I can't divulge all the secrets of Milwaukee's Safe House. Intelligence would have me terminated. Or, at least, the owners would be miffed.
I can tell you it's a refuge for secret agents, disguised as a restaurant and bar. (Or is it the other way around?) I knew the address (779 North Front Street, Milwaukee Wis.), but struggled to find the hidden alleyway door.
Once I located the entrance, I had to face Miss Moneypenny, who demanded a secret password. No clue. "You'll have to do what I tell you for entry," she said. Which, as you can see in the video, was rather embarrassing.
A bookcase slid open, and a passage led to a dining area sectioned internationally (Hong Kong, Eastern Europe etc.) Spy memorabilia covered the walls. Relics included a USSR jail door, a chunk of the Berlin wall and an Austin Powers guitar.
Co-owner Shauna Baldwin, who goes by the title "chief disinformation officer," tipped me off to gags hidden throughout the restaurant. "Want to know if your boyfriend is playing the field?" she asked. The ladies' room has a peephole offering a vantage point from which to watch his behavior at the bar.
Even the food has undercover names, such as Ze French Dip and Bond's Bomb, a chocolate ball with a lit fuse (candle) that I couldn't blow out. The video shows how my martini was thoroughly shaken, thanks to a retro-futuristic device.
Safe House takes the spy theme to the extreme. Baldwin custom-built a hidden revolving booth exit, and dreamed up a "Her Majesty's Secret Service" act with a rising torture chair.
What's the coolest theme restaurant or bar you've ever visited?