Sophie Bolich

Event Space Planned for Near West Side

The Amani Place would open as community hub, welcoming guests of all ages.

By - Feb 20th, 2023 02:13 pm
Site of future The Amani Place, 401 N. 35th St. Photo taken Feb. 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future The Amani Place, 401 N. 35th St. Photo taken Feb. 2023 by Sophie Bolich.

When Briana Redmond set out to open her new event space, she envisioned a business that would lean more community hub than nightclub.

After a false start in the Amani neighborhood, Redmond found a charming corner-tavern, 401 N. 35th St., in Merrill Park to house her proposed business. In honor of the original neighborhood, as well as the significance of its name, Redmond called her new business The Amani Place.

“It fit well with my vision,” she said, explaining that amani translates to peace in Swahili and wishes in Arabic. “I kind of entertained that it could be called Merrill Lounge or Merrill something, but the definition of Amani stuck with me. I want people to know that I’m here for the community.”

Redmond said she envisions the business as a gathering place for birthday parties, retirement parties, sports spectating, pop-up markets, health-and-wellness workshops, paint-and-sip events and more, all with the option of a full bar.

She also shared an interest in hosting family-friendly events such a youth open mic night for kids and teenagers to showcase their musical talents, poetry and other skills.

And she already has at least one eager participant — Redmond’s 10-year-old son has been playing the drums for five years and regularly performs gigs throughout the city with his teacher.

“I wanted to be able to support my son and his efforts,” she said. For that reason, Redmond has also applied for a public entertainment license for her son and other live musicians, as well as bands, DJs, comedy acts, dancing and karaoke.

“I’m excited for this adventure,” she said.

A liquor license for the bar is currently pending before the Milwaukee Common Council. If approved, Redmond said she plans to offer a basic selection of alcoholic beverages, with the possibility of a few specialty cocktails.

Redmond is working with an architect to bring the building, originally built in 1911, up to code. Changes will include restroom renovations and adjustments for accessibility. Aside from that, Redmond said she plans to leave the structure unchanged.

A business analyst by day, Redmond works part time in real estate in addition to pursuing business ownership. She is also a member of Premiere Closers, the six-person group planning to reopen the Upper East Bar this spring.

Redmond owns a number of rental properties throughout the city, though the site of The Amani Place is her first commercial property. She has purchased the property.

The 2,566-square-foot building was formerly the site of Natt Groceries. It was registered as vacant in 2017.

According to the license application, proposed hours for The Amani Place are daily from 9 a.m. to bar close, but Redmond said she doesn’t plan to regularly stay open that late. Rather, the extended hours would give patrons the option to stay later for special occasions such as sports games and boxing matches.

Updates on the progress of The Amani Place can be found on the business’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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One thought on “Event Space Planned for Near West Side”

  1. lccfccoop2 says:

    People who actually live in the neighborhood are extremely leery of a new bar opening. At the end of the day this is a tavern license application.

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