded with additional nights that our particular scene can't even support but will try because OMG! hey! A goth night every single night of the week. Club ?, right now, is desperate for the support of its scene. Club ? is the ONLY club of its kind in the area. Yes, Milwaukee is smaller (by quite a margin) than Denver. Still? It should be able to support itself with its goth population. For whatever reason though, it is struggling. A word to you, Milwaukee-ites. Get out to your goth club. They are doing tremendous things for you! The shows they are booking are unbelievable. The drinks they serve are WOW! strong and delicious. The atmosphere and camaraderie they offer is second to none. Please. Support your local club as often as you can. *

As we were leaving, both Jenni and Sarah asked us about our plans for our stay in the area.

Acr0nym replied, both times, "Tomorrow we go to Kenosha."

Both of them said, "Kenosha? Why are you going to that shithole?"

Because, Ladies. We had very VERY important business to take care of there.


spux said...

I know a smoking patio you would dig. It's an oasis. Wash park bar (I can't remember the name, but I could get us there). It's a little uppity, but the patio is gorgeous candle-lit, green, cozy awesomeness.
Hmmm patio tour of Denver... that's an idea.

Just Jane said...

Sounds fabulous! Let's do it!