The dining room at Kavanaugh's Esquire Club

HOW TO SUPPER CLUB

If you know anything about Wisconsin, chances are you’ve heard of a “supper club.” But what is that? In short: it’s hospitality at its finest. No membership card needed. Follow these tips to check this foodie favorite off your list.


Know Before You Go

So, What is a Supper Club?
Think nostalgia in the form of a restaurant. These social spots were launched in 1940s Hollywood by Milwaukee native Lawrence Frank. They were a place to enjoy luxury without the price tag.

Why Go to a Supper Club?
Back then, supper clubs were a place to escape the world’s troubles, and they still are today. Guests come in for a full dining experience. And to mix and mingle with friends over multi-course meals.

The Vibe
Dimly lit, wood-paneled walls and white linen tablecloths. Many clubs exist on the outskirts of town or near lakes. If you didn’t come with friends, those seated at the bar are eager to chat.

What to Wear
Supper clubs are a come-as-you-are type of spot. But dressing up sure can be fun. Maybe something vintage or retro-inspired?

Make a Reservation
Most supper clubs just serve… supper, and open the bar around 4 p.m. Dinner seatings begin at 5 p.m. And reservations are a must.

 

WHAT TO EAT & DRINK

Classic Cocktails
Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and martinis — classic cocktails reign at the bar. Choose a nice wine to pair with your entrée. Bringing kids? A round of Shirley Temples, too!

Tons of Starters
Veggie tray served via Lazy Susan. A trip to the salad bar (filled with vegetables, sure, but pasta and Jello and even candy, too). Smoked fish dip and shrimp cocktail… order ‘em all.

Extreme Entrées
Traditional clubs serve Friday fish fry, Saturday prime rib and Sunday chicken or ribs. While steak, lamb and seafood fill out the menu. Did we mention giant steaks? Entrées come with soup or salad. Potato and veggies. Bread basket. You know, the works.

Save Room for Dessert
Two-ish courses in, the dessert cart will roll around. Choose from a variety of cakes and pies. Or go classic with an ice cream cocktail.

There’s no shame in taking food home. The doggie bag was created in the era of supper clubs.