(First published in the March 15, 2018 issue of City Pages)
Wausau Spokeeasy kicked off last Friday, the first business of its kind in central Wisconsin
Dan Dadabo with his Wausau Spokeeasy pedal pub. Dadabo and his fiancé, Ashley Sampson, are launching the service this week.
Ashley Sampson tried out a pedal pub for the first time last year in Madison during a bachelorette party, and she was hooked. As soon as she got back to Wausau, she told fiancé Dan Dadabo, “We need to bring one of these to Wausau.”
The couple did, and after some wrangling with city ordinances pertaining to alcohol consumption, they launched their mobile party bus on wheels last Friday. They started Wausau Spokeeasy with a small demo route downtown—without drinking—to introduce the concept of a pedal pub to the area. Several rides already have been booked, Dadabo says.
The pedal pub business was possible only after numerous discussions with city officials and through a series of meetings. The two had to go before committees and essentially get a new ordinance passed to allow for the pedal pubs, which haven’t existed. “The city seemed really open to doing something new,” Dadabo says. “Everyone seemed really open to it.”
A pedal pub is essentially a mobile tavern powered by the people aboard who work the pedals to move it all forward. A Spokeeasy driver does the actual steering.
The pedal pub is booked out like someone would rent a party bus, generally in groups from 6-14 people. Riders can start with up to 36 ounces of alcohol; the pedal pub then stops at various establishments. After that initial alcohol the riders bring, beverages are consumed inside the establishment, not brought on board.
Wausau Spokeeasy also plans to have Tuesday night poker runs in which patrons can hop on board and join others as the pedal pub makes its way around town, stopping at partnering businesses.
Wausau Spokeeasy is the latest of bike-based changes and businesses in the Wausau area. The city is considering partnering with Zagster to bring a bike share program along the riverfront. Jeff Burk started a pedicab company last year. Burk says he plans to kick off Street Grins in full this year, using an app to book rides. He’s also working on a program to provide rides to the elderly who live at care facilities.
Finding the actual pedal pub “vehicle” wasn’t easy, Dadabo says. They managed to find one in Madison that was pretty new but being replaced because the business owner was standardizing all the equipment.
Check them out Wausau Spokeeasy on Facebook or wausauspokeeasy.com.