Don't even get me started about Hilldale. It sure seemed like Joseph Freed and Associates were on a campaign to replace local businesses in Hilldale with chain store equivalents, whenever they could. I miss Wolff-Kubly (which they drove out of the mall, only to build another Ace Hardware outside of the mall???) and Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream (which was replaced with a Ben and Jerry's that lasted for like 15 minutes).
As for the corner of Whitney Way and University Ave, I guess I'm not surprised somebody is finally going to do something there. Yes, I too wish they had brought back Irish Waters. But only for selfish nostalgic reasons.
That area always takes me back to memories of my first visits to Irish Waters and my first Qualitemps job at the old Joyce Beverages 7-Up bottling plant that occupied the buildings later used by Marshall Erdman.
It was the summer of 1980. Irish Waters was really new then (it couldn't have been open for more than a year) and I had not yet visited that establishment until that summer. The concept of an Irish Pub style bar in Madison was really new. The same people who had recently opened Still Waters on State Street, had opened Irish Waters. They had this "Waters" name theme going on. The same people opened a third bar called Sweet Waters (and located... I want to say Park and Regent between the many rises and falls of Bunky's... but I forget) was also part of the theme. Within a year or two we began to refer to such places as "Fern Bars", but I digress...
My Qualitemps assignment at Joyce Beverages was to work alongside the regular employees on the bottling line, and do the hardest tasks that they did not want to do themselves. I don't know if that was a written job description, but it soon became evident that was how it would be.
They still had glass returnable bottles then, and when the hardest job was to "throw" the wooden cases of said bottles on the line (and pull out the non-7-Up bottles that would inevitably be stuck in the cases) that was what I did. Miss a couple of non-7-Up bottles, and soon the guy running the machine that picked up the 7-Up bottles out of the case would be throwing the undesirable non-7-Up bottles at you, yelling "How is this supposed to get through my machine?!?!"(SMASH!) "How is this supposed to get through my machine?!?!" (SMASH!). The new-fangled large plastic bottles were lighter (and you didn't have to pick out any rogue bottles) so when we ran a load of those, they would have to find some other impossible task for me to fail at.
When the long awaited dinner break came, we would walk over to the Open Pantry on Whitney Way (next door to Irish Waters) and buy some questionable pre-made sandwich there. No need to buy a drink, as there were plenty of "short-fills" in the fridge in the break room back at the plant (that is until you got sick of drinking Squirt, Dr Pepper, and 7-Up). I remember walking past that little roadside motel (The Merrill Springs) and wondering what kind of business it was conducting, considering that most tourist traffic had long ago stopped traveling down University Ave.
After completing the remainder of my shift (abuses and indignities, as assigned) I would walk over to Irish Waters to tip a few pints of Guinness. At least I think they had Guinness... Now that I think about it... I do remember later (in like 1982) Clancy's at the corner of King St. on the square actually had Guinness on tap and that was the first time I saw a Guinness tapper with a handle on the side. Anyway, I had a few pints of something at Irish Waters. My young self thinking the place was so cool.
Eventually, I would have many jobs through Qualitemps and other temp agencies, but that was my first. So I didn't know that I didn't have to take the assignment. Every night at the end of the shift, the foreman (who I only saw at the end of the shift, by the way) would always ask me if I wanted to come back the next day. For two weeks, I always said yes. Finally after a really bad night of bottles thrown at me, I decided I didn't care if I remained unemployed for the rest of my life. I wasn't coming back. I never saw Joyce Beverages again, but the memories of insane forklift drivers whizzing around with pallets stacked high with swaying cases of glass bottles, still remains. I continued to visit the Irish Waters for the remainder of the year, until the novelty wore off.