This club doesn’t have velvet ropes barricading the entry door while a long line of VIP wannabes wait outside in the cold as a big burly bouncer checks his guest list to grant access to the exclusive, hottest, newest spot in town. Actually, a Supper Club is the exact opposite – a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere with a long history full of nostalgia, laughs, conversation, and fun where all are welcome and treated like VIPs.
Wait, so you don’t know have to be a member to enjoy all a supper club has to offer? Nope!
A supper club is a traditional dining establishment with a social atmosphere. You don’t go to a supper club for a quick bite to eat. It is a full experience. Upon walking in, you’ll be shown to the bar where people are sipping an Old Fashioned or have a bottle of local beer. (More on the Old Fashioned later) The bartender will chat with you for a bit. Based on personal experience, cocktails taste better when they’re made by a friend – and this bartender is your new best friend! The people around the bar are also friendly and will engage in welcoming chit-chat while listening to live, soft background music.
When the bartender asks what’ll ya have – make it a Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet with Cherries for an authentic Wisconsin Supper Club drink – specifically Korbel Brandy. But why brandy? Legend has it that at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, an up-and-coming distiller named Korbel from the west coast was sampling some of their spirits and concocting the classic Old Fashioned (originally made with whiskey) using their brandy. The German crowd visiting from Wisconsin really liked this new spin on an old cocktail. So much so that even to this day, Korbel still sells more brandy in Wisconsin than any other state.
The Perfect Wisconsin Old Fashioned
- ½ tsp sugar
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 orange slice
- 2 cherries
- 2 oz brandy
- Splash of 7-Up
- Add sugar, bitters, orange, cherries to the bottom of a rocks glass and muddle.
- Pour in the brandy and a few ice cubes. Stir.
- Top off with 7-Up to taste.
- Garnish with a cherry or two.
As you’re enjoying your new favorite pre-dinner drink, take a look around and notice the décor and ambiance. You’ll feel like you stepped back in time and a sudden feeling of nostalgia will sweep over you. Each supper club has its own unique flair, but there’s a similar thread that runs through each one – homey feeling. Deer mounts are proudly displayed on the wall from grandpa’s annual hunting trip up north. Knick knack decorations that grandma has been collecting since 1943 are strategically placed in every nook and cranny around the restaurant. Waitresses who are welcoming and make your dining experience comfortable like you have known each other for years.
After you’ve spent some quality time around the bar, you’ll be seated in the dining room. The waitress will inquire about a drink refresher. She’ll then bring out a relish tray (a supper club staple)! A relish tray is full of crackers, carrots, pickles, radishes, celery, and olives. There’s also often some liver pâté and cheese spread to accompany the snacks.
If you don’t already think supper clubs are the greatest things, wait until you get to the food menu. You’ll find delicious entrée favorites like prime rib, seafood, chicken specials, and other steaks. Supper club food is all homemade! Each entrée comes with a soup and/or salad and/or a trip to the salad bar. A salad unique to supper clubs is a spinach salad topped with hot bacon dressing. If you go to a supper club on a Friday, there’s no doubt the Friday special is a fish fry – perch, cod, or walleye.
Did I mention to bring a big appetite to a supper club?
If your mouth-watering to visit a supper club, Greater Green Bay has several amazing options in the area.
The Adamany family has owned Wally's Spot Green Bay supper club for over sixty-five years, serving over 5.5 million guests! They lay claim to being the original Green Bay steakhouse, with a perfected technique that only comes with experience to prove it.
Galley 57 is the home of the $3 Old Fashioned on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights – the same high-quality cocktail at a great low price. To put their own spin on a classic drink, they use only the best Wild Italian Amerena cherries, instead of the traditional maraschino cherry.
The historic Union Hotel opened its doors in the late 19th Century and has been owned by the same family since 1918, just one year before the Packers were formed. Every Packers head coach from Curly Lambeau to Mike McCarthy has eaten here. The famous Packers ‘G’ logo was designed at the Union Hotel!
River’s Bend is a traditional supper club with a touch of class. They have been around for forty years but have recently undergone some interior renovation. The dining room’s panoramic views of beautiful Duck Creek create a beautiful scenic backdrop for a nice evening out.
If you're spending your evening out at a supper club, be prepared to be there a while, meet friendly people, enjoy a cocktail or several, eat plenty of delicious food, and love every minute of the experience!
Video Courtesy of Travel Wisconsin