When it comes to beloved Milwaukee neighborhood dive bars that stubbornly refuse to go gentle into that gentrified good night, the Uptowner is one of the finest. Located on the northwest corner of Center and Humboldt in Riverwest, the Uptowner has been an agreeably scuzzy, sweaty, scuffed-up, and booze-soaked institution since—brace yourselves—1884. It holds the distinction of being Milwaukee’s oldest continually-running tavern; its slogan, “Home of the beautiful people,” holds the distinction of being both dryly sarcastic and absolutely true.
But times have been tough for the Uptowner. The Great Recession, unpaid mortgages, and foreclosure proceedings have all left the Milwaukee icon in danger of being sold as early as this summer. (Just think: the Uptowner has been around long enough to see the Great Recession and the Great Depression.) The tavern’s woes (and its rich history) are all laid out in a #SaveUptowner campaign on fundraising website GoFundMe. Donations ranging from $15 to $5,000 are being sought to keep the Uptowner in business, with plenty of crowdfunding goodies tossed into the mix to attract potential supporters. $15, for example, gets your name listed in the bar “until infinity.” Donate $500 and the bar will “name a drink after you and then drink it with you and then write you a thank-you note—sobriety not guaranteed.”
So consider chipping in, beautiful people, by clicking here—right here. Is reaching the $250,000 goal feasible in the next 28 days? Maybe. (Happily, GoFundMe has no goal requirements.) Is the Uptowner worth saving? If you’ve ever seen a show there, played pinball there, survived the bathrooms there, or drank there at two in the afternoon on a weekday, you already know the answer.