By Mary Bergin
Special to TravelWisconsin.com
Neon lit outside, softly lit inside: That’s one definition of the classic supper club, but Wisconsin also has no shortage of supper clubs with huge windows that show off bucolic views of forests, farmland and freshwater lakes. Explore these scenic spots and stay in the know about more of Wisconsin's best supper clubs by subscribing to our newsletter.
Inside Mirror Lake State Park, tucked between pines, is a unique supper club with lovely and elevated lakefront views. A little teepee and walkway torches are reminders of century-old history, when the property was a trading stop for Native Americans. Most popular cocktail: the Chief Ishnala, created 60-some years ago. Open May to October.
Steps from the western shore of Lake Winnebago is the newer of two supper clubs that the Blanck family began operating in the 1950s. Now a third generation is involved, serving pork belly tacos as well as thick ribeyes. Linger on the patio, which is heated or air-conditioned as needed.
The coppery hue of sunset on Freiss Lake is like a beacon for boaters and others in search of relaxed waterfront dining, just five miles from the basilica on Holy Hill. Musicians perform on the deck seasonally, on Wednesdays, the same night when all-you-can-eat snow crab meals are served. Look for all-you-can-eat specials on other days, too.
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Nestled between cornfields and Lake Michigan is Gib’s, where nearly all diners get a Great Lake view. German food is the specialty, and pork schnitzel is always on the menu. This prime piece of rural real estate was merely a bar and grill in the 1920s. When three sisters took over for a while, their initials spelled G-I-B.
Windows in this handsome log building reveal Lake Wissota in all seasons, and boaters often wait for a spot to dock. In 60 years, the menu morphed from beer and burgers to steaks and seafood, now savored indoors and on the patio during warm-weather months. Add a 90-minute pontoon cruise before dinner.
Customers arrive by auto, boat and seaplane for broiled or coated walleye, prepared by the same family for three decades. The wait might be two hours on a summer Friday, but who cares? Settle onto the three-level deck for a gander at pretty Maiden Lake in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Picture windows in the high-rafter pine dining room frame Half Moon Lake, but that is not the most unusual feature at woodsy Pinewood. Check out the mascots: a herd of fainting goats, whose munching reduces landfill waste. The animals also fertilize the supper club’s numerous flowerbeds.
What began as a log resort in 1894 now has walls of windows that face Silver Lake. An outdoor beach bar operates in summer, and regional musicians perform in the indoor lounge. Besides views of natural beauty, look for splashy wall murals, kitschy décor and the iconic greeter – six-foot-tall Boris the Bull, a statue added in the 1960s.
Love supper clubs? Browse our directory, and check out seven more solid supper club choices throughout Wisconsin!