By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Jul 26, 2017 at 3:01 PM

Riverwest will soon have a new place to gather. There’s a new bar opening at 804 E. Center St. in the former home of the Peoples Books Co-Op. And it could open to the public as soon as October.

Bar Centro will be owned and operated by building owners Peg Karpfinger and Patrick Moore, who also opened the popular Italian-inspired Riverwest eatery, Centro, at 808 E. Center St., in 2009.

Karpfinger says that the bar, which will feature a similar beverage menu as Centro – showcasing wine, beer and will offer a comfortable area for guests to wait for tables at Centro.

"As anyone who has visited us is well aware, there’s not really much room for people to wait for a table, especially during the winter months when the patio isn't open" notes Karpfinger, noting that they’ve been contemplating the idea of opening a bar in the space for a number of years.

"I want the space to be warm and cozy … and simple," she says. "I love that old world feeling we have at Centro, and this space really has a lot going for it already. There’s beautiful stucco on the walls that’s just been done really well. There are hardwood floors and coved ceilings ... just really beautiful plasterwork."

Karpfinger says she expects the space to seat about 40 guests – some at banquettes similar to those at Centro, and at least 10 at a horseshoe-shaped bar. She says that, on weekends, Bar Centro will likely to have an active host station where guests can put in their names for tables at the restaurant while relaxing in the bar space.

Bar Centro will also serve as a space for events, including small weddings, rehearsal dinners and parties, all of which have been held in the restaurant over the years. Karpfinger says she will also be hosting a variety of events, including a wine and beverage series which will take place the second Wednesday of the month beginning in September. In addition to wine, at least one class is likely to feature amari, she notes.

Depending on the timing for the opening of Bar Centro, Karpfinger says the September event might be held at Centro, but once Bar Centro is open, all events will be held at the bar. 

Centro is currently open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. Once open, Bar Centro is expected to keep evening hours Thursday through Sunday with openings for events Sunday through Wednesday.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.