Milwaukee’s first large brewery was founded in 1844 by a German immigrant, Jacob Best. Under the guidance of his son Phillip Best and Phillip’s son-in-law, Frederick Pabst, the small, local Best Brewing Company grew into the Pabst Brewing Company, America’s largest brewery from the late 1800s until 1946. Pabst closed their brewery in Milwaukee in 1996, leaving the original buildings for Milwaukee to claim as historic landmarks.
Best Place, named to honor the legacy of the brewery’s founder, is located in the corporate headquarters of the historic Pabst Brewery. The building was built in 1858 and was originally Jefferson Public School, one of Milwaukee’s only 1st-12th grade schools. The brewery bought the school from the city and converted it into their corporate headquarters in 1890.
Best Place was founded by Jim Haertel, a Milwaukee native with passions for beer and for historic preservation. When he laid his eyes on the Pabst Brewery, his two passions became one, and there was no turning back. He sent his offer to buy the brewery on September 11th, 2001, claiming that not even a terrorist attack would keep him from following his dream. After navigating the legal landscape, Jim was awarded the buildings that are now called Best Place, and he opened for business in 2009.
Since then, Jim and his family have revitalized the building and have inspired others to bring the entire brewery back to life. Best Place now operates a gift shop of historic beer memorabilia, daily beer history tours, a coffee shop, public tavern, and two beautiful event halls used for weddings, corporate functions, and many other varieties of parties and celebrations.
Frederick Pabst at his desk, in his office, overseeing operations at the brewery.
Come be a part of history at Best Place!
Experience a small piece of American history and surround yourself with Old-World charm. If you’re looking for a unique, one of a kind, “BEST PLACE” for your wedding, or simply a cold beer, look no further than Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery!