Today’s Thursday Doors post is brought to you by Norm 2.0, two pubs and adult refreshment.
There are two establishments in Appleton that I would take visitors to if A) they wanted to be somewhere unique and drink a dirty snowball and/or B) they were connoisseurs of beer. Today, I am sharing their doors, a little history, and a few photos from inside.
Cleo’s Brown Beam
Do you love the holidays? All holidays? Then you would love Cleo’s Brown Beam. <<-Make sure you click on the link!
Allan Sosnoski was a patron of Cleo’s years before he became an owner of the iconic downtown bar with its year-round Christmas decorations. It was founded in 1970 by the colorful Cleo Brown. “She had carpeting on the walls and the bar. She had dust everywhere. The dance floor was big enough for maybe six people,” Sosnoski stated. “I don’t miss the smoke but I do miss the carpeting.”
Cleo’s isn’t only about Christmas. Inside the bar, there are St. Patrick’s Day decorations, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, Fourth of July decorations…all of it. When Cleo Brown was owner of the pub, the carpeted walls were covered from end to end…no bare spaces whatsoever. As Mr. Sosnoski stated, it was dusty and smoky in the pub as those were the days when smoking was allowed in most bars and there were far too many decorations to benefit from lemon Pledge and a rag. The Fire Department eventually came through and told the owner that the place had to be cleaned up. It was a fire hazard.
Downtown Appleton tavern owner Cleo Brown poses amid her Brown Beam’s unusual decor on May 13, 1991 at 205 W. College Avenue.
At present, Cleo’s continues to lay claim as the most decorated bar in the area, with a few less decorations than in the days of Cleo Brown. It’s one of the most popular bars in downtown Appleton, with a line of people waiting to get into the long and narrow bar most Friday and Saturday nights. Cleo’s allows only so many people through the doors at one time due to capacity limits and fire regulations. On the Saturday before Halloween, it’s one of the fun places to be to witness a plethora of strange and unique costumes among the decorations.
Established in 1993, Bazil’s claims to have comfy bar stools and a selection of 150 craft beers. This is not only one of my favorite Appleton pubs, but it is also one of my beer-loving brother’s favorite places when he comes to visit. Brother always finds something new at Bazil’s, a beer that isn’t available where he resides. Bazil’s Pub has a “beer of the month” and a Beer Club. On the second Tuesday of each month, they have free beer tasting (haven’t done this yet)(really?)(#whatamithinking).
On every day of every month, one can order a Big Ass Burger, along with various other menu items. Patrons can win a $50 gift card and have their name on a beer club plaque for drinking one of each 100 beers on the beer list. Do this five times and the patron’s name goes on a bottle cap. An added feature of the bar…ceiling tiles are for wedding couples, who get to design (doodle on) their own tile.
Personally, I tend to love a brandy old fashioned more so than a beer, and Bazil’s excels at this Wisconsin drink. Last fall, during Oktoberfest, two girlfriends and I sat on the patio at Bazil’s, enjoying an old fashioned and taking in the musicality of a local rock band. It was a great way to start off an annual event, and my birthday, on a beautiful September day. Cheers!
In conclusion, if Charles Dickens had visited these two watering holes, he may have written:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst best of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness happiness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity wonder, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness bright shiny things, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair summer of beer.”
If you’re itching to open a few more doors today, GO HERE.