Brewery District Bubbling With New Businesses
Plus: New brewery, karaoke bar and event spaces open in the district.
Pilot Project, a Chicago-based brewery incubator, is beginning to take shape at its new location, 1128 N. 9th St., the former site of Milwaukee Brewing Company. It is one of several new places coming to the Brewery District.Pilot Project’s new brewery is set to open its tasting room to the public next Friday, Nov. 18, where it will also debut a brand new menu from food service partner Gemma Foods. The Chicago-based company is led by award-winning chef Tony Quartaro, whose career has spanned both coasts (as well as the unofficial third coast, Lake Michigan). Quartaro has held positions at The Bristol, Balena, and Formento’s, where he won Chicago’s Jean Banchet Award for Best Chef in 2016.
Quartaro founded Gemma Foods in 2020 and opened its flagship location in February 2022, followed by a second kitchen in TimeOut Market Chicago in July 2022.
“Having witnessed Pilot Project’s mission come to life over the last few years has been nothing short of inspiring,” Quartaro said in a statement. “They champion up-and-coming brands and create opportunities for them to flourish — something they’ve now given to us. Gemma Foods x Pilot Project plans to extend beyond our existing offerings with a menu that is memorable, thoughtful, bold, and remains true to our style where the focus is always on flavor.”
New Karaoke Bar, Corporate Event Space Opens Dec. 1 in Brewery District
The owners of a new Milwaukee bar want to amp up your next corporate meeting.
Amped, a private suite karaoke bar and event venue, is set to open Dec. 1, with the goal to “disrupt the meetings market in Milwaukee,” according to a news release.
The 9,000-square-foot venue will include 10 private karaoke suites (eight regular and two premier), two meeting and event rooms, a full bar and catering kitchen — each space designed to transition seamlessly from business affairs to social events. Additional features like, party lights, props and games will dial up the fun in the immersive environment.
The Barley Room Announces Grand Opening Date
Touted as “133 years in the making,” the venue, 1125 N. 9th St., was originally built in 1889 as the bottling house for the Pabst Brewing Company. The German Renaissance Revival-style Cream City brick building sat vacant for nearly 20 years before its redevelopment in 2016.
The space maintains its historic charm with exposed brick and industrial details, while expansive windows and polished concrete floors impart a contemporary appeal. The 3,500-square-foot, open-concept space can accommodate up to 235 guests.
The venue is located at the base of Eleven25, a three-story, mixed-use development featuring 151 apartments and a food court. Blue Ribbon Management, a real estate development company, owns the building and venue, alongside several other properties in The Brewery District.
Wisconsin Pizza Authority Is Closed
WPA, 1888 N. Humboldt Ave., was still fulfilling orders as recently as Saturday, but is now completely empty, save for a couple of tables, chairs and a roll of trash bags.
Owner Luis Castillo confirmed the closure Friday morning, explaining that the restaurant’s lease had ended and “we couldn’t renew the lease.”
“We’re looking for a new place,” he added.
Hacienda Debuts New Menu and Beverage Program
Hacienda Taproom & Kitchen, formerly known as Hacienda Beer Co., officially debuted its brand new menu and beverage program last week, marking the realization of a relaunch nearly a year in the making.
Hacienda’s total reimagination, which has quietly unfolded throughout the past several months, asserts its status as a versatile, unique and approachable East Side destination.
A new leadership team comprising director of operations Jim Anderson, manager Meghan Keyes and chef Ashley Turner, spearheaded the revamp, with the intention of solidifying Hacienda’s identity and making the establishment inviting for a wide range of patrons.
Rock Bottom Closes Downtown Milwaukee Brewpub
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery has permanently closed its Milwaukee location after 25 years in business.
The large brewpub, part of a national chain that first came to Milwaukee in 1997, had its final service Monday, Nov. 14.
The brewpub, which served craft beer and an eclectic menu of elevated pub fare, opted not to renew its lease in June, said John Doubleday, principal of 3L Real Estate, the Chicago-based developer and owner of the Westown property. 3L began converting the upper floor offices into apartments last year.
The 17,200-square-foot restaurant space, 740 N. Plankinton Ave., is now available for lease, according to an online listing with Colliers International. Billed as a turn-key operation, it seats up to 500 guests. It also includes one of the premiere riverwalk patios along the Milwaukee River.
Fiserv Forum Introduces ‘Just Walk Out’ Store
Advanced technology used in self-driving cars, computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning will now be applied to a venture of surely equal importance: buying beer.
As the Bucks take on the Cavaliers Wednesday evening, Fiserv Forum will debut its newest concession stand, designed to ensure fans don’t miss a minute of the action on the court.
