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Remembering the midcentury 'Pan American Club,' a pioneering Milwaukee travelounge

This week on Urban Spelunking we're visiting the Pan American Club, a true midcentury gem on Milwaukee's West Side. Dating back to the 1940s and running for two decades, the Pan American Club, 3816 W. Wisconsin Ave., offered a varied menu with selections from 21 countries.

Photo via OnMilwaukee / Bobby Tanzilo.

Photo via OnMilwaukee / Bobby Tanzilo

South America, Central America, Mexico and the US were all represented, each with their own dish. OnMilwaukee's Bobby Tanzilo found a menu from the original location -- complete with midcentury prices -- along with photos showing the perfectly vintage decor.

Carpeted walls and lime vinyl booths, plus a mirrored back bar take you right back to the era. Photo via OnMilwaukee / Bobby Tanzilo.

As the business grew, and with the arrival of the Milwaukee Braves, the Pan American Club added a motel and parking garage, plus shuttle service to the stadium. That business model, minus the "travelounge," is still popular today for bars and restaurants near the stadium, and shuttle service itself is a Milwaukee tradition of its own.

Today, the building doesn't look much like it did in its prime. Drive by and you likely won't see much activity, as it is now privately owned and occupied, with all hints of its past life gone.

On this podcast episode we go back to the Pan American's golden era. Listen above, and be sure to visit OnMilwaukee for even more history about this building -- and hundreds more -- from Bobby's Urban Spelunking series.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee