Graham Kilmer

Caribbean Cocktail Bar For Brady Street

The second location for Concoctions will add Jamaican finger foods to the menu.

By - Mar 1st, 2022 10:14 am

1316 E. Brady Street. Photo by Graham Kilmer.

A bar that specializes in Caribbean influenced, customizable drinks is opening a second location on Brady Street, and adding food to the menu.

The business started by Hyacinth Nembhardt that has become the bar Concoctions has taken several different forms over the years, but it’s moving into its first solely operated brick-and-mortar operation. Its first retail location was a bar connected to the Jamaican restaurant Uppa Yard, 4943 W. Fond Du Lac., which opened in 2020.

Now the business is moving into an empty storefront at 1316 E. Brady St. that was previously FroZone rolled ice cream, and before that was the boutique Uncommon Items.

This planned second Concoctions location will bring with it the owner’s unique method for drink service. When customers order, they choose both the cocktail they would like to drink and the choice of liquor they want with it, which is served in 50 ML mini bottles. Because the liquor is served in sealed bottles, the drinks can also be ordered to go.

Other bars do a variation of this, like the Y-Not II at 706 E. Lyon St. There customers can order a mixed drink and they are handed a glass with the ice and mixer poured and 50 ML bottles of booze. But Concoctions is unique in both the cocktails and the variety of drinks they offer.

Examples of cocktails, some of which are blended like daiquiris, include drinks like the Jam Rock, made with Lemonade, sour apple and rock candy. The recommended booze, or “nip,” as Nemhardt calls it, is Bacardi Limon. But at Concoction, if you’re not a Bacardi person you can just as easily order the drink with any of the other “nips” they sell.

It also allows customers to configure the price point of the cocktail they’d like to drink by opting for top shelf liquors or cheaper options.

Nembhardt is half-Jamaican and so the drinks — and soon the food — are inspired by these familial roots. She is currently in the process of opening a bar on N. Water Street called Tropic, and she previously described it to Urban Milwaukee as a mix of Jamaica and South Beach.

New to the Brady Street location will be the addition of food. Hialeah Pulley, Nembhardt’s daughter and manager of the family businesses said the food would be “nothing too big, or a major menu, just small things that people can snack on while they’re having their drinks.”

A menu included with a business application lists food like Jamaican Beef, Chick or Veggie Patties, and Coco Bread. The latter is a slightly sweet bread popular in Jamaica.

The idea for Concoctions began at a liquor store Nembhardt used to own. There, cocktails to go were sold with liquor bottles on the side. The first business she opened built around this idea was a food truck she converted to a bar truck and operated at festivals like Jazz in the Park.

Nembhardt said she hopes to have all the licensing in place for the Brady Street location to open by May. She said the space will require little remodeling and is essentially a turnkey operation.

Nembhardt said Concoction will bring something different to the street, which has many bars and restaurants, in the flavor profile of the drinks offered and the distinctive way they are served.

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