Spy-Themed Fun At Milwaukee’s Safe House


safe house

In the Intelligence trade, a safe house is “a secret refuge for spies engaging in covert operations.” These places look unassuming on the outside — and good luck finding the door — but on the inside are spaces for conducting clandestine activities.

Serving hungry agents since 1966, The Safe House is a spy-themed restaurant and museum containing mysteries and even a hidden exit. Wandering down dark, narrow hallways, you’ll find a phone booth where you can get an alibi if you blow your cover, as well as the world’s largest mechanical puzzle, where you must figure out whose the double agent. Ladies, make sure to check out the bathroom and touch Burt Reynolds package — if you dare.

Other highlights include a magician’s bar, fun house mirrors, the country’s oldest running Press Club, a petrified cat that’s also the Press Club’s mascot, a key-shaped dance floor, hidden booths, a secret phone booth exit, an interrogation chamber where you’ll be a questioned in an 86′ bomber ejection seat and more.

The museum is separated into different “sectors” — like the Hong Kong Sector, Mediterranean Sector and, the most fact-focused area, the German Sector — with a mix of factual and fictional exhibits and artifacts. In the German Sector, you’ll see a Checkpoint Charlie replica and a genuine piece of the Berlin Wall.

The building is hidden in an alley and misleadingly labeled International Exports Ltd. You’ll need a password to enter, or at least enough sense of humor to make animal sounds, dance and do silly poses until the doorman lets you in. Hint: Control never turned away agents on the run because they didn’t know the password. Enjoy spy-themed drinks, like the “Spy’s Demise” and the “Double Agent,” in a vintage bar. Overall, it’s a fun mix of history, surprises, delicious food, strong drinks, music, magic and secrets.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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