Sophie Bolich

New Cocktail Lounge Will Celebrate Bay View History

17th Ward Cocktail Lounge plans to open near corner of Bay Street and Kinnickinnic.

By - Apr 16th, 2024 06:11 pm
Site of future 17th Ward Cocktail Lounge, 2160 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Photo taken April 16, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

Site of future 17th Ward Cocktail Lounge, 2160 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Photo taken April 16, 2024 by Sophie Bolich.

Neat, spirited, straight-up. These words are all cocktail descriptors, but could also apply to Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.

An upcoming business, 17th Ward Cocktail Lounge, plans to showcase both.

“We’re trying to essentially embrace the history of Bay View,” said Madalynn Park, who will co-own the cocktail lounge, 2160 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., with her mom, Cary.

The mother-daughter team, along with their extended family, are longtime Bay View residents. In fact, Madalynn’s grandparents attended grade school in the neighborhood, she said. Today, most of the family resides on the same block of Kinnickinnic Avenue.

After decades of living in and loving the area, the Parks said they aim to share and celebrate the neighborhood’s past and present — all while serving an assortment of seasonal craft cocktails and other beverages.

“We kind of have our own little thing going on here,” Madalynn said. “I have really just been proud to be a part of the community for so long and to live in a really diverse, comfortable space for everyone. I feel like we want to uphold that within the [business] as well.”

The name 17th Ward is a nod to the 1887 annexation of the Village of Bay View by Milwaukee, at which time it became the city’s 17th ward. Additional pieces of history and lore will be expressed through the decor and atmosphere of the finished lounge, Madalynn said.

For now, the Parks, along with their friends and investors, Marco Flores and Oscar Mendez, are working to build out the storefront.

The 2,200-square-foot space is located at ground level of the KinetiK apartment building, immediately north of the soon-to-open Paloma Taco and Tequila. The lounge faces Kinnickinnic Avenue, and will eventually feature an outdoor patio.

As for the cocktails, Madalynn said the full menu is still a work in progress; however, the lounge is sure to focus on seasonal ingredients, with offerings rotating at least four times per year.

17th Ward also plans to offer a selection of wine, with an emphasis on South American and Spanish varieties, as well as non-alcoholic beverages and local beer.

Madalynn and Cary, both industry veterans, have collectively worked in the hospitality sector for nearly 40 years. Over time, Madalynn said she’s become skilled at understanding the nuances of wine and craft beer, creating food and beverage pairings and layering flavors to create a delicious drink.

“There’s a lot of different places we’ve worked at that have helped us learn how we want to create our own space,” she said. “I’ve just really enjoyed making a lot of cool cocktails over the years.”

An opening date for 17th Ward will depend on construction and licensing timelines, Madalynn said, though she noted the plan is to open by the end of this summer.

Several other businesses are slated to join 17th Ward in the building. MochinutNi Burmese and more have recently requested permits at the address. The new additions would fill the building’s remaining retail spaces.

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Categories: Food & Drink

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