By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Apr 10, 2023 at 1:31 PM

The heart of Milwaukee’s East Side is and always has been a confluence of good food and drink, lively entertainment and a melting pot of people from all walks of life. The owners of Upper East, a new bar that opened at 1732 E. North Ave. earlier this month, plan to embrace all of these attributes and more.

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The corner bar, which at the intersection of Oakland and North Avenues, is about as "heart of the East Side" as a spot can geographically get. It was the home of The Eastsider for 20 years and before that the storied third shift tap O'Reily's Irish Pub. It was also briefly an Italian wine bar called Baccanera Enoteca.

Co-owners Stephanie Townsend and Branden Joseph – who are two of the six partners involved in the venture – are embracing the East Side vibes while bringing in a fresh twist.

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Upper East is filled with natural light thanks to large windows and multiple skylights. The decor is a mix of wood, stylish glass lighting, orange stools and a large back bar stocked with familiar and unique bottles.

“We’re going to offer a diverse cocktail menu, but right now we are trying to collect feedback and gauge what our customers want,” says Joseph.

Upper East also has four beer taps, numerous cans and bottles from local and national vendors, and will specialize in weekend drinks like Bloody Marys and mimosas. They also offer flights of different cocktails and spirits.

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Pop-up caterers will occasionally bring food and brunch options to the space.

Upper East will also serve as a place for community fundraisers and the group already has one booked for the end of the month.

“We have a passion for the East Side and all of the people who live here or like to come here for a good time,” says Joseph. "We are really looking forward to Summer Solstice this year. We want to be a part of it all."

Upper East will host DJs on the weekends, College "Beer Pong" nights and a "Riverwest Wednesdays" with specials on Lakefront Brewery products.

With four well-placed flat screens, Upper East is a spot to catch Bucks, Brewers and Packers games. Sidewalk seating is also in the plans for later this spring.

“With six awesome partners, we have so many skill sets and ideas that we can’t wait to implement,” says Townsend.

Upper East hired a mix of bartenders including UWM students and residents from all different parts of the city to attract a diverse crowd.

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“We like to say this space is 'severely inclusive,'" says Joseph. "When you come to Upper East you are entering a place that's safe, fun and has excellent vibes. Everyone is welcome to be members of our community."

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Upper East Bar hours are Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to midnight; Thursday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Follow Upper East on Facebook and Instagram.

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.