And so we say goodbye to another year of drinking, working, celebrating, owning, and cooperating at the co-op bar. Another year of member mugs as mailboxes, broken pint glasses, slammed shots. Another year of watching straight dudes try to figure out which bathroom to piss in. Another year of steamy-ass windows. Another year of Just seeds cooperative’s artwork on the walls inspiring us to try to be better people and cooperators. Another 52 posters for this week’s shows, lectures, night schools. Another year of meetings at the big front table complete with laughter, tears, and an awful lot of dirty jokes. Another year of serious challenges to running a bar with no manager, collectively running the place as a team by consensus. Another year of triumphs in that department, too. Another year of the park next door getting filled up with bicyclists, activists, underwear riders, registrants for the RW24, cookouts, farmers markets, Locust St. Fest, Co-op Fest, snowball fights and cigarette butts. Another year of brunch delivered fresh from our sister co-op down the street. A new library stocked by our other sister co-op People’s Books. A new stage built by Build Milwaukee cooperative. Another year of drag queens, members only tastings, a few new members to the board of directors, a handful of new staff and a bunch of new member-owners. Benefits for Planned Parenthood, ARCOS, Freedom Press, Valid Bike Shop, defenders of the Penokee hills, Riverwest Radio, the Center Street Free Space, Girls Rock and more.
Another solstice party with Kim chi spring rolls, “when u dip I dip we dip” dip, sweet potato pie, Brussels sprouts cranberry quinoa, sweet potato chili, oatmealy-chocolatey-granola-y cookies, and a ton of tortilla chips that remind us that maybe a lot of people are accidentally hippies. The basically neglected, gaunt, upside-down Solstice Bush with some lights on it dangled while we danced in a circle to the Squeezettes as they blasted song after song that sound super similar to the uninitiated. But that’s polka for ya, ain’ta.
We also incorporated the Riverwest Cooperative Alliance back in March and have been building the foundation for its organizational development since then. Over the past 6 months, the interim Board of Directors at the RCA wrote a strategic management plan and came up with a hands on, community-accountable model that it will be rolling out on January 19th right here at the Public House. In short, another year of slow but steady cooperative development.
Thank you to all our members, workers, board, volunteers, friends, families, and customers who make this place possible and make it a fun place to drink.