Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shaker's Cigar Bar

A Victorian-style Milwaukee haunt

Shaker's is a gem. A smokey, step-back-in-time gem. It's a cigar bar, so as they say — wear your smoking clothes! You will leave smelling like a chimney. But while you're there, cigar smoke lingers — and I'm strangely fond of cigar smoke. I think lots of people must be, otherwise Shaker's wouldn't be such a happenin' spot.

The first time I was there it was quite crowded. On my most recent visit it was much quieter, which was nice. It was a Friday night around 11:00. Walking through the door really is like a portal through time. The ambiance is part saloon, part Victorian hotel lobby. It's an immensely fascinating place and just being there, even sans drink, is a worthwhile experience. Oh, and it's also haunted.

Yep, haunted. There are ghost tours you can take, and I've even heard that you can sleep there to see if you can last the night... BOO! But really, no one is surprised that Shaker's is haunted. It feels teeming with spirits. I kinda love it. I'm always on the lookout for a ghostly wisp of white, but haven't seen anything yet.

In keeping with the otherworldly vibes, you might find mediums at work during your stop at Shaker's. Last time we were there, a woman was reading palms near the back of the dining room and another was giving psychic readings near the front windows — $15 for 10 minutes. I wasn't mentally prepared for a psychic reading. I feel like you have to be psyched up for something like that — pun kind of intended. But if the mediums like to hang out at Shaker's, and it seems they do, I might indulge next time. If there ever was a place to tap into all things mystical, Shaker's is definitely it.

Closing thoughts: Don't be turned off by the cigar smoke. Unless you're really sensitive, it's totally tolerable. Also don't be turned off by my terribly dim photos. The lighting at Shaker's is so moody, it's impossible to do it justice. Add this Milwaukee haunt to your bucket list — and let me know if you see any ghosts!

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