By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — I have to admit it: When I first heard about a possible pedal pub coming to Wausau, I was skeptical. Where would they go, I wondered? And seriously, how entertaining could it possibly be?
Yet, when a friend asked if my husband and I would like to join a group for a two-hour tour, curiosity and my sense of adventure immediately took over. So, on a seasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, we packed up a small cooler and headed to the pickup spot, Hiawatha Lounge, 713 Grant St., for a few hours of fun.
The Spokeeasy has a maximum capacity of 14, and our tour was full. We had a lively group of riders, and seeing as though it was Cinco de Mayo, most wore hats and other festival garb to celebrate the occasion. I knew instantly we were in for a fabulous few hours. I would not be disappointed.
During a Spokeeasy tour, the riders use pedal power to propel the pub down the city’s streets, while a trained driver steers, brakes, and shouts out directions to let riders know when to pedal and when to stop. A bartender stands behind the driver, handing out beverages from coolers stashed on the floor. Pub-goers are allowed a maximum of 36 ounces of beer, or three 12-ounce cans, for the two-hour tour, which they supply themselves. (Alcohol, of course, isn’t mandatory.)
Once we headed down Grant Street, the fun began. Our driver was animated and agreeable, and played a music list he had prepared in advance from his phone. (Riders can also have their playlists broadcast over the speakers from their own phones upon request.) During our ride, we rarely had traffic behind us, but the few cars that did come upon us on First Street passed us safely as we pedaled on our way.
Depending on the wishes of the group, the tour will stop at two to three downtown-area taverns along the way. We traveled west on Grant Street, then south on First Street, north on Washington and west on Third before stopping at a central downtown location between Jalapenos, Malarkey’s and Daly’s, and then at Intermission. Our final stop was the Cop Shoppe, after which we headed back to Hiawatha.
Two hours passed in the blink of an eye, and we wound up having a ton of laughs while making new friends along the way. Oh, and I won’t lie. Our legs burned a bit, too.
In addition to the stops we made, the currently available downtown route includes options such as City Grill, Red Eye Brewing Company and Domino Bar. Soon, Spokeeasy will add a riverfront route.
A private tour for 8-14 people has a flat rate price but there are also mixer tickets available for public tours for $30 per person.