Graham Kilmer

Former Riverwest Public House Building for Sale

Mixed-use building is listed for $549,900.

By - Nov 19th, 2021 01:48 pm

Riverwest Public House. Photo taken April 25th, 2015 by Michael Horne.

The building that was once home to the Riverwest Public House Cooperative tavern is for sale.

The mixed-use building at 815 E. Locust St., originally built in 1921, is currently listed for $549,900. The latest assessment puts the property’s value at $261,600. The property was last sold in 2016 for $245,000.

For nearly a decade, the first floor was occupied by the cooperatively-run tavern known as the Public House. The bar was weakened by several years of financial difficulties, and it was finished off in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Michael D. Rebers, owner of The Tracks tavern, provided a loan to the co-op bar, before the pandemic. In Sept. 2020, he told Urban Milwaukee, “COVID destroyed any progress we made.”

Now it’s sitting ready for the next tavern. “Perfect for investors or entrepreneurs looking for a special space in a trendy location,” says the listing.

The first floor is approximately 1,800 square feet. Above there are two floors with three total apartments, yielding a total of 4,260 square feet of space under roof.

The property is currently owned by 815 Locust LLC, which lists Jeffrey Koenig‘s Vandelay Group as its parent in state records.

The old barroom looks as though it likely hasn’t changed much since it was built three years into Prohibition. Urban Milwaukee has photos of the interior from 2015. For some recent, and well-lit photos, check out the property listing.

Michael Horne reported in a 2015 column for Urban Milwaukee that the original use for the building was listed as a soft drink parlor, which was a common licensing disguise for taverns during Prohibition. Once prohibition ended, “owners Josephine and Julius Brzoskowski fessed up that the space had always been a tavern,” he wrote.

The Public House was just the latest in a succession of bars to occupy the building. It has, at various times, been the Mitchell Tap, Riverside Tap, and Golden Nugget.

“People’s Park,” a city-owned grass lot, is located immediately east of the property. It’s often used by Riverwest locals, and has long been the site of the Riverwest 24 rider lottery.

2015 Photo Gallery

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