With my home town being Milwaukee, I can safely say that the majority of my shows have been performed there. Some Milwaukee venues are fantastic, others not so much. One of the worst gigs that I can recall was at a Milwaukee Bar that has since closed.
This gig was back in the summer of 1996. As our band loaded into the venue, the bartender and sound man were setting up for the night. Just minutes after arriving the bartender shouted out "I hate this place!" That's never a good sign. We walked into the basement dressing room and found that nobody had cleaned up from the previous weekend. That's not such a big deal, unless you happen to see a rat on a table, chewing on a slice of stale pizza. When I went back up to let someone know that there was a rat eating pizza down there, the bartender said "You guys are supposed to clean up after yourselves. That's not my job!"
Telling her that a rat is living downstairs didn't phase her, but the left over mess from the past weekend really put her off. This was going to be a great night.
Free Beer, but the Water Is Gonna Cost YouThe club was full by the time our band was about to go on. I headed to the bar to get two cups of water for the stage. When I ordered up two waters, the bartender said "That's two bucks." I said "I'm in the band." "It doesn't matter if you are in the band, water is $1 per cup." "Really? You are charging me for water? Didn't I see you give my bass player a free beer a while back?" "Yes, beer is free for the band, but water is not." How could that be? I have never heard of a venue charging the band for water, but not for beer. That's pretty much what I uttered to the bartender, and she said "In Summer, everyone wants water, and cups cost money, so does ice." "Can I have two free waters without ice?" "Nope. You have to pay for the cup."
I ordered two tap beers. She poured them for me. I reached over the bar and poured them into the sink. I then told her to fill the empty cups with water. "Since water is free, and you gave me the cups, you won't be charging me, right?" She stared back, yanked the cups from my hand, and poured two waters for me.