Located inside a brick-hewn building reminiscent of a grand castle, the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery recounts the history of the company’s former brewery, which dates back to 1844. Visitors tour Pabst’s corporate offices, take photos with a statue of Captain Frederick Pabst, and drink tall pints of the brewery’s concoctions. The gift shop stocks vintage Pabst memorabilia, including steins, shirts, and artwork. Best Place’s halls and courtyards can also be rented for banquets, weddings, and other events.
The Old Sugar Distillery produces small-batch liquors made from Midwestern ingredients. Its cornerstone concoction, the Old Sugar Factory Honey Liqueur, is distilled from dark-brown beet sugar and then aged in a wooden womb of American oak before being subtly sweetened with pure Wisconsin honey. The Cane and Abe Freshwater Rum, named in honor of President Lincoln and his favorite criminal-scaring stick, is made with cane sugar lovingly beamed up from the saccharine states of Hawaii and Louisiana and then aged in charred American oak barrels. These luscious liquids can be sampled either by sipping a freshly made cocktail ($6) at the distillery's long wooden bar, or by buying a bottle ($30) for midnight sips in the dead chill of winter. The Old Sugar Distillery also offers free tours and tastings with up-close views of the large copper pot still.
The cooks at the newly remodeled Molly McGuire’s populate the menu with comforting tavern-style fare, and the bartenders pour cold glasses of refreshing libations. Six Crunch chicken strips ($5.99) write meal prologues with a choice of dipping sauce and a breading recipe that, like most diaries and football players' love of touchdowns, is a secret. Meat seekers sink teeth into layers of cheese, tomato, and onion atop the half-pound Angus burger ($6.49), which is served with a side such as potato salad or hash browns. Herbivores can nosh on the veggie wrap’s cucumbers, red onions, carrots, and cheddar cheese ($5.49). Patrons can rack up for games of pool, dance to a DJ’s handpicked tunes, or bask in exclusivity with the elegant VIP lounge’s bottle service. Glasses glisten with premium spirits including Grey Goose, Patrón, and Crown Royal, the preferred liquor of discriminating queen bees.
Inside a tasting room constructed from the salvaged beams of an old barn, visitors to Vines & Rushes winery can sample the fruit of the Prellwitz family's labors. Made from hearty grapes that are built to withstand cold Wisconsin winters, their wines range in style from dry to sweet, with red and whites that focus primarily on grapes.
German cuisine might not be synonymous with nightlife in the public imagination, but consider an element that's central to both: the beer. The restaurant and nightclub OB's Brau Haus commissions Fox River Brewing Company to produce a slate of beers in traditional German styles ranging from the familiar (pilsner, lager) to unusual potions such as the secret-recipe Sticke Altbier, brewed using the old-fashioned top-fermenting method common in D?sseldorf.
The food is just as traditional: pork shanks, sauerbraten, and complex regional dishes such as pork and beef stew with sauerkraut served in a paprika sauce with spaetzel. Every Friday night, the restaurant hosts a fish fry to celebrate the end of the work week or the fact that there's only one more day of mail to worry about. After 9 p.m., dramatic colored lights spill throughout the space, welcoming DJs and bottle service.
Being a health-conscious foodie can be a challenge, because it’s not always easy to determine the history of how and where food is produced. The owners of Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery have created such a narrative for their clients, growing fruit deeply rooted in their commitments to community and homegrown produce.
Sixteen years ago, they planted their first apple orchard, calling on friends and neighbors aged 8 to 80 for help. Since then, the farm has expanded and now grows 14 varieties of apples, peaches, pears, and grapes, which they serve fresh, baked into pies and turnovers, and pressed into their award-winning wine. Of these libations, apple wine is the owners' specialty, and it ranges from the very dry—best paired with meat—to the cinnamon sweet—best paired with Halloween costumes.
In addition to fresh fruit, baked goods, and adult beverages, the farm boasts entertainment for kids and adults alike, including a playscape and a zorb ball, which is a 12-foot high hamster-ball-like contraption that guests climb inside to travel across an open 5-acre field.