We call ourselves here Well-Met Men, from the saying ‘Hail-fellow, well-met‘, but it is just our term for gentlemen and also infers modern men, renaissance men, and other manner of men trying to be the best they can be. One of the goals of Well-Met Men, founded in and focused on Milwaukee, is to promote businesses and services that cater to men on the quest for perfection – and as it turns out Milwaukee seems to be a great place to do so. Whether it be food, fashion, philanthropy or other pursuits, Milwaukee has evolved into a place where men can find ways to achieve wellness. Many of us in Milwaukee have known it, but now the word is spreading and we are getting national attention.
The very character of Milwaukee may have something to do with this. Along with other Rust Belt cities, Milwaukee’s ties to blue-collar work including manufacturing and farming have kept it grounded and a place where the man’s man can feel welcome side by side with cosmopolitan activities like the arts. When some of the most prominent businesses in town include such man-invoking imagery such as Harley-Davidson, Miller Brewing, and Allen-Bradley it is hard for the city to shed those roots and go overly chic. And so it is that though Milwaukee has developed centers of art, fashion, and food – albeit slower than other larger more well-known cities – in many ways they have developed with the flavor of Milwaukee, and thus are more welcome to men. For example, other than our products like bikes and beer, the Milwaukee Art Museum Quadracci Pavilion designed by Santiago Calatrava has of course become one of the best known features of Milwaukee around the world. Though it is highly stylized and could be too chic for men, it is attached to a Veterans’ center and the feat of engineering to make the Burke Brise Soleil roof move adds that little touch of masculinity to it not to mention its nod to the lake and sailing. Recently, our performing arts scene has had productions like Packer Fans from Outer Space and a version of Shakespeare’s Othello with bikers that cater to men as an audience.
I could go on for pages about the manly things to do in Milwaukee, but this entire project is about that and you can search the site for lots of information. Instead here are some recent awards and reviews by people outside Milwaukee as proof that we are being discovered as the Mecca for the Modern Man. You will see how many of the people, places, and products keep that masculine focus.
- Chicago Magazine discusses Milwaukee’s foodie scene mentioning man-friendly places like The Rumpus Room, Carnevor, Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and recommends Bolzano Artisan Meats (mmm sausages) and the Iron Horse Hotel.
- The Iron Horse Hotel, perhaps the epitome of Milwaukee men’s style, has received many awards including AAA Four Diamond Award 2010 and 2011, Ranked #10 in the nation on Conde Nast Traveler’s 2011 Gold List, Ranked #11 of all U.S. hotels on TripAdvisor.com, Tablet10 of the Americas: Top 10 New Hotels (2010), “Once in a Lifetime Hotels” (book published in Taiwan), and ASID Wisconsin Design Award – hotel guest rooms (2009) among others.
- Kyle Cherek and the Wisconsin Foodie show were named among PBS’s Top Food Videos for 2011.
- Stag Barbershop recently made Details Magazine’s list of 16 Best Barbershops in America.
- Speaking of grooming, one of the experts on men’s grooming – specifically shaving – the Sharpologist, is from the Milwaukee area.
- The Milwaukee Brewers Miller Park was LEED certified as a green building.
- Extending outside the US, UK’s The Guardian talked about Milwaukee as ‘Chicago’s cool baby sister’: ‘with retro drive-ins, micro-breweries and boutique art galleries, it’s the perfect place for a hip city break’ and highlights places like the Iron Horse Hotel, the Foundation bar, Leon’s custard, Honeypie and Comet Cafe, Rockerbox independent bike festival, and more.
- From the social, philanthopic aspect, The Guardian also mentioned Milwaukee as a sustainability trailblazer calling us ‘a leading example of a city that has transformed in recent years.’
- Our own Will Allen of Growing Power is a leading man in urban farming and has received many national and global accolades.
As you can see, Milwaukee is being recognized, and it is high time we recognize it ourselves. This space is always here to promote the combination of Milwaukee, men, and manners; but let’s all take a hand in continuing to make Milwaukee a Well-Met place.