Food & Drink

at random | vintage cocktails in milwaukee, wi

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of getting all dressed up and going on another adventure with some of my new vintage-loving friends to a Milwaukee institution located right in my very own neighborhood: At Random!

Opened in 1964, At Random is a truly delightful time capsule of midcentury goodness. After being owned and operated by the original owners for over 50 years, they retired and the bar was taken over by pretty much the best possible person: John Dye, Milwaukee’s vintage bar impresario. There was a lot of concern when it was first announced that At Random was for sale that the wonderful character of the bar would be changed; luckily, Dye has just put in just the right of modern polish (they take credit cards now!) while keeping all the good stuff the same.

The theme for the evening was “Mad Men mod,” and I was a little nervous since the 60s aren’t usually my decade of choice! Luckily, my office ended up closing an hour early, giving me some bonus time to mess with my hair and makeup.

I call this look “Joan meets Twiggy”! I’m wearing one of my grandma’s vintage scarves, which just reinforces how much I remind myself of her in this photo. A stylish bouffant has been her hairstyle of choice as long as I’ve been alive and much before that. Obviously hers has never been pink & green (and is much smoother than this), but I don’t think it’s too shabby for something quite far outside my comfort zone styling-wise. Two of the gals didn’t recognize me at first with my stylish new Lewk – At Random is infamously dark, but I still claim that as a victory!

We found ourselves at At Random this particular night to help out with a photoshoot…heaven knows if there’s one thing I love more than retro cocktails, it’s having my picture taken! I hope that they ended up with some useful shots…it was definitely a ton of fun to take them.

If you’re a lover of retro places, At Random will seriously delight you. In the first room, there’s a long bar with a circular bump out at the end with booths along the opposite wall. Then, the back is just a delightful mix of small and sprawling Naugahyde booths. One side of the room is fully mirrored, and in the middle of the room, there’s a centerpiece of faux plants and a naked lady statue. The extensive menu is packed with ice cream drinks and classic cocktails, not to mention the infamous Tiki Love Bowl.

Trust me: it’s just as dangerous as you’ve been told. But that only makes you want more, doesn’t it? Regular cocktail glass set behind it for scale and not at all because I wasn’t thinking about taking nice pictures for the blog.

I did briefly lay claim to the dear Ms. Button‘s stole, as I am wont to do. All in all, I had a lovely night and certainly won’t let so much time pass before I return to At Random again. I think a lot of us in Milwaukee take for granted how lucky we are to have amazing midcentury places like this still in operation because there are people who recognize how great they are and put the time and money into keeping them going. I, for one, am happy to drink as many Pink Squirrels as necessary to do my part to support our local vintage bar scene!

Want to have more old-fashioned fun in MKE? Check out my city guide for vintage lovers!

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    June 16, 2019 at 10:12 am

    What a fantastic theme and you look gorgeous. I love the new hair.

    1. Reply
      Penny Snark
      June 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks so much! It’s a super fun bar

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