Straight Narrow Way Missionary Bible Church

Pabst, Schlitz, and Blatz—all former local Milwaukee breweries that gave Miller (also a Milwaukee brewery) plenty of competition in their day—once constructed their own saloons/taverns as outlets for selling their beer. You can still find these old taverns scattered around Milwaukee, largely repurposed as restaurants or other types of businesses.

About once a month I drive past this one, at the corner of 14th Street and Juneau Avenue. It has found new life as the Straight Narrow Way Missionary Baptist Church.

Former Pabst Tavern

But the original signage remains, carved in stone (literally 🙂 ), to remind us of the establishment’s initial identity. In this photo you can see the Pabst sign right between the two middle windows on the second floor.

Another giveaway that this was once a Pabst tavern is the architecture: the rooftop battlements and the crenellated tower. As you can see in the photo below from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s website, the Pabst brewery complex (which sprawled across several city blocks) looked like a medieval fortress.

Pabst Brewing Company Complex (photo via Wisconsin Historical Society)

I’ve never known why. Possibly a nod to founder Jacob Best’s German roots?

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. My blog is a space for playing with ideas about creativity, innovation, lifelong learning, and the nature of "insight."
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2 Responses to Straight Narrow Way Missionary Bible Church

  1. What a cool building! I love the leaded glass windows on the first floor — they seem in keeping with the rest of the structure. i wonder if they are original to the bar?

    • You know, I’m going to have to drive past again. I’m pretty sure that those were modern security-type glass block windows, but as I look at the photo now, they do sort of have that look of that thick, old-fashioned German hand-blown leaded glass. I’ll probably go past again in about two weeks, so I’ll double check 😄

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