Coast to Coast ... Almost

new owners will expand on tradition at Brackett Bar

Laura Lash, photos by Andrea Paulseth

IN WITH THE NEW. Brackett Bar, a charming watering hole south of Eau Claire, has some new “odd couple” owners who bring a promise of upgrades and improvements.
IN WITH THE NEW. Brackett Bar, a charming watering hole south of Eau Claire, has some new “odd couple” owners who bring a promise of upgrades and improvements.

When my husband and I were courting, departing his parents’ home near Foster, we’d head into Eau Claire for a night out. Afterward as we drove out of town, heading south on U.S. 53, past Oakwood where the speed limit is 65, then 55, we’d slowly round the traffic circle dressed with Wisconsin landmarks: the State Patrol HQ, Gander Mountain, and a cemetery.

Passing the Equity Co-op, flanked by fields and a few scattered well-sided houses, there was the sign warning us to slow our roll to 35 mph. Windows get lowered, the smells of Otter Creek and fruitful fields waft into the car, and up ahead, a beacon of light, an establishment, plunk on the corner of 53 and County Highway D. It’s Brackett Bar.

“Welcome to the Brackett Bar. Known Coast to Coast ... Almost.”

Legend has it the place was established in the 1930s, burnt down in the ’50s, may have been a blacksmith or livery back in the day. It’s had the same ownership now for 15 years. Enter new owners: Steve Wallace and Jeff Kassing. They’ve christened themselves “the odd couple.”

After meeting out on the links six months ago and bonding over wintertime simulator golf sessions, Steve and Jeff learned the bar was up for sale and hatched the vibrant idea that they should go into business together. Jeff has a successful career providing spinal implants to patients at Sacred Heart Hospital. Steve, a retired Army veteran and his wife, a surgeon, are recent transplants from New Hampshire.

The bar has many loyal patrons already. A group of 20 will gather on Friday nights, fish for the adults, pizzas for the kids, just to get together, to get out of the house. The bar serves up the Wisconsin staple Brandy Old Fashioned. The dart and pool leagues are already established. There was a remodeling two years ago that dressed the interior in pine boards; it’s a well-lit and clean Sunday football bar. Soon you’ll be able to order up salads, fresh burger and rib basket meals to go with those traditional pickled eggs. Wash it down with a Coke or a tall “Beer of the Month” as they start bringing in regional suds on draft. Capitalizing on their location at the corner of 53 and D, they offer the “53 Special”: $5.53 wings or $10.53 wings and pitcher special from 4:53 to 7:53pm on Wednesdays.

Brackett Bar is a white-sided building on the corner of 11 acres of land. It’s a year-round bar for entertainment indoors and out. Outdoor enthusiasts can earn their “I Survived the Trilogy Bar Tour” T-shirt by snowmobiling the trifecta of Foster Bar, Brackett Bar, and Cleghorn Keg. For warmer weather, close to the bar you’ll find a well-kept softball field and picnic tables for 50 people, just begging for shouting, cheering family members. Coming up they’re adding kickball, volleyball, and corn hole toss.

Steve and Jeff are fresh eyes on a well-established gathering place. They will bring new ideas to it, enhance the community feel. Steve explains: “We really want to restore it to the place people come for a great time, great food and great drinks, inside and out.”

Brackett Bar • 9150 Beaver Creek Road, Bracket • (715) 878-4142

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