Thursday, August 18, 2011

Milwaukee Love: The Pfister Hotel and Watt's Tea Room

As you have seen in past posts I love Milwaukee! Most of my relatives live here, and my parents settled here after moving around for many years. It is the place I call home!

Milwaukee is the place where my grandparents lived and the place that most of my moms, brothers and sisters live,  so it is the place that I have the most memories of; the huge family Christmas, the Sunday afternoon dinners after mass at the family church, and the love and warmth of family.

One of my favorite places in Milwaukee is the Pfister Hotel. This hotel was built in 1893 and has been the premier hotel in the city for over a century. The extraordinary architecture and Victorian art collection are just a few of the things that make it so special.

The Pfister Hotel via here

The Pfister Hotel, built in 1893 has been the premier downtown Milwaukee hotel for over a century. It has impeccable  service and proximity to all things Milwaukee. It sits three blocks from Lake Michigan where you can visit the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Summerfest grounds, which host one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in the worlds over a 10 day period, as well as numerous other ethnic festivals, such as Italian, Irish, Mexican and German Fest to name just a few. In addition it is walking distance to the opera, the symphony, the theatre, nightlife, restaurants and shopping.

If you are a fan of traditional accommodations and the feel of stepping back in time than this is your hotel, if not than you should try the Hotel Metro, which is also a fabulous place down the street that is hip and modern and a great place to meet friends.

The lobby bar which is one of my favorite places to go for an aperitif, it is full of old world charm, a roaring fire on cooler days and ambiance at it's best. If it is a view that you are seeking to go with your drink than a short elevator ride away is Blu, which serves excellent martini's and an unparalleled view of Lake Michigan!

Three years ago in addition to their beautiful Victorian art collection, which is one of the largest in the country,  the Pfister installed an artist in residence. You can watch a working artist create their magic in the lobby of the hotel. This year it is, Shelby Keefe. Shelby is a contemporary impressionistic painter, teacher and performance artist.
Shelby Keefe's First Painting as Artist in Residence
"Anticipation" by Shelby Keefe via Pfister Website

The Pfister is currently looking for a budding writer to take charge of their blog. The writer will post about the experiences of guests staying at the hotel. What a novel idea; if I lived in Milwaukee I would send in a resume.

Mere steps from the Pfister is an iconic store and tea room that sadly has had to adopt to the changing times in Milwaukee, on my visit I discovered that the huge showroom has taken on tenants and houses the De Lind Fine Art Gallery and will soon been the new location of an upscale bridal store.

via Watt's website

George Watt's has been in business for over 130 years, and was once the place to purchase your china, silver, porcelain, and upscale cookware and decorative home goods. In addition to the beautiful showroom that covered three floors and included Steuben Glass, Limoges, Wedgwood, etc,  they have a tea room.

This tea room serves delicious homemade desserts, blended teas and scrumptious meals, and recently won a James Beard Award. I have been coming to the Tea Room my entire life and I love the hummingbird cake, the banana tarts, and the delicious sandwiches served on homemade wheat bread. I will warn you if you are looking for a traditional high tea or a beautifully decorated tea room this is not the place. The ambiance is just not there, it is a beige sterile atmosphere with no art on the walls and does not take advantage of its second story location on a beautiful street in the middle of the East side of Milwaukee. No matter, I guess I go there for the food and the company anyway.

via Watt's website

Famous Sunshine Cake via Watt's website
If you visit Milwaukee or even live there and have never been to the Pfister to see the art or to take advantage of the beautiful view or to Watt's to sample the tea and cake I urge you to do so. Both are wonderful places that harken back to the old world and are really special places and Milwaukee is lucky to have them both.

1 comment:

  1. GOOD MORNING DEAREST!!! WOW, I do hope to get over out "East" to see this wonderful city! I LOVE CITIES, whether large or small, but if the architecture and diversions are of this nature, then I am IN!!! AND speaking of antiques and the collection that you purchased and how you enjoy antiques because of their history, I ran across a marvelous poem during my WONDERFUL day last week of devouring TED KOOSER. He wrote a poem (among many) called, "DEPRESSION GLASS." You know what that is, right? My mother in law had a gorgeous collection of pink and the green version. Well, talk about HISTORY of antiques. Ted Kooser's genius comes down to earth in this lovely recollection/poem and it is stunning. The imagery he uses to talk about his aunt's depression glass is fabulous.

    Well dearest, I start school next week. I just don't know how I will bear up to it after this long break that has truly been one of my best ever.

    Enjoy your day as well!!! Anita


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