If you're into long underwear, lag bolts, and breakfast links, do I have the bar for you...
Gilbertson's Store is on the edge of Columbia county in central Wisconsin. If you can find the town of Keyeser, you've found Gilbertson's. Because it seems the town and the store are pretty much the same thing.
Inside, once you make your way past the sock rack, the meat case, and the lingerie, you'll find a four-stool bar. You'll also find the proprietor, Kenny. He and his relatives have owned Gilbertson's Store since 1894. He'll be happy to tell you all about it after he cracks you a $2 bottle of beer. He farmed the family land for 43 years, but just focuses on the store now. The bathrooms are in the back. As in the backyard. A fine set of his-and-her one-seaters that, according to Kenny, were the site for at least one wedding and perhaps some honeymoon activity as well.
My buddy Clem and I discovered the place last weekend during a non-sanctioned tour of historic bars (aka spring road trip). A sense of propriety keeps me from divulging our entire itinerary (not to mention the firm advice of my sizable legal team). But as itineraries go, it was ambitious. We visited a number of places, most of which originated in the 1800s. The best part, many of them happened to have the owner on hand. Eager to share the history of their place.
It made for a helluva day.
They say nothing good happens after 2am and I generally agree. But at some point, the clock resets. Because at 10 or 11am? On a fine April morning in the Wisconsin countryside? Bellied up and hearing how things were, straight from guys like Kenny? Plenty of good happens then.
These types of time-capsule bars are all over our fine state. You've got 'em in your fine state too I bet. I'm hoping to find a few more before they're all gone.