Monday, April 12, 2010

Riding the Tavern Beer Trail With Frankie Mengeling and Her Friends

Beer Trail Riders
Ever wonder what the women’s bathroom at the Packer Pub in Oshkosh smells like? Me neither, but now I know. And I have Frankie Mengeling to thank for it. Frankie’s blog, Riding the Tavern Beer Trail, is an ongoing travelogue of the Oshkosh bar scene. Sounds like typical fodder for a local blog, until you start reading and realize that this tour is being undertaken by a most unlikely group of pub-crawlers. Frankie and her friends are all retirees and for almost a year now they’ve been dropping in on some of Oshkosh’s most unassuming bars and reporting what they find. It’s always amusing and usually surprising.

Each entry of the blog concerns itself with a single Oshkosh bar. Often they’re hitting the older spots in town such as Jerry’s, Oblio’s or Witzke’s. But these are hardly your typical bar flies and they’re seeing the old places with fresh eyes. That’s good. There’s so much local history and culture tied up in these bars and it’s largely taken for granted. Frankie often passes along a brief history of the bar they’re visiting, but the real beauty of Riding the Tavern Beer Trail is that it presents these places as still vital and full of interesting stories.

Frankie at Work
Frankie, who taught writing and literature at Lourdes for 18 years, does all the writing for the blog and she does it wonderfully. She has a light touch and that’s a nice contrast to some of the hard cases she runs up against. When she meets a rude bartender who tells her “usually I flip off old people,” it doesn’t ruffle her at all. It’s added to the mix as just another part of the scene. My favorite aspect of Frankie’s pieces tends to be her odd, little asides. Like finding a dead skunk in a purse after visiting Jerry’s Bar or the small, burping woman at the B & E Lounge. It’s informative and absurd all at the same time.

Oh, and that smell coming from the women’s bathroom at the Packer Pub. Tavern Trail Rider Elaine says it’s a strong sweet scent.

Check out Riding the Tavern Beer Trail HERE.


  1. Hi Lee,
    Thanks for the kind words. We are having fun on our trail rides. We figure someone's gotta do this.

  2. Very interesting Read!