Lake Effect On-Site: Bay View

For WUWM's second Lake Effect On-Site, the team headed to Bay View and paid special attention to one of the most distinctive neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Enlightened Brewery and Twisted Path Distillery, Lake Effect's Mitch Teich and Bonnie North dug into some of what makes Bay View so great - its history, its vibrant dining and brewing scene, and its culture:

Ron Winkler with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich and Bonnie North.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Ron Winkler, member of the Bay View Historical Society and the author of Images of America: Bay View, started the event with some historical perspective: "In 1879, Bay View became a village. So it became a political entity," he explains. "It was really separate, and no longer under the jurisdiction of the Milwaukee Iron Company."

Kathy Flanigan up on stage.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Kathy Flanigan covers beer and beer culture for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and her latest book is called Beer Lovers Wisconsin - so it was only natural to speak with her about the role of beer and brewing in Bay View.

"We’re the only state that our church festivals are based on beer - it’s just a part of your life. Beer festivals aren’t only summer, they’re all year - there were just two last weekend. It’s what we do, it’s what we drink, it’s part of our heritage," she says.

READ: 'Beer Lover's Wisconsin Author Shares Four Milwaukee Area Breweries To Try

AJ Dixon (middle)
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

AJ Dixon, owner and head chef of Lazy Susan, expanded the conversation to Bay View's dining scene. Her restaurant is just behind Kinnickinnic Avenue, which is considered the hub of Bay View dining with over 20 restaurants on that street alone.

"I think the restaurant boom in Bay View, and in Milwaukee in general, is a great thing," she says. "It's great to see that we are becoming such a culinary city. We're finally putting ourselves on the map."

Jenny Benjamin reading a poem.
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Bay View is, above all, a neighborhood of people, and a lot of the Milwaukee area’s creative community calls Bay View home. Novelist, poet and regular Lake Effect contributor Jenny Benjamin is one of Bay View's resident artists.

"I walk near the lake or I walk to the library and there are so many things going on. It's such a great neighborhood in feeling," she says. "[Bay View] influences images and lines in my poems - it just can't stay away."

Musician Willy Porter
Credit Audrey Nowakowski

Musician Willy Porter has been playing music around town and the world for decades, and recording it since 1990, or ‘88, if you count his self-released cassette.  You hear him every day on Lake Effect, since he wrote our theme music.

In addition to playing our guests on and off the stage during the entire show, Porter shared some songs and stories of his own. "I wrote [The Tasty Freeze] about a bicycle accident I had one day as a kid. There was a business called The Fudge Pump at the Bayside Shopping Mall, and The Fudge Pump was kind of a tragic name for a business, as you can imagine," he jokes.

(Left to right) Willy Porter, Bonnie North, Mitch Teich, Kathy Flanigan, AJ Dixon, Ron Winkler, & Jenny Benjamin.