The South Pacific in Milwaukee
January of 2013 found me far from my palm tree paradise of South Florida as I had flown up to Wisconsin for the New Year. Most of the time was spent at the lady friends sisters house or me attempting, and failing, at snow boarding. But as I have the traveler spirit and had never been to Milwaukee, at my insisting we headed to the city. We saw the sites, hit some cool bars (The Safe House was amazing!) and did a lot of walking despite the near zero temps; which for a guy who gets cold in 70 degree weather was quite the experience. But chattering teeth and numb hands aside we had a good time.
Now I am sure this comes as no surprise but I was determined to find a place to get a good rum drink and at least for few minutes, be back in the tropics; even if only in my mind. As it happens Milwaukee has one amazing little tiki bar called The Foundation. Now this is not the typical generic place you find in a lot of northern cities, sparsely decorated with plastic palm trees, serving sugary rum drinks you’ll get diabetes from in one sip, and playing the same Jimmy Buffett songs over and over again. No, this was the real deal!
As soon as walked in I was a thousand miles away from the feet of snow that lined the ground just inches behind me. I was swept away to a Pacific island where the locals were friendly and the rum flowed! Immediately I was welcomed by a group of friendly locals who were excited when I mentioned that it reminds me of a smaller Mai Kai. As it turns out Foundation was in fact modeled after Mai Kai so the manager was thrilled at my comparison.
Lets stop for a second, if you haven’t been to Mai Kai stop right now and dig out the bucket list, now place a visit at the top. It’s a must for any tiki, Polynesian, or rum lover. But I digress.
I noticed the patrons where reading a Hukilau book (A tiki festival at the Mai Kai) and were planning on all attending! So I had made instant friends. But the ambiance of a place only gets you so far, how about the drinks and rum selection?
Well I left the decisions of what to drink up to the beautiful bartender and the locals and after a few simple questions as to my taste in cocktails I was served three in secession, each just as perfectly made as the next. A glance at the top shelf rum list and I knew this places drinks were no joke. No friends the cocktails were all I had hoped they be after taking in the atmosphere of this great little bar.
For me, if for any reason I am ever coming through Milwaukee again, I will make it a point to go back there. I’m not kidding here. I’d actually schedule an extended layover just to make it out to have a few rum drinks and enjoy this tiki gem tucked away in the blue north. So if you are in the area or passing through you must stop in and say hello; I promise you won’t regret it.
For more info on this amazing bar go to www.foundationbar.com/Aloha
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