An unasked for guide to: Water Street

Sticky floors and bad decisions

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

I know it’s the season of giving, but I’m broke.

As midterms approach and stress is building, UW-Eau Claire students are handling it in a variety of ways. Some of us are hitting the library; some of us are sobbing uncontrollably; some of us are putting on our dirtiest pair of sneakers and ignoring our problems on Water Street.

Before you go off and spend a regretful amount of money on cherry bombs, there’s some stuff you should know. 

As a 22-year-old who spent the summer both earning and wasting money on Water Street, I’m here to shed some light on those poorly lit buildings.

Dooley’s Pub

Dooley’s is a good buffer between real life and the nonsense to come. They serve edible food and reasonably priced drinks in a building with quiet music, adequate seating and lights.

I know that doesn’t sound impressive, but on Water Street, it is. Dooley’s is a great place to start the night because you can have conversations before your words are slurring and eat while you can still read a menu.

Dooley’s is a family restaurant, so perhaps being around functioning members of society before you’ve drank too much will lead to better life choices. It hasn’t for me, but maybe you’ll be different.

Brother’s Bar

Brother’s is usually my next stop on the Water Street walk of shame. It’s big, has some pretty good deals on drinks and the chances of sitting down are still pretty good.

It also plays UFC fights when they’re on, so if alcohol and violence sound like a good combination, Brother’s is the bar for you.

The floors aren’t too sticky and the bathrooms aren’t too disgusting, so it’s a good second stop.

Pioneer Tavern

Also known as ‘Pio,’ the Pioneer Tavern is the Pickle’s younger, less dirty sibling. It has bingo on Wednesdays, so if your week is off to a rough start you can blow off some steam without too much shame.

It’s usually my third stop of the night, so despite going there relatively often, I don’t know much about it. It has a patio, a fact I learned last week after being there dozens of times over the past few years.


Also known as ‘She-Nans,’ or simply ‘Nans,’ She-Nannigans is the loudest bar on Water Street. It’s huge, complete with dance floors, a DJ booth, three bars and extremely sticky floors.

It has really good drink deals before midnight, so if quantity is your goal, get there early.

If you like dancing and don’t mind hearing loss and getting drinks spilled on you, you’re going to love She-Nans.

The Pickle

Ah, yes. The Pickle.

On birthdays you can spin the wheel to win prizes. Everything from the adequately named ‘trash can’ to a ‘barrel party’ — two hours of free tap beer — is on the wheel, so good luck.

Its floors are sticky and it’s open every day — sometimes at 9 a.m. I, like many of-age UW-Eau Claire students, have a love-hate relationship with the Pickle. On one hand, it can be a fun place to unwind with friends. On the other, it’s basically a septic tank with loud music and a bar.

The morning after, be sure to drink water, take ibuprofen and pretend you’re never drinking again. I’m sure I’ll see you on Water Street next weekend.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected]