Nomad Nacional opened as a pop-up in May with sprawling patios, bright ambience and colorful décor, a global street food menu, its own delicious Good City ¡Nomad! Summer Ale and plenty of space for events through at least November. But the Latin-inspired bar and restaurant in Walker’s Point really opened for one big, awesome reason: the FIFA World Cup.
Construction, preparations and, at last, final touches proceeded at a Neymar-like pace this spring, and now Nomad Nacional’s comprehensively spectacular 2018 FanZone is ready for a month of futbol and fun during the World Cup, June 14 to July 15.
Nomad Nacional, 625 S. 5th St., will show every game, hold special events, host food trucks and vendors, provide live music on the weekends and other entertainment, support local artists and charitable organizations, offer VIP rentals, soccer activities and other games and promote community, positivity and togetherness during the planet’s premier sporting event.
We got a look around Nacional’s vast and vivid Nomad Global Village, and found a vibrant, well-planned, all-encompassing and soon-to-be raucous setup.
"Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, there’s something cool here for everyone," said Matt Sievers, Caravan Hospitality Group's VP of marketing.
Of course, Nacional’s interior bars and restaurant will be open for business, but the real party is outside. In an open lot on the south patio, there is a jumbotron, 16x9 feet, as well as other TVs. There are two outdoor bars, two custom shipping containers that can be rented out as VIP areas by groups