By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Apr 12, 2018 at 5:01 PM

In January, we brought you the news that Boone & Crockett, Taco Moto and both the Pedal and Paddle Taverns would be moving into the former Hot Water Wherehouse at 818 S. Water St. 

And the time has come for that transition to begin.

Monday, April 16 will mark Boone & Crockett’s final service at 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in Bay View. That leaves just a few days for loyal customers (or those who’ve never been to the popular craft cocktail bar) to pay a final visit.

The new Boone

But it’s not farewell for the bar, which will be moving just over a mile north into its new home in the Harbor District. Co-owner John Revord says that he anticipates that the business will be closed for two to three weeks to accommodate the work being done by Braatz Builders. If all goes well, he anticipates they will open to the public sometime during the first week in May.

The new Water Street location will effectively double the footprint for the bar, but Revord says they’ve taken great pains to capture the spirit of Boone in their new digs.

"Decor and feel-wise, people don’t have anything to worry about," he notes. "In fact we’re intentionally building this out in a way that just makes it even more Boone. The space, while it’s three times bigger, is being broken up into sections. So we’ll be able to maintain the cozy, intimate feel we’ve always had at Boone."

In the new space, decorative wall colors and textures will be designed by Colleen Drew of Drew Art, the same artists who designed the decorative finishes at the Bay View location.

Thanks to the vision of Josh Oakes of 360 Design (which you can see in the renderings), there will be four cozy built-in booths, each of which can accommodate six guests. There will also be pub tables and bench seating, as well as space for about 25 at the bar. The atmosphere will be enhanced by classic rustic Boone decor – including the current chandeliers and taxidermy – featuring a small stage area (just like in Bay View) that will accommodate solo acts, DJs and the like.

"We’re super excited about how it’s coming together," notes Revord, "Braatz is  also doing some super visionary woodwork for the bar."

Even the menu will remain the same. In fact, the greatest hits cocktail menu that Boone rolled out a number of weeks ago will be the first menu to debut at the new bar.

Revord says excitement has already been generated among their new Walker’s Point neighbors, and he anticipates the new venue will continue to attract folks from all over the metro-Milwaukee area.

"We very much started as a destination bar," he says. "So it’s really a bonus here because we have this great parking lot, which makes it easier for everyone."

A new patio

That parking lot will accommodate about 70 cars, even after the installation of a brand new Boone & Crockett patio on the north side of the building and extending toward the river. The outdoor space, which will be executed based on plans laid out by Vavra Design, will sport a fantastic view of the Hoan bridge (and, incidentally, any fireworks being set off at the lake), will also house Chef Mitch Ciohon’s Taco Moto truck, which will enjoy new digs, complete with a four-seasons enclosure that will allow customers to eat tacos even on the coldest winter days without freezing. The patio is expected to be completed sometime in June.

"It’s almost like we’re building our own boardwalk," notes Revord. "Our goal is really to activate the space all along the river and around the building. And with the great view and all the activity … you really can’t get more Milwaukee than this spot."

And -- thanks to a new plan headed up by the GMC that revisits lighting up the Hoan Bridge with LED lights -- that view could end up being even more stellar. Watch for the announcement about a fundraiser for that project soon.

Taco Moto

Fans of Ciohon’s Tacos will be treated to expanded hours (as well as a bigger menu) as the food truck gets up and running at its new location. Taco Moto will resume service in conjunction with the reopening of Boone & Crockett, with hours beginning at noon Tuesday through Sunday. However, since construction for the patio will still be in progress, the food truck will be temporarily parked in the lot next to the building.

Ciohon says he’ll continue using the commercial kitchen at Hawthorne Coffee Roasters to prepare food for the truck for the time being. However, there are also plans to add a commercial kitchen to the southwest corner of the new building.

The kitchen, which is slated to be completed sometime in June, will serve as a multi-purpose prep space for Taco Moto, Burger Moto and onsite catering operations, which will service weddings and other events in The Cooperage (see more below).

"We do a lot of taco catering, but I don’t pigeon-hole myself," says Ciohon. "I sit down with folks and really decide what they want to do. It’s always fun, easy and approachable, and usually it takes the form of buffet or family-style dinners. The main thing we’re trying to do is to bring something to the fold that no one else is doing."

The Cooperage

The building will also house an events venue, an extension of Boone & Crockett, which will feature its own entrance, patio and accommodations for about 300.

Its name, The Cooperage, is a reference to the site’s history as a location where grain barrels were produced for area brewers before Prohibition.

Revord’s wife, Emily, will function as director of operations for The Cooperage, which will host a wide variety of events including weddings and other gatherings. But, it will also serve as a music venue.

"It’s very much like a micro-Turner Hall," says Revord of the space. "We’ve changed it over from its former industrial night club vibe ... bringing back the wood, brick and natural materials that were original to the building. It’s a very understated, sophisticated space."

There’s visible cream city brick, rustic wainscoting and at the bar, the former metal bar tops were swapped out for wooden slabs preserved by the Urban Wood Lab, a division of Hoppe Tree Service.

A number of events have already been booked in the space with more coming, including the venue’s first concert: Arte Para Todos on April 26. The Cooperage will also be the site for Milwaukee Psych Fest on May 4 and a grand opening concert featuring acts including Klassik, Whips and High Waisted on May 12.

Revord says that bookings for the space have been exceedingly popular. Their 2018 slate is nearly full and they are already booking into 2019 for weddings. For inquiries about renting the space for parties, gatherings or weddings, email thecooperagemilwaukee@gmail.com.

Pedals, paddles and kayaks

This weekend also marks the last weekend of check-in for the Peddle and Paddle Tavern businesses at Steny’s. Beginning next week, they will also be moving their hub to the new Harbor District location, holding check-in inside The Cooperage for the time being.

However, later this summer (likely by mid-July), the bar-hopping boat businesses will have their own check-in center, thanks to a former ferry ticket booth, which is currently being renovated.

"Back in the day all the workers for Jones Island would park in our parking lot and they’d take a ferry over to the island and back again," notes co-owner Derek Collins. "So, there’s some pretty cool history here as well."

Once complete, the new hub – which is located just behind The Cooperage – will accommodate check-in and check-out for both Pedal and Paddle Taverns. It will also house a small shop that will sell ice and snacks to boaters in the area.

Collins says that, in addition to their regular tours, they are also planning to add a number of 12-seat Duffy Sun Cruisers, which will be available for rental beginning first weekend in May.

"This gives people the option to captain their own boat," notes Collins. "The boats are really easy to drive, and they can use them cruise the Milwaukee or Kinnickinnic Rivers."

For those who already have their own boats, there will be areas along the river provided for boat parking, allowing guests to grab a bite at Taco Moto or a drink at Boone & Crockett. Revord says that Brew City Kayak will also use the location as a hub for storing kayaks as well as a starting point for a variety of kayak tours.

Airbnb

To make things even more interesting, Revord says there are also plans in the works to convert the second floor into an Airbnb, which will feature sleeping quarters for six in what was once an old rustic workhouse.

The accommodations will feature local art from area artists, which will be available for sale. And, thanks to a partnership with URSA, the Bay View-based homegoods shop, all the decor in the Airbnb will be available for purchase in their online shop.

Revord says they hope to have the Airbnb operational by festival season.

"It’s really hard to wrap your head around all of this unless your eyes are on it," says Ciohon. "But the way we’ve laid it out, we’re able to keep all of these things separate but still operating as a big picture. In the end, this project is really this amazing adult playground where you can eat, enjoy music and really get a taste of Milwaukee. And you can pull up to all of it in your boat."

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.