By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 02, 2009 at 11:39 AM Photography: Whitney Teska

Dawn and Craig Bloomfield describe themselves as "professional bar hoppers" who dreamed of opening their own lounge. So, when the opportunity came along, the couple jumped at it. They plan to open their bar and restaurant, called Club Charlies, 320 E. Menomonee St., on April 15.

"Cross your fingers," says Dawn. "We’re shooting to open for Gallery Night."

Club Charlies -- which Dawn hopes customers will refer to simply as "Charlies" -- will feature a nice, no-nonsense experience that’s intended to appeal to people all of types, from the business crowd to MIAD students.

The drink menu will reflect this by offering a wide variety of spirits including beer, martinis and ice cream drinks. Charlies will also have three kinds of Point beer on tap at all times, along with Guinness, Miller and a few others, says Dawn.

Dawn spent time in Chicago and Manhattan bars researching the scenes there. She was excited by the popularity of old timey drinks like the brandy alexander and the side car, and hopes to mix up classic cocktails for Charlies customers.

Smoking will be permitted at Charlies.

Charlies will feature a simple food menu, with daily chalkboard specials and a Charlies burger that’s hand-pattied and made from beef and sausage. The kitchen will open at 11 a.m. every day for lunch and stay open until late in the evening.

"Our food will be consistently good, but we see ourselves as a bar that serves food," says Dawn. "Not the other way around."

The space is about 2,000 sq. ft. -- with the capacity for 120 customers -- and is currently under construction by Briohn Builders. The Bloomfields signed the lease in November and started the renovation project in mid-January. Local artist Monika Essen designed the space and created a large art piece that serves as the centerpiece for the bar. Dawn says she plans to have gallery shows for future Gallery Nights.

"We’ll always specialize in the art of cocktail making, of course," says Dawn.

The Bloomfields live in the Third Ward and hope Charlies will fill a niche for a casual, neighborhood lounge. Dawn is also a wedding / family photographer and Craig works in retail.

"We’ve been married for a long time, we don’t have any kids, we love to go out and meet people, so opening a bar is perfect for us," says Dawn.

The bar’s name comes from Dawn’s grandfather, a Detroit-based bootlegger-turned-mechanic who owned his own repair shop and referred to most of  his customers as "Charlie."

"If he liked you, he called you ‘Charlie’," says Dawn. "It was a name of endearment. So that’s how we’re thinking of our customers: as a bunch of Charlies."

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.