Steiney's Pub

Steiney's Pub owner Carole R. Steinhorst puts the finishing touches on her signature drink, a bloody Mary she calls "a salad in a glass."

Ben Bromley, News Republic

Steiney’s Pub clearly has benefited from a lady’s touch. No, there aren’t copies of Cosmo sitting on the tables, and the televisions aren’t turned to “Oprah.” The bar is just clean. REALLY clean.

And it has a simple elegance. The walls aren’t cluttered with the kind of manly chotskies common to Wisconsin bars: No animal heads on the walls, or life-sized cutouts of Brett Favre.

“It has a little class to it,” said the owner, Carole R. Steinhorst.

She opened the bar late last month. Previously known as the Birdhouse – and Bernie’s Lounge years before that – it had closed when the previous owner’s lease wasn’t renewed. The bar is located inside the Campus Inn Hotel in West Baraboo.

A part-time Birdhouse bartender with the gift of gab, Steinhorst decided to buy the place. Several family members have owned bars and restaurants, and Steinhorst said she has always enjoyed working with the public. She tended bar and worked in the food and beverage department at Ho-Chunk Casino before retiring five years ago.

“I like the public eye,” she said. “I just thrive on it.”

In addition to pleasing the bar’s regular crowd of seasoned patrons, Steinhorst is working to raise the profile of a bar she calls “Baraboo’s best-kept secret.” She promotes Steiney’s as a great place to enjoy drinks and conversation, removed from the loud music, wall-to-wall TVs and rollicking youths found at other establishments.

This is not to say Steiney’s is staid. The bar hosts tailgate parties for Green Bay Packers games – including pudding shots for Packer scores — and occasionally offers live music and entertainment.

“We’ll get things rockin’ and rollin’ every now and then,” she said. “We have big fun here for Packer games.”

Before it reopened, the bar needed a vigorous scrubbing. Steinhorst’s husband Bill scraped the ceiling, and she and her friends took care of the rest. She then bought new furniture and TVs to give Steiney’s a fresh feel. “It’s all brand-new, from top to bottom, side to side,” she said.

Her work isn’t done. She plans to install a pizza oven to accommodate customers who get the munchies. No doubt any crumbs will be cleaned up on the spot.

She and four part-timers run the bar, which she calls Baraboo’s answer to Cheers.

“We have a good following out here and it’s a good bunch of people,” Steinhorst said. “It’s a nice little bar.”