Rollin’ Into Brewers Season at Burk’s Fireside Tap

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Ready for the Brewers Season!
Ready for the Brewers Season!

I have always been a huge baseball fan.  My favorite team is the Milwaukee Brewers.  In fact, I used to live about a mile from the Milwaukee County Stadium, now known as Miller Park.  I was four years old when I first saw a live game.  My dad, my Uncle Mike and I went to see the Brewers play the Montreal Expos (now known as the Washington Nationals).  I do remember choking on a hot dog and that the Brewer’s won that day!  Since that day I have been to many games at Miller Park (Milwaukee County Stadium).

My dad took me to see the Tigers, the Royals, the Cardinals and the Blue Jays, each in their home stadium.  It is my dream to visit every stadium in the United States.  My mom and I have been talking about how we are going to make that dream come true.  We have started saving for our first Mom-Son baseball road trip in 2017.  We decided to head to Ohio, because it is closer to Wisconsin and they have two stadiums to visit.  We will also visit the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Football Hall of Fame in Canton. 

Yesterday was the Brewers Opener.  I look forward to this day every year and have for the past 22 years!  My friend, Deb O, invited me and my mom to Burks Fireside Tap, located at 4711 Stewart Ave in Wausau, WI.  I was happy to accept the invite because I got to spend time with friends and watch my favorite team.  I also took the opportunity to write a blog about the accessibility of Burks, a place I had visited once before.

Ramp at Burk's
Ramp at Burk’s

We knew the ramp was in the back of the building and decided to park on the side of the building closest to the ramp.  There was no designated handicapped parking on that side of the building, but we found a spot that worked for the lift when we first got there.  The first segment of the ramp is very narrow and bumpy.  In fact, if my chair was any wider, it would not fit.  The second segment is nicely designed and wider.  It leads you up to a nice open deck attached to the back of the bar.  There is a storm door that leads into the smoking area and also the door that leads into the bar.  I don’t smoke and would prefer not to have to drive through it, but understand that space and building options are limited.    However, it is a nice sheltered smoking area for those smokers who are wheelchair bound.  There is a little lip of concrete when entering into the bar.  My chair is designed to roll over some small raised surfaces and was able to make it over that lip with no issues.

Beautiful Deck at Burk's
Beautiful Deck at Burk’s
Small lip at door is no challenge for my chair!
Small lip at door is no challenge for my chair!

The bar consists of a larger main room and a smaller room off to the side, both are accessible to my chair.  Like most bars there is a pool table, gambling machines and a jukebox.  Most are not really accessible to me.  If I was only a paraplegic in a manual chair, these things would be more accessible, except for the jukebox.  Wall mount jukeboxes are designed to accommodate people at standing height.  Since I never travel alone, my companion can operate the jukebox for me or help with the gambling machines.  However, it would be nice for these entertainment machines to more accessible.  I love music and would love to browse through the jukebox options.

My portable
My portable “table”

The bar had many TVs hanging all around the room.  It would be hard to find a seat that would not work for watching the game!  Deb O went early and saved a table that was perfect for me.  I was not parked in the way and was right in front of a large TV.  She really knew what spot to pick!  Unfortunately, all the tables were high bar tables and way too high for me to sit at.  I always try to remember my tray so I can still have a “table”.  It would be nice if they had one low table for those who cannot sit at the high bar top tables.  There are people who have trouble with these tables even if they are not in a wheelchair.  A lower table would be better for someone who has bad hips, knees or back.  It also would be better for a little person.

The bar had a nice spread of food for the Brewers Opener.  It was set up in the side room on a higher table.  My mom fixed my plate as I would not have been able to reach the food table.  Even if it was lower, I probably would have just let my mom fix my plate anyway.  She knows what I like as she has basically fixed my plates for almost 24 years!  It is also easier for me to stay basically parked rather than be a hazard to people in line.  This is something that I just accept and really don’t mind.  I understand that my wheelchair can sometimes make space inaccessible for abled bodied people!

Mellowed Screwdriver
Mellowed Screwdriver

There were good gluten free foods and I opted for awesome chicken legs and nachos!  My drink options were a bit more limited.  I usually get Cider Ale, as this is a good gluten free drink.  However, they did not carry that and I am not as knowledgeable about gluten free beers.  I have tried lighter liquors like Malibu, but it is gut rot to me.  Yesterday, I had a mellow screwdriver and enjoyed it.

The company was great!  I got to meet Deb O’s husband, Jerry.  My friend Luke from Trails End was there too.  I really like talking with him.  He is a very upbeat guy with a great sense of humor.  Most of the time I spent watching the game.  Unfortunately, the Brewers sucked.  The game ended with a score of 12-3, with the Brewers losing to the Giants. 

Photo Credit: Journaltimes.com
Photo Credit: Journaltimes.com

Burks was filled with Brewer fans and I really enjoyed my time there.  I definitely will make this trip again during the baseball season.  It was a really nice place to hang out and watch the game.  The people were all really nice.  I really felt like I blended in with everyone. 

I did not use the restrooms this time, but did on my visit before.  The restroom was small, but my chair and my caregiver were able to fit in.  We were able to lock the door for privacy.  I rarely expect much from tavern bathrooms and this one was pretty standard. 

When we left, someone had pulled in next to us.  My mom had to back out the van so we could lower the lift.  When we parked we made sure to park at the end of the parking lot, so we would not be blocking traffic if we had to do this.  This would be an issue if we could not find a spot at the end or in bad weather.  It would be nice if the 2 spots on either side of the ramp were handicapped designated.         

I will give Burks 3.5 wheelchair stars for accessibility.  Overall, Burks is an accessible, friendly place to visit.  They really could use more strategically placed handicapped parking spots.  The lower segment of the ramp was really narrow.  Although there could be improvements, Burks is definitely a place I will visit again!

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