Black Forest Pub and Grill

Three Lakes, Wis.


Black Forest History

The history of the Black Forest Pub & Grille dates back to 1934 when it first became the local tavern.

Prior to that, the building served as both the Western Union and a dentist office. Its original proprietor, Orville Basch, commissioned architect Frederick “Cy” Williams (former Major League Baseball player and one of the most prominent home run hitters of his time) to design the building after the beer gardens of Germany’s Black Forest and the attractive Old Heidelberg Inn at Chicago’s 1933 World’s Fair.

This is an early photo of the Black Forest Pub & Grille as a tavern in 1936. In 1940, the dining room, which features beamed cathedral ceilings, was added to the original tavern building to accommodate the steady growth of Northwoods tourism. A bowling alley was also added for the enjoyment of league and casual players.

This photo of the restaurant taken in 1977 depicts the appearance when the bowling alley was part of the building. Sadly, in the mid-1990s a roof caved-in over the alley and the bowling was replaced with a game room, which today, continues to offer entertaining games for children and adult guests, including pool table, darts, and video games.

Black Forest 85+ years later...

Experience Gemütlichkeit.

In 2014, the owners wanted to capture the essence of Gemütlichkeit: good food, good company, a drink or two, and plenty of time to enjoy it all. To do so, much of the building was renovated. While the structure and character were left intact (including the bar, still the 1934 original), electrical, plumbing, and HVAC updates were made, new carpet was installed in the dining room and a fireplace and booths were added for enhanced comfort.

Through more than 85 years of serving the communities of Three Lakes and beyond, the Black Forest Pub & Grille remains a popular destination.