Slackers: This Green Bay Packers Bar Is a Wisconsinite's Home Away From Home
All photos by Jess Swanson More like: Wisconsin, America's Bloody Maryland.
South Florida is known for a lot of things, but its population of Wisconsinites is not one of them; New Yorkers, definitely. Still, you'd never guess it based on the turnout at Slackers Bar on Sunday for the Packers game against the Redskins. A sea of forest-green Rodgers jerseys, this South Florida bar might not be Lambeau Field, but serving cheese curds, Wisconsin-brewed beer, and lavish bloody marys, it's undoubtedly the next best thing. (Especially when the wait list for season tickets is almost 1,000 years.)
"Oh, really," owner Jon Slack says disinterested to the only two Dolphins fans boasting about Miami's stroke of luck against the Bruins. Slack's arms are crossed, and his eyes are fixed on the TV. He grips the remote to the sound system, waiting for the Pack to score a touchdown so he can blast their fight song, "Go! You Packers! Go!"
"I made this a Green Bay bar so I could watch all the games," Slack says modestly. "I'm from Wisconsin, and I guess you could say I got homesick, so I added Wisconsin stuff to the menu. It's the only Packers bar in South Florida, and people come from all over."
The staff at Slackers Bar; owner Jon Slack is on the right.
Slack was born and raised in Platteville, Wisconsin. He headed to South Florida once he graduated, looking for something more exciting than tipping cows. The college grad then worked at a bar, Captain Billiards, and unwittingly converted the space to a Packers bar simply because he would turn the game on TV because he wanted to watch it. Other cheeseheads in the neighborhood began to congregate there too.
After pursuing a career in real estate, Slack opened Slackers Bar three and a half years ago, when the market crashed. Since it was his bar, the new owner incorporated Wisconsin favorites like cheese curds and bratwursts. At the time, he didn't realize how many other Wisconsin transplants in South Florida missed the same things.
The Rapaports are originally from New York but have lived in Fort Lauderale the past 20 years. They have no connection to Wisconsin but are diehard Packers fans anyway.
"It was very surprising to see how many people from Wisconsin come in," Slack says. "We have a great local group of regulars, but then there are always people visiting from Wisconsin who Google us because they just want to watch the game."