Tonic Tavern Closing After 15 Years
Bay View bar's final service is set for Feb. 29.
Opened in 2009, the bar has long served as a destination for nearby industry folks dropping in for a post-shift drink. Its expansive patio and live music events have also been a draw for both tourists and locals.
The impending closure is a result of lingering difficulties from the COVID-19 pandemic, owner Paul Jonas told Milwaukee Record. He also cited personal changes and the bar’s soon-to-expire lease in his decision.
The eclectic tavern’s style is equal parts dive bar and mid-century modern hangout, featuring exposed Cream City brick, local artwork and a sputnik chandelier, along with a jukebox and blackboard menus — hand-scrawled in colorful chalk. The tavern, which was recognized in the 2013 Mayor’s Design Awards, also features a dedicated space for live music performances and a retractable projector screen for sporting events.
Tonic’s outdoor seating area stretches from the tavern building — abutting the back side of the lot — to the sidewalk. The patio, outfitted with a wood-burning fireplace and a handful of tables, is open-air throughout the warmer months. In the winter, a sloping roof and plastic sheeting protect guests from the elements.
The bar itself offers a wide selection of craft beer, wine, seltzer and cocktails.
Tonic will continue to host its regular lineup of events throughout the coming weeks, including weekday happy hours, “Milagro Monday,” Tuesday karaoke, Thursday DJ nights and Sunday afternoon concerts. Swing, rock and blues band The Hungry Williams is set to perform at the tavern on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.
Before it was home to Tonic, the tavern building operated as a sign store, though its original function was as a livery stable — and later, an auto repair shop — in the late 1800s.
The building is now under the ownership of Timothy Dertz. His LLC, Capital Real Estate 2, owns three additional Bay View properties.
Tonic Tavern is open Saturday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bar closes at 2:30 a.m. on Fridays.
Jonas did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.
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