The Randoms: Best East Side Bar With A Bowling Alley That Has Been Around For 85 Years
If there’s one thing Milwaukee is good at, it’s patting itself on the back. Open a local paper or click on a local website and you’re bound to run into dozens of “Best of” and “Best of the best” awards. And why not? Milwaukee is stuffed with countless people, places, and events worth celebrating. The Randoms do the same thing, but without all the tedious popularity voting and web browser cookie-clearing. Instead, we simply create arbitrary categories and single out one noteworthy local institution every Friday afternoon. Who will win for Best Riverwest Club With Nine Letters In Its Name? Best Bay View Restaurant On The East Side Of KK? Find out as we begin handing out awards to every man, woman, child, bar, and farm-to-table restaurant in Milwaukee.
Best East Side Bar With A Bowling Alley That Has Been Around For 85 Years: Landmark Lanes
We’re thrilled to award the very first Random to longtime East Side bar/bowling alley/bar/arcade/bar Landmark Lanes. And when we say “longtime,” we really mean “longtime”—the Landmark recently celebrated 85 years of dedicated, subterranean service. Built in 1927 on the site of a horse, mule, and streetcar barn, the multi-tiered entertainment complex was originally known as Bensinger’s Recreation. United Artists purchased the business—which sits below the Oriental Theatre—in the 1950s and changed the name to Oriental Lanes. Its current moniker was settled on when jazz guitarist George Pritchett purchased the bar in 1972.
At a time when so much of “old Milwaukee” is being wiped away by anonymous businesses that could be found in any city, the Landmark remains a true Brew City original. It’s also one of the few holdovers from the East Side’s “bohemian” days, when places like Oriental Drugs and that crazy hippie house on the corner of Farwell and Kenilworth lined the streets. The Landmark’s combination of three bars, a 16-lane bowling alley (an automated scoring system was recently/finally installed), and a well-stocked arcade have made it a perennial favorite for both college-aged revelers and blue-collar drinkers. Add in plenty of pool tables, dart boards, and posters that have been hanging on the walls since the mid ’70s, and you have one of Milwaukee’s most unique watering holes.
So congratulations, Landmark Lanes. May you forever reign supreme as the Best East Side Bar With A Bowling Alley That Has Been Around For 85 Years!