Powered by Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, The Market by Michelob ULTRA will enable fans to grab drinks and snacks without having to wait in line. Simply swipe a credit card to enter, select your items and exit.
The store, located outside of Section 119 on the main concourse of the arena, is outfitted with sensors that detect when a product has left the shelf, automatically charging the matching credit card as the buyer leaves. The technology is so advanced, said a representative of the store, that it can handle several shoppers at once, seamlessly tracking which items are associated with each credit card.
New Event Space For Lincoln Avenue
Two Milwaukee business-owners are planning a new event space for the Lincoln Village neighborhood,
The hall can accommodate up to 100 guests, and would be put to use for a variety of events including birthday parties, small weddings, baby showers and more, according to Josefina.
MKE Brewing Beers Now Sold at Eagle Park
The brewery and distilling company announced in September that it purchased MKE Brewing’s intellectual property, recipes and branding with plans to “ensure the future of Milwaukee’s third-oldest craft brewery.”
The lineup includes several year-round releases including Louie’s Demise, a malty, medium-bodied amber ale; O-Gii, a wheat beer infused with Rishi Tea; Outboard Cream Ale, light, refreshing and brewed with a mixture of malted barley and corn grits; and MVP, a hop-forward IPA created to celebrate Wisconsin’s three recent MVP athletes — Christian Yelich, Aaron Rodgers and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
New Restaurant for Uptown Neighborhood
A new restaurant is putting down roots on the North Side, bringing a new perspective on soul food to the Uptown neighborhood.
At Jackson’s Soul Food Redefined, guests can expect their orders to come straight from the heart, said owner Jacquelynn Jackson, an avid home cook who aims to reimagine traditional dishes by infusing her own personal touches.
“Anything these days can be considered soul food,” Jackson said. “So, made from the heart, made with love, that’s redefined.
Jackson plans to open the family-owned restaurant at 4519 W. Center St. The building formerly housed another restaurant, Freddy’s Tacos. The approximately 1000-square-foot space is cozy — just large enough to seat eight people, according to Jackson.
South Side Business Will Combine Arts and Cafe
Maria Yesenia Camacho‘s mom always wanted her to be a nurse, but from the beginning, Camacho knew it wasn’t bodies she wanted to heal — it was communities.
In 2018, Camacho fulfilled her lifelong dream of opening a dance studio, Ms. Yesenia’s Creative Studio. In her next venture, Camacho will continue to expand the southside arts scene with a new cafe and open mic venue in the same building, at 2926 W. Forest Home Ave.
“We’ve noticed there was a need for it,” Camacho said. “We really don’t have anything on the South Side where you can really perform any type of spoken word or any type of arts really. So the purpose right now is to have a space, a very safe space, for our communities here on the South Side.”
The new business is expected to open within the next two months, combining creative coffee drinks and live performances from BIPOC artists, comedians, musicians and poets at a community-oriented, vibrant arts hub in the Layton Park neighborhood.
City Closes Penthouse Lounge
The Milwaukee Common Council voted unanimously on Nov. 1 against license renewal for the bar.
A seven-item police report reviewed by the council included instances of the bar operating without a license, being open after legal closing time, preparing and selling food without a license, operating without a licensed bartender and unauthorized public entertainment including strippers and DJs.
Applicant Tanisha Kelly and bar manager Shaun Thomas appeared before the Licenses Committee on Oct. 18 for a hearing to address the report as part of the annual liquor license renewal process for the bar, which first opened in November 2021.
Revel Bar Serves 10-Day Suspension
On Nov. 1, the city unanimously approved the disciplinary action in response to a police report and numerous noise complaints from neighbors of the bar, 2246 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
In particular, the council raised concerns over an altercation between a security guard and a patron, which resulted in the patron, an off-duty Milwaukee police officer, being transported to the hospital. The security guard was arrested and the incident is now “being investigated by multiple entities,” according to Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic.
Jason Luczak, an attorney who spoke on behalf of agent Haley Pollard and owner Karemih Jabbar-Asad, said that the security guard was let go, and the incident prompted owners to create a plan of action, including a security personnel training guide and other updates.
After License Debate, Downtown Bar Offers Up New Thursday Specials
Red, White and Blue is rolling out a new list of specials ahead of the weekend.
While the self-described “Milwaukee’s party bar” will no longer run its popular All You Can Drink (AYCD) special, there are still plenty of great deals in store for patrons, according to RWB owner Jake Dehne.
“I think I’m being very competitive and working hard to make sure that customers are happy also,” Dehne said in an interview.
Thursday night, or as it’s known at RWB, “The Weekend Pregame 2.0,” now includes a $10 cup for customers with a college ID ($15 without a college ID). The special includes five $1 refills, which are tracked via a wristband with tabs. When customers purchase a drink, the bartender removes one tab.
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