Catherine Jozwik

Comedy Bar Coming to Walker’s Point

The Laughing Tap plans to open in the former Sprecher Taproom location.

By - Oct 10th, 2019 11:37 am
706 S. 5th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

706 S. 5th St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Next month, Laughing Tap, a new bar and live comedy venue, will occupy the former Sprecher Taproom space in Walker’s Point.

On October 3, Matt Kemple, owner of Milwaukee Comedy LLC and arts venue The Underground Collaborative, filed an alcoholic beverage retail license application with the City of Milwaukee for the property, 706 S. 5th St., to be voted on by the city’s Common Council.

The building, which prior to being occupied by the Sprecher Taproom housed Brenner Brewing (which owner Mike Brenner closed in 2017) is owned by Mequon company South Fifth Properties LLC. According to the application, The Laughing Tap has a proposed opening date of November 1. Kemple, 39, declined to comment on his new venture at the time of this publication.

Kemple indicated on his application that Laughing Tap would be open from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

A former Ohio resident who now lives in Wauwatosa, Kemple opened the Underground Collaborative in 2012 in the basement of the Grand Avenue Mall. The venue rents space to local arts and theater groups such as Voices Found Repertoire.

Kemple is also the co-founder of the Milwaukee Fringe Festival, an event dedicated to local performance and visual artists, and executive producer and founder of the Milwaukee Comedy Festival, originally known as the Milwaukee Sketch and Improv Festival. The festival, which just celebrated its 14th year this year and held performances in several venues throughout the city, featured a number of local comedians and headliners such as Ari Shaffer, Todd Barry and Beth Stelling.

Despite the closures of several Milwaukee comedy clubs within the last few years, such as Jokerz on the north side and the east side’s Comedy Cafe, a number of venues continue to book comedy acts. Live comedy performances are now held in a variety of local clubs and bars, including the Pabst and Riverside Theaters, Turner Hall, Club Garibaldi, and Shank Hall.

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