Ten Bells will soon be the bar formerly known as Ten Bells. But the new name is yet to be decided even though the space already has a completely different look, feel and purpose.
While many establishments close during the remodeling process, Ten Bells didn’t. Instead, customers have been able to witness the transformation. And it is still a work in progress.
The first change was the walls went from metal gray to warmer tones of burgundy and gold. The back bar was rebuilt and looks like vintage wooden boxes filled with booze bottles and knick-knacks. There’s also an intimate back lounge that’s potentially ideal for a "date night."
"The one thing the neighborhood was missing is a place that’s comfortable for people to go before or after dinner and enjoy a drink in a warm, casual space," says managing partner, Samuel Berman.
The lighting is extremely ambient – with ‘70s chandeliers, candles and a faux fireplace – and the walls have a mix of hangings, from thrift store scores to photos from Berman’s parent’s ‘70s wedding.
It’s a mash-up of Bay View’s Burnhearts and a tasteful grandma’s house. It’s classy meets cozy.
"We only want things in here that have a feel of time. We want to make the space feel older but not antiquated," he says.
But drinkers can’t get too attached to the adornments because the plan is to change them up often.
"We want an environment that’s eclectic and changeable. The walls will start one way but things are going to move and develop over time – change to represent not just the people who operate the bar, but the people who come to the bar," says Berman.
Ten Bells opened in 2009, and although it had a good run, Berman says it was never the same after Lee Guk left to open Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room.
"Lee was a big part of what made Bells really successful. He was the heartbeat, and when he left, the place essentially went into a coma," says Berman.
Coincidentally, while trying to figure out exactly what to do with the space, Berman’s friend, bartender Tom Julio, moved back to Milwaukee with a vision and a willingness to commit to a new concept.
And now? The words "Ten Bells" are still displayed on the exterior despite the fact the interior outgrew the name weeks ago. There is so much more to come, but for now, Berman says they will reintroduce the space on or around Feb. 1.
"And we’ll have a name by then," he says.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Molly Snyder
Published Oct. 1, 2014
In 1937, Alfred Woelbing began making Carmex by hand, pouring the lip balm into the familiar yellow-capped jars in his Milwaukee kitchen. Today the company is based in Franklin and owned by Woelbing's grandson who says, despite rumors, the product is not addictive.
Published Oct. 1, 2014
Here is a list of items I've eaten that were not food.
Published Sept. 30, 2014
The BMO Harris Bradley Center reopened Turner Hall Restaurant in 2012 and it closed to the public this summer. Now, new food and tavern licenses have been applied for.
Published Sept. 28, 2014
It's possible that Sharon McGuire was the first female garbage collector in the city of Milwaukee, but she was definitely one of the very first few.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
Malört, a 70-proof, wormwood-flavored alcohol, has been described as having notes of gasoline, poison, earwax, rotten grapefruit and decaying flesh. Some say the aftertaste is more repulsive than the initial flavor. But not everyone hates the stuff.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
Becky and Scott Berger opened frozen custard shop Yo Mama! in Wauwatosa during the summer of 2011. In June 2014, the Bergers - along with Peg Zanella - opened The Party Room, 7505 Harwood Ave., in the space that was formerly B Green.
Published Sept. 25, 2014
Dennis Erb has always been fascinated by fierce weather conditions, so when he opened his Cudahy-based brew pub he named it Tornado Brewing Co., 3506 E. Layton Ave.
Published Sept. 24, 2014
On Friday, Sept. 26 there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Café India Bar and Grill at 2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
10 years in the making, "Hamlet ADD" will debut at the Milwaukee Film Festival. The feature-length film - created by Milwaukee's Andrew Swant and Bobby Ciraldo of "What What (In the Butt)" fame - includes many Milwaukee locations and people, including Mark Borchardt from "American Movie," Dustin "Screech" Diamond and Mark Metcalf from "Seinfeld."
Published Sept. 21, 2014
The ditching of commercial shampoo has become popular enough to gain the moniker "no poo." Could you do it? We found Milwaukeeans who did and and others who simply cannot.