By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Sep 25, 2015 at 8:07 AM

Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward will soon have its very own Camp Bar, thanks to a series of serendipitous events.

The popular Northwoods-themed bar, which also maintains locations in Shorewood and Wauwatosa, has taken its first steps in settling into the space at 525 E. Menomonee St., in the former home of Chili Lili’s Chili Bar and the Holiday House. With a liquor license filed and going before the Milwaukee Common Council on Nov. 3, owner Paul Hackbarth says it’s "full speed ahead" from here.

"We weren’t really seeking out another spot," says Hackbarth. "But, once the plan for Brady Street fell through, we got multiple offers from neighborhoods, asking us to bring them a Camp Bar."

One of the neighborhoods and associations that was knocking on Hackbarth’s door just happened to be the Historic Third Ward Association. So, when a real estate associate told Hackbarth that he was acquiring the building which also houses the Jefferson Block Apartments, his interest was picqued.

"The Third Ward has so many great restaurants," he notes. "But, there aren’t very many straight up bars. There was definitely a void for us to fill."

Some might say it’s an unlikely location for Camp, but the move is an intentional one, says Hackbarth. "We love creating destinations in unexpected spaces," he notes. "And we’re really looking forward to being part of this growing area in Milwaukee."

According to Hackbarth, the bar, which is planning to open in late winter or early spring in 2016, will most closely resemble the Shorewood location; it's smaller than Wauwatosa, which sports a larger footprint overall, complete with a double-decker patio.

The Third Ward space, which will be a brighter space thanks to large windows on both the north and east, will be remodeled to include a large bar and a back lounge with a fireplace. And, although Camp will not serve food, the full kitchen in the space will be retained, with the idea that it can be used as a catering kitchen for events.

"It will be small and cozy," says Hackbarth. "And it will definitely have a more urban feel, but we won’t be straying from the look and feel of what Camp Bar is."

Hackbarth says they’re looking forward to really getting to know the Third Ward in the coming months.

"We’ve always operated with the philosophy that you get what you put in," he notes. "We’re always committed to investing in the communities where we land. So, we’ll be working a lot with the bid to see what makes sense."

And, despite the bar’s recent growth, Hackbarth also notes that he’s not looking to build a Camp Bar empire.

"I’m really not looking to make Camp into a bar chain," he says. "In fact, this is likely to be the third and final location here in Milwaukee."

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.