Kettle of Fish keeps New York's Wis. sports fans connected
NEW YORK -- Like they say, you can take the boy out of Milwaukee, but you can't take the Packers and Brewers out of the boy. Patrick Daley, who owns the legendary Kettle of Fish tavern in New York's Greenwich Village, is living proof of that.
Daley vacationed in New York in 1980 and never left.
Eight years later, he bought the Kettle – which in its two previous locations on MacDougal and 3rd Streets were popular beat poet and folk hangouts – and moved it to its current location at 59 Christopher St., a few doors down from the famed Stonewall.
"I bartended at all three locations," Daley says. "We moved to 3rd Street, around the corner, to the old Folk City in '86 – my boss did, and then at the end of '88 that lease was up and my boss was retiring, (so) I bought the name and moved it here."
Now, Kettle of Fish – once home to the likes of Kerouac and Dylan (and in a location that as The Lion's Head was a favorite of generations of writers and journalists) – is a haven and a watering hole for locals, as well as for transplanted and visiting Wisconsinites.
The Kettle is the place to watch Packers games in the winter and to talk Brewers in the summer. And on a recent visit, without even trying, we met a woman who, as a child, visited her grandmother in Whitefish Bay, a fellow who studied at UWM and a life-long Milwaukeean currently working in New York City. And that was without even getting up off the bar stool!
Even better? It was a couple days after the annual Kettle of Fish Brewers tailgate party at Shea Stadium and there were some Usinger's brats leftover, which Daley cooked up and offered to patrons.
"We do just Packers," says Daley, who returns to Milwaukee a couple of times a year to visit family and his dentist. "There wasn't any place (in New York) that did it solely. We do Packers games are on five TVs. We have CDs galore with Packers songs.
"The round table in the back room? That's reserved for the original guys. The first season we had the Packers, I would sit there and slice them cheese and summer sausage and hand it to them on the knife. Now it's far too busy for me to do that. But we do hand out free aged cheddar from outside of Wausau, and an excellent summer sausage from Oshkosh. Then I sell the Usinger's brats."
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In 1958, the Kettle was on MacDougal Street. It is the first bar in which I was served alcohol. I was 17.
There is something about the Wisconsin sports fan. There should a scholarly study of this phenomenon. BTW, L.A. news papers have run many articles on how to market to other sports teams to create the Badger effect. When I saw the '94 Rose Bowl, I can't count the number of restaurant persons who said "we love you guys".
And the looks on the faces of the Greenwich Villagers as they pass by and see a line of people in green and gold waiting to get into a basement bar on a Sunday morning. Priceless. And they say that nothing gets the attention of a New Yorker. They seem truly puzzled by this phenomenon.
An addition - we also sing and dance after touchdowns to classics such as I love my Green Bay Packers" and "The Bears Still Suck". For anyone coming to NYC, The Kettle should be up there with your visit to Time Square or Central Park...
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