Brewed Omen, a new beer taphouse is expected to open later this summer in the lower level of the 1886 Millstream Building, 120 N. Main St., in downtown Hartford.
The taphouse – opened by Bill and Ane Ohm in the building, which they bought in 2020 – will focus on beers brewed within two hours of Hartford.
“It was something we were interested in putting together,” said Bill Ohm. “We were aware of the city’s vision, and then the opportunity presented itself when my wife’s business (Staffing Support Specialists) had to relocate.”
That business occupies offices on the building’s second floor.
The tap – which will also have a patio overlooking the Rubicon River – expects to hire eight employees over the coming three years.
The venue will open with the assistance of a $159,000 Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) grant that will help fund renovations, including electrical, HVAC and bathroom work on the 2,600-square-foot lower level.
“A taphouse like Brewed Omen should serve as an attractive gathering spot for Hartford residents and visitors alike,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.
“We’re proud to support this project, as it should offer immense economic and cultural value to downtown Hartford.”
“The grant from WEDC was critical to our financing,” Ohm added. “I don’t think we would have proceeded without it.”
In addition to craft beers, cocktails, a curated wine list and a selection of bourbons, Brewed Omen will also have shareable noshes.
“As long-time Hartford residents ourselves, we wanted to provide a gathering place to connect in good company and toast to the late local legend Henry Hackendahl, former tavern owner and friendly neighborhood spirit,” the Ohms wrote on the Brewed Omen website.
“Brewed Omen is an ode to our eclectic community and one of its most iconic characters.”
The Millstream Building has been a Hartford fixture for decades and, according to WEDC, has been home to businesses that have offered meat storage, funerals, indoor golf and other uses.
The main floor has two retail spaces. Hartford Area Development Corporation has offices on the second floor.
“The track record of success for recent building redevelopments, but especially Ohm’s, could inspire others to look at available property downtown in a new way and see possibilities, where maybe they mostly saw challenges before,” said Hartford’s Director of Community Development Justin Drew.
“Our vacancy rate is one of the lowest it’s been in over a decade, so downtown is definitely trending in the right direction and this project is an important part of that.”
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.