In partnership with Alderman Joel Tilleson's vision for East Tosa development, Shorewood's Camp Bar will open a second location at the former Speedway on 66th and North Ave. It is expected to open August 1.
With a warm cabin fire, rustic decor and full menu of custom Old Fashioneds, Camp Bar, 4044 N Oakland Ave., is themed like the north woods. Details magazine named it one of the best new bars in America in January 2013 and patrons from all backgrounds can relate to the theme.
"It's a totally different concept than anything we already have," Tilleson said.
The former Speedway will undergo head-to-toe renovation to make way for Camp Bar's 2,200-square-foot interior space and 900-square-foot outdoor patio. Paul Hackbarth, owner, wants to create a family-friendly environment with a cozy, lounge feel — complete with flat screen TVs, large projector screens and over-sized fireplaces — to suit Wauwatosa's small family demographic.
"It's all the little touches; we make it an experience," Hackbarth said.
Camp Bar will be the area's only bar (for now) among restaurants such as Rocket Baby Bakery, 6822 W. North Ave., and BelAir Cantina, 6817 W. North Ave., and will add to East Tosa's destination factor. Hackbarth expects people to stop in for a drink at Camp Bar while waiting to eat at an area restaurant or in between shopping.
"We recruit businesses that will be compatible verses competitive with each other," Tilleson said.
Hackbarth opened Camp Bar in Shorewood in November 2012 right next to his disc jockey and lighting service, Sound By Design, 4042 N. Oakland Ave. To accommodate Camp Bar's rapid growth, Hackbarth built out a back room with a second bar to host private events upon reservation.
Camp Bar does not have a kitchen, but it does serve food. Inspired by West Coast bars, Hackbarth created a text-ordering system in partnership with Falbo Bros., a neighboring restaurant. Hackbarth will use the same text-ordering system in Wauwatosa when he finds a restaurant partner.
The East Tosa/North Avenue master plan defines East Tosa as a progressive, walkable, urban community offering niche shopping and dining experiences interconnecting with vibrant, established neighborhoods.
Once more bars and restaurants are secured for the area, retail is next.
"To get the retail, you have to have the foot traffic on the sidewalks. In my experience, restaurants and bars are what creates foot traffic to give people a reason to come to that corridor," Tilleson said. "I think [Camp Bar] attracts a demographic that will be able to spend their money up and down the district."
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