North Woods-Themed Bar for Third Street
And above it a separate night club with the biggest fire bar in town on the rooftop.
Ugly’s on Old World Third Street will close to make room for a new “two-concept creation.” And it’s quite a concept.
Industry veteran Michael Vitucci has teamed up with Ugly’s owner Nathan Harris to bring a new bar and lounge concept to the area, with a goal of opening by Labor Day weekend. The establishment will be called Uncle Buck’s/Red Star (1125 N. Old World 3rd St.), and it will have both pub fare and an upscale lounge vibe. “I’ve been passionate about the nightlife industry for many years,” Harris said in an interview with Urban Milwaukee. “Michael and I have always wanted to work together.”
The first floor, dubbed Uncle Buck’s, will be a “modern, north woods rustic experience,” according to Harris. The concept will feature a game room area showcasing prized trophies from local Wisconsin deer hunters, kind of a bucks theme. In a recent press release, the decor is described as “warm and cozy.” The interior will also utilize LED lighting, “fun” wallpaper and custom walnut woodwork. “We plan to make this space glow with energy,” Vitucci said in the release.
An artistic stairwell will lead up to the second and third floors, which will have a rooftop patio, lounge and dance floor. This part of the establishment will be known as Red Star. The north wall will have garage doors overlooking the entertainment district below, and the Bucks’ beer garden jumbo screen will be visible from the lounge and patio. According to Harris, the rooftop bar will be the biggest fire bar in the city and will be able to seat 25 people. “It will have more nightlife excitement,” Harris said. “You’ll want to dress for the best.”
Red Star will have a different menu than Uncle Buck’s, intended to elevate the experience. The menu will also be smaller, and will offer shareable items such as appetizer tapas. Featured dishes include tahini and serrano dip with pita bread and mixed begetables, shrimp and grits and roasted carrots with honey Greek yogurt. The drink menu will highlight craft cocktails and top-shelf drinks. Menus for both Uncle Buck’s and Red Star will be created by Chef Ben Crevensten. “We hope to target guests who choose to receive a higher level of pub fair during their dining experience,” Crevensten said in the press release.
Through their partnership, Vitucci and Harris hope to bring something new to the Deer District while capturing Milwaukee’s personality in a unique way. “Nothing really catches local culture,” Harris said.
Because of its proximity to Fiserv Forum, Harris acknowledges that the bar and lounge may attract visitors from out of town. The goal of Uncle Buck’s and Red Star is to showcase Milwaukee culture to anyone who walks through the door. “This is Milwaukee food culture, the north woods culture mixed with night life,” said Harris. “We want to give you a full experience where you can walk away knowing what our identity is.”
Vitucci will serve as the day-to-day operator, while Harris will use his marketing experience to build relationships in the city. Along with Ugly’s, Harris recently founded Ease, a business that connects companies with remote freelancers. Throughout the years, Vitucci has been the proprietor for a number of businesses throughout the city, including Belmont, Murphy’s, Caffrey’s, Whiskey Bar and Izzy Hops.
Ugly’s final day of business will be Saturday, July 13th. Construction on Uncle Buck’s and Red Star will begin in mid-July, and the new bars are slated to open on September 1st.
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