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First Post – State of the Bar

Hello everyone! Lynn here, co-owner of Oak and Shield. We’ve officially been open for more than a month, and I’m happy to report that business is good. We were overwhelmed with your outpourings of support in our first few weeks here. It’s been great inviting everyone into this new space and seeing you all stretch out and use everything from the main hall to the patio. We’ve had a huge increase in people playing tabletop games, given that our facilities allow for more comfortable game play, and it’s great to see people make friends with complete strangers over a game again. I thought I’d check in and give everyone a (not-so) brief State of the Restaurant! So, without further adieu…

We opened on April 12th with Menu v. 1.0, which features some staples like Mech and Cheese (with Pecorino and Monterrey Jack cheese) and and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers. Our goal is to provide delicious items made with premium ingredients at a fair price. We make as much as we can fresh, from scratch. A staff favorite: our Mordenkainen’s Cheese Curds are made in-house from a top-secret recipe, and as Thaniel once told a customer, “I’m lactose intolerant, but they’re worth the pain.” If you haven’t had a chance, you should also try our soups– Eddy makes delicious soups that are To. Die. For. Today we have Chicken Tortilla soup, and bonus: it’s gluten free!

We’ve heard your feedback on providing vegetarian and vegan items, and the short answer is that we’re working on providing a variety of items for all tastes. Menu 2.0 will be released when we’re confident that it’s ready, and it will have more options, including some more allergy-friendly and vegetarian options as well as some smaller snack-like items, for those times you want to nom and play a game, but you don’t want a full meal.

Can we talk about craft beer for a second? Liz has really taken our beer program to the next level. The addition of 17 tap lines doesn’t hurt either. She meets with reps constantly to get the lowdown on what’s new and what people want, and I can tell you that we’re going through beer at a record pace. Our beer menu is updated in real time on Untappd, or click the “Beer, Mead, and Cider” link under Menus), and if you see something you like, I suggest you get here and drink it, because it’s not uncommon for us to change over a line twice in a week! If you enjoyed our live video where Gordon tried his first sour beer, then tune in to our Facebook Live feed on Fridays to watch him sample other items!

We’ve also got a ton of really unique cocktails for you to try, and we’ve expanded our liquor selection now to the point where I feel comfortable saying we have two fully-stocked bars. We brought back some favorites from 42 Lounge, and we’ve made them even better. For instance: we’ve made BUTTERBEER FLOATS. I’m not making this up. And it’s not like we just added ice cream to Butterbeer. We’ve added caramel and chocolate syrups, ice cream, plus the magical Butterbeer elixir and a few other items… it’s freaking incredible, and you can get one Right Now. We’ll be offering multiple sizes, from First Year (single portion) to Hagrid (sharable).

Our game selection has expanded to over 200 tabletop games, and over 150 console games, with more screens to play on than ever before. We’ve already got some grand ideas on how to get even more gaming in this space, but we’re taking it one step at a time. Game menus are available from any staff member, many of whom can offer suggestions for large and small groups. On select days, we have Barristers on site who visit tables, suggest games and give a brief 30-second synopsis on how to play games, which can be great when you’re looking for suggestions!

Our first weekly and monthly events have also gone well. Puzzled Pint – Milwaukee (second Tuesday of every Month), QuizCube Trivia Tuesdays and DJ Jason Rocks Karaoke Wednesdays have officially begun, and we’ve hosted a few special one-off events like the Wisconsin Streaming Alliance meetup last Saturday and Rob Wieland‘s livestream of Feng Shui. You’ll see other events pop up on our events section of Facebook soon– I HIGHLY recommend following our events page so you don’t miss out! Got an event idea or a game night that you want to host here? Feel free to fill out this form: http://www.boardgamebarrister.com/events/host-an-event/. Want to reserve a space for your own private event? Email us at events@oakandshieldpub.com.

Finally, we’re just about where we want to be in terms of staffing, but we’re always happy to accept resumes! To apply, send a resume to jobs@42lounge.com, or apply through this link: http://www.boardgamebarrister.com/job-opportunities/

If you have other suggestions on how we can improve, we’d love to hear them! Stop in, grab a game and a beer and say hi!