Third Ward guide: shops, spas, galleries and more
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Dec. 7, 2005 at 5:36 a.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
The Historic Third Ward is one of the oldest sections of Milwaukee, and at first glance, it looks as if it hasn't changed all that much since the turn of the century when it was rebuilt nearly from scratch after a devastating fire. Faded advertisements for tonics, shoe stores and other companies that went out of business decades ago still adorn the sides of many of these classic Milwaukee buildings.
After the 1892 blaze, the once-Irish neighborhood became home to the immigrants arriving from Porticello, Sicily, and other Italian towns and cities. When "urban renewal" came in the 1960s, the Third Ward was demolished, almost wholesale and became something of a dead zone.
Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places as having the largest collection of turn-of-the-century warehouses in the country, the Historic Third Ward is once again alive and kicking. Many of the warehouses have been converted to office space, condos, art galleries and restaurants and the Third Ward is now at its most vibrant (at least since the bustling Italian neighborhood vanished).
A walk around the neighborhood reveals a changing and evolving Third Ward. Over the last 10 years, the number of residents alone has grown from just 125 to well over 1,000. The new Milwaukee Public Market, the new anchor of the neighborhood, shines brightly, an expanded Riverwalk runs through it and with more than 90 merchants seated just three blocks south of downtown proper, the Third Ward is sitting pretty. Along with its great antique stores, the neighborhood is also home to cutting-edge and unique fashions, specialty retail and more. Make sure to plug that meter (but remember you don't have to on weekends), and off you go into our revised Third Ward guide:
Apparel & Accessories:
5 Hearts Boutique shopfivehearts.com
153 N. Milwaukee St., (414) 727-4622
Sisters and co-owners Kelly and Mary Jo Mansell believe that fashion is the key to a woman's confidence. Offering a selection of hip but elegant designers like 525 America, Urban Expression and Lucca Couture, there's something for everyone here.
301 N. Broadway, (414) 471-1105
Although a national franchise, each Anthropologie store feels like your local boutique - and the Third Ward location is no exception. Get your boho-chic fashion fix and shop for home accessories at the same time.
Boutique Larrieux boutiquelarrieux.com
315 N. Broadway, (414) 278-0000
Offering to-die-for fashions for women sizes 12-24, this luxury-apparel dealer maintains that high fashion can easily translate into plus sizes. Come in and browse - or make an appointment for a personal style assessment, private appointment, workshop, or shopping party.
East Town Women's Resale Shop easttownwomensresale.com
159 N. Broadway, 2nd Floor, (414) 273-1030
Unbelievably, this place has been a fashionable and classy consignment store since 1928. Specializing in designer and brand name fashions, furs, accessories, jewelry and gifts, this store is a blast from Milwaukee's past. Browse discounts on labels like Armani, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Burberry, just to name a few.
Flirt, LLC shopflirt.com
317 N. Broadway, (414) 220-9046
A fun, friendly boutique where the modern woman can find contemporary and moderately-priced fashions.
321 N. Broadway, (414) 727-4855
Opened in Oct. 2003 and sparking the fashion sensibilty of the Ward, Lela is a fashion-forward women's boutique featuring local designers and one-of-a-kind items from New York and Chicago. A blend of high-end consignment, gifts and a funky space on old Commission Row make it a unique stop. (Co-owner Stephanie Sherman is wife of OMC co-owner Jeff Sherman).
This jewelry store has been rated in the top 25 jewelry stores in America, showing more than 50 nationally known artists.
Metro Eye metroeye.biz
301 N. Water St., (414) 727-5888
You know the neighborhood's on the up when the eye doctor and her stylish frames move in. Offering both optometrists and optical stylists, Metro Eye meets your eyewear and eye care needs.
320 E. Buffalo St., (414) 273-3333
An alternative to boutique shopping, Moda3 is the Third Ward's only skate shop with plenty of "streetwear" apparel and equipment for snowboarding and skateboarding. Great fashions for the non-boarder, too.
222 E. Erie St., (414) 271-6633
Featuring both new retail and resale styles, MODify seeks to stay on the edge of fashion for under $50. This is a can't-miss stop for the price-conscious Milwaukee fashionista. Have a same-season look that you don't love anymore? MODify will buy it for cash.
241 N. Broadway, 1st Floor, (414) 765-2355
In an attempt to create the kind of shoe-shopping experience that prompts the "I must have these!" response, Shoo owner Kate Blake carries brands that she describes as "almost like art." She decorates her shop with antiques, reused tables, and her own personal family heirlooms. The majority of her inventory is European, with hard-to-find labels out of Italy, France, Spain, Germany and London.
Stephanie Horne stephaniehorne.com
244 N. Broadway, (414_ 223-1695
Designer-brand shoes, accessories and handbags, featuring lines by Susana Monaco, Tracy Reese, and Diane VonFurstenburg.
Third Ward Jewelry 3rdwardjewelry.com
241 E. Buffalo St., (414) 289-0886
Handmade jewelry in various media by more than 75 American and European artists.
Too Much Metal Showroom toomuchmetal.com
207 E. Buffalo St., Suite 318, (414) 305-4992
The showroom of this cutting-edge, rock n' roll-style T-Shirt design company is open Wednesday through Saturday 12 non to 6 p.m. Can't make it then? They're open by appointment and also have a full-service website featuring all their styles. We love their Milrockee line featuring vintage renderings of Milwaukee sites and memorabilia.
Furniture, Home and Decor:
Allen Kitchen & Bath allenkitchenandbath.com
225 E. Erie St., (262) 395-7100
No matter what your personal taste or budget concerns, the expert designers at Allen can meet your kitchen and bathroom remodeling needs. They also focus on providing environmentally-conscious materials.
Cranston -- Accents for Life cranstonaccents.com
250 N. Water St., (414) 289-9880
Unique home decor and accents for everyday living, entertaining and special occasions. Bed, bath, lifestyles, dining, kitchen, seasonal and gifts in a cool space. They even do wedding registries.
Dinesen's Leather Only
231 E. Buffalo St., (414) 277-7747
The finest leather chairs, sofas and furniture around. New to the Ward, they also have an outlet location in East Town.
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Paul B said: I saw an add in the Journal for Bar Louie hiring for Milwaukee last weekend. I think they may be going in where Brew City used to be on Water Street.
miltownlvr said: bar louie was looking on east side and third/fifth ward. i hear they are going to bayshore mall, the new bayshore mall.
MKELover said: I had heard a long while back about the potential of a Bar Louie coming to town (see www.restaurants-america.com, the parent co. of Red Star). Did anyone else here that? Any news? Thanks!
chris said: checked out Moda3 for the first time yesterday. i highly recommend it to any snowboarding, skateboarding, cool clothe wearing enthusiasts out there. great selection, helpful staff, and nice space.
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