Are you looking to travel the world in style, attract lovely women, have cutting edge gadgets at your disposal, drive cars tricked out with weapons and take down criminal organizations that are hell bent on bringing the world to its knees? If you do, You may just crave the life of a spy- or at least the fictional world Ian Flemming created with his Iconic MI-6 Character, James Bond.
For those jealous of 007, there is a place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that celebrates the allure of being a secret agent. They actually treat you like a spy the minute you walk in the door, at least in a fun inoffensive way. Seriously, if you appreciate espionage movies even a tad, you’ll enjoy this themed bar and restaurant.
It is known as the Safe House and has been around since 1966. It is filled with memorabilia and gadgets that are just flat out fun. They also host birthdays and bachelor parties, in which you’re brought to the basement and interrogated. If this sounds at least somewhat interesting, I’ll invite you to read my tour.
We’re driving through downtown Milwaukee and are plagued by that ever present dilemma, finding a reasonably priced parking spot in the area. We find a Secure parking garage with parking for six dollars till midnight, being the cheapest place I have yet to find downtown. What’s great, We’re only a few blocks from the Safe House.
We find a well kept alley and a red door with an awning. However, the entrance to this place is another unassuming red door aside the aforementioned thresh hold, no signs or fanfare.
When we enter, a gentleman greets us and asks for the password. I know the codeword, but break protocol by failing to whisper it into his ear. To prevent any further breaches in protocol, in which my certification among the espionage ranks may be revoked, I won’t divulge the password.
Since I didn’t follow standard procedures, I’m put to the test. Heidi and I must follow the instructions of the gentleman to gain clearance . This includes dancing, twirling and a peck on the cheek. When we’re finished and found to be friendly towards the cause, a secret door opens and we make our way through a short passageway.
When we enter, we’re greeted with applause- as the patrons of the establishment watched our test on surveillance screens. A hostess addresses us “welcome spies! Are you dining or looking for a drink?” We explain we’re looking for a drink. She hands us a reconnaissance mission and we’re off to sit at the bar.
But first, before we head to the bar, I have to use the restroom. I find a door labeled Men, open it in relief and, to my chagrin, discover that behind the door is nothing but a brick wall. This is not funny, I’m about to go in my pants. Moments later however, I find the actual men’s room.
When we find the bar, we’re delighted. At the onset of our relationship, Heidi and I would watch James Bond movies and make jokes while watching. We weren’t being insulting, just making observations. One of our observations, which became a running joke, was that each movie had at least one set with an enormous world map. I mention this because behind the bar resides this classic James Bond element.
We sit at the bar and watch spies being creatively tested at the entrance on surveillance TV. We applaud when they enter. We ask the bartender if anyone refuses to go through with the tests. He replies “Yes, and that they are turned away.”
After awhile, we decide to try our recon mission which is a scavenger hunt throughout the bars and dining room. This is really a fun little mission. We make our way through themed rooms like Great Britain, Germany and Russia. While I find that I’m constantly in the waitstaff’s way, we discover drone videos, moving walls, stolen missiles and more. There’s even a selfie booth where we can choose a backdrop of Iconic locations across the globe.
We also discover the News Room, a separate establishment owned by the same people, which is next door. The News Room is full of celebrity autographs. There also is a secret entrance into the Safe House through booths of the New Room. When we’re finished, we leave through the News Room, although there is also a fun exit that involves using a telephone booth inside the Safe House.
The Safe House offers dishes such as the Opereation Hangover Recovery, which is a beef burger topped with ham, fried egg, American cheese and Maple syrup. Fried C4 Cheese Curds, Stasi Twists and Covert Chopped are other imaginative Items on their Menu.
We had a great time, as Heidi was pleasantly surprised with my find. I would return with friends and family. It is a fun place meant to entertain as much as offer food and drink.