After nearly four decades at the helm of an East Side institution, John Sidoff is selling Hooligan's Super Bar, 2017 E. North Ave. Sidoff bought Hooligan's, which opened in 1936, in 1978.
Sidoff, along with his co-owner and wife, Cindy, are selling the bar – effective Nov. 1 – to general manager Mark Buesing. The Sidoffs will continue to own Von Trier, 2235 N. Farwell Ave., which they purchased in 2009.
"We love Hooligan’s and put a lot of hard work into it over the years. But it’s time to let a fresh set of eyes take over before I turn into the grumpy old man at the end of the bar," said John Sidoff. "And besides, I can’t stay up much past 9 p.m. these days."
The Sidoffs say they're moving into "semi-retirement."
Buesing has worked at Hooligan's for 15 years, starting out as a dishwasher. He says he plans to add a weekend brunch and make some changes to the decor.
"It’s been an incredible experience to learn from such a master of the bar arts and be part of the Hooligan’s family for over a decade. John leaves some pretty big boots to fill," said Buesing. "I’m excited to take the reins, expand on what I learned and continue to grow the business."
Ever since the days when folks could belly up to the band playing atop the bar, I've loved Hooligan's. I'm proud to have been in some of those bands and I saw some great gigs there, too.
In the years since, Hooligan's has been a go-to place for OnMilwaukee.com meetings and outings. I'm happy to see the place will endure and is in good hands for the future.
Good luck to John and Cindy. I have a suspicion we'll still see them around the East Side pretty often.
The change of ownership will be marked by simultaneous parties at Von Trier and Hooligan's on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 4 p.m. until bar time. There will be live music, drink specials and special guests, including local celebrities (so far unnamed) and "blast-from-the-past bartenders."
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.