Milwaukee has an obsession with "S"

I first noticed that Milwaukee had "S" fetish as soon as I moved back to Brew City more than 10 years ago. I heard it rear its ugly head when a coworker suggested we meet up at BBC's.

At first, I let it roll, thinking she might've misspoke. Surely, she didn't think that BBC, which stands for Bradford Beach Club, was a possessive acronym. In other words, the name wasn't "Mr. BBC's Bar and Grille."

Except, I heard it time and time again.

"Are you going to Nomad's?"

"No, I was thinking about Von Trier's."

"Maybe we should eat first at The Trocadero's ."

Yes, those are three real examples. There are so many more, and it doesn't stop just at bars. Just ask the owners of Lela boutique how many times people refer to their store as "Lela's." Or talk to the people who answer the phone at Fazio car repair place (they'll say "Fazio's").

Sure, many restaurants and bars are actually possessive, like "Vitucci's" or "Mimma's" or "Coerper's." But think about every time you've heard someone say, "Buckhead's" or "Lulu's" or "Bar Louie's" or "Libiamo's."

As if Mr. Buckhead would like to welcome you to his saloon.

OK, maybe I'm picking on Milwaukee too much. Maybe people do this around the country, too -- though having lived in a few other cities, I can say I certainly don't recall it.

I put the question out to a few friends from out of town.

My sister, who lives in New York, says she doesn't hear it. Nor does my friend, Heidi, in Providence.

But my friend Paul in Washington, D.C. says he hears it all the time. The Madhatter on M St. is called Madhatter's, he says.

And finally, my friend Oscar in Chicago, says he's not aware of the egregious possessive-fying of bar names in Illinois, but he admits that he actually finds himself dropping the "S" bomb -- but only because he's spent so many weekends in Milwaukee at Nomad's, Palomino's and BBC's.

Are you an "S Man" (or "S Woman")? Share your experiences using the Talkback feature below.

Talkbacks

Truth_be_told | Dec. 27, 2006 at 12:02 p.m. (report)

Funhouse, the store (and therefore the "trade name") is "Barnes & Noble Booksellers". Therefore, referring to it as "Barnes & Noble's" is acceptable because one is not using the trade name, but rather referring to the store by the assumed proprietorship.

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loopy | Dec. 22, 2006 at 12:11 p.m. (report)

Yes, other cities do have the "s" obsession. I lived in Monroe, MI, which is about 40 minutes southwest of Detroit. All the locals shopped at "Wal-Mart's," "K Mart's," and "Meijer's." There was only one of each store in town, so it wasn't a plural thing, either.

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funhouse | Dec. 22, 2006 at 11:15 a.m. (report)

"Barnes & Noble" is a trade name. Barnes and Noble do not own the store. If Barnes & Noble owned the store/chain, I agree that the 's would be acceptable and proper. One goes to Abercrombie & Fitch, not Abercrombie & Fitch's, for example. Or one works for Foley & Lardner, not Foley & Lardner's.

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sherman | Dec. 22, 2006 at 10:33 a.m. (report)

Ah, but does one go to the Brewer game or the Brewers' game? Or a Packer game or the Packer's game. Can't tonight, it's the Bucks game. Not the Buck game. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

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Truth_be_told | Dec. 21, 2006 at 9:36 a.m. (report)

It doesn't matter if the woman was thinking about the original proprietors or not. It doesn't matter if she was in the original store or not. The apostrophe 's' as it was used in "Barnes & Noble's" was correct and acceptable usage. It was a bad example to bring up to illustrate incorrect usage of apostrophe 's'. You can't complain about poor grammar and then cite proper grammar to support your position. It's nonsensical.

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