Shortly after news emerged in January that ABV Social had closed for good at the Mayfair Collection came word that Milwaukee’s Good City Brewing would replace it with a third taproom.
The craft brewer will "soft open" the new taproom, 11200 W. Burleigh St., on Friday, April 30.
"For the first couple weeks we will be open on the weekends and serving beer only as we move towards full service and extended hours in early May," said co-founder David Dupee.
Hours are 4-10 p.m., Friday; 2-10 p.m., Saturday; and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
"We're looking at trying to tie (a Grand Opening) in with our five-year anniversary in June," Dupee added.
The new space was in good shape, said co-founder Dan Katt, but he and Dupee wanted to put a Good City spin on it.
So, there are new tables and chairs that match the GC look and vibe and although it has the same footprint as before, the bar and back bar were completely rebuilt to match the look of the bars in Good City's other taprooms.
According to Dupee, the new space has been painted and the televisions moved lower down (they had been perched quite high at ABV Social).
Outside there's a large covered patio and plentiful parking.
"We've never had a parking lot like this," said Dupee. "This is something new for us."
Back inside, near the main entrance is a small area with Good City swag for sale and a cooler packed with Indigo Series 16-ounce cans and flagship brews in 12- and 16-ounce cans to go.
There is also a room that can be used for small events and, above it, a mezzanine level with seating (pictured below), too.
"It was pretty much turn-the-lights-on ready," said Dupee. "That's what made it work for us. It was just an opportunity that, given the circumstances, is about as ideal as you can get."
Dupee said that Good City struggled last year with the onset of the pandemic and shutdown and never expected to be opening a new place right now.
"We’d been looking in Tosa for probably for a couple of years and then the pandemic happened and everything went sideways, especially in our business," he said.
"Late last year were certainly the darkest moments in our company and we were truly in survival mode."
The new taproom was sparked in part by the drive-thru that the brewery operated at a former bank location in the Mayfair Mall outlot last year and in part by the availability of the former ABV Social space.
"We weren’t looking to open a place during the middle of the pandemic," Dupee admitted. "But part of our approach to really innovate in order to keep the company afloat – our taprooms were basically shut down so we were trying other creative ways to get beer people’s hands – led to (the drive-thru), and the response there was really eye-opening for us."
Added Katt, "When (Mayfair Collection operators) HSA reached out to us late last year about opening a new location, our initial thought was that we were crazy for even entertaining the idea. But a pillar of our business since Day 1 has been risk-taking, and we thought the opening of this taproom would time well with vaccinations and the overall trajectory of the pandemic.”
The venue is something of a homecoming for Katt.
"I grew up very close by," said Katt, who spent his youth a few miles west, just off Burleigh Road. "I've already run into a bunch of people in the parking lot that I haven't seen in 20 years. Like my (former) teacher today."
HSA's VP of Retail Leasing & Marketing, Brenton Schrader, added, "We are so excited to bring this beloved local brewery to The Mayfair Collection.
"As we continue to build and grow this new community, we think that the Good City taproom is going to be the perfect spot for our guests and residents to grab a beer, watch a game and have some fun."
Like the other Good City taprooms, the new venue will serve food under the direction of Chef Guy Davies, who is currently hiring and training staff and writing a menu.
He has a little time because the space was built with a kitchen shared with two other restaurants in the building. While those spaces are currently vacant, crews are dividing the kitchen.
"Our intent," said Katt, "is to start with Good City favorites, consistent with Downtown and the East Side and here, so if you're already a customer, you've been to our taprooms, you know you can get a burger, you can get cheese curds, you can get curry fries, all types of sandwiches.
"And we'll have our own flair out here. I expect we'll have a heavier lunch business so we'll have more lighter fare."
In the meantime, customers can check out the new venue and sample from two-dozen tap lines of Milwaukee-made beer.
"We're comfortable leading with beer," said Katt. "What we built the company on is making great beer and we'll have 24 taps to pour, all different varieties."
One of those will be a collaboration with Ray's Wine and Spirits staff that will be released in about two weeks.
"It's a hazy IPA," said Katt. "It's the first IPA they've collabbed on. They've done a lot of barrel-aged collaboations with other breweries. That will only be available at Ray's and Good City taprooms."
Also included will be the ongoing series of innovation brews in Good City's ongoing Indigo experimental series, which now has about a dozen beers.”
The new taproom will help bring back jobs lost when ABV Social and other restaurants in the complex closed in recent months.
“The pandemic has certainly impacted everyone, but the hospitality industry in particular has been hit hard,” said Dupee. “We feel incredibly grateful to still be standing and will do everything within our power to create and preserve service industry jobs.”
For more information, visit goodcitybrewing.com.
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.