Jul 15, 2020

A commoner dines (and drinks) at the Brazen Head Pub, West Bend, Wis.

Whenever I begin an extended work assignment out of town, one of the first things I do to help acquaint myself with the area is to find a place I can call my “regular” hangout during weeknights.  Not every night.  But a chill, low-key and above all, comfortable place I can frequent once or twice a week and feel welcome.    

On my first night in West Bend, Wis., I was fortunate enough to find such a place when I walked into the Brazen Head Pub in the city’s historic downtown district.

In full disclosure, I knew very little about West Bend before I had to work there.  It’s certainly not on most short lists of “must see” destinations in Wisconsin.  With a population barely over 30,000, West Bend rests in the south-central part of the state about 30 minutes northwest of Milwaukee.  The surrounding area is typical rural Wisconsin scenery shaped by glaciers eons ago.  Perhaps what’s really noteworthy about West Bend is that there’s nothing noteworthy about it.  The town does seem like a perfectly fine place to live and raise a family though.  

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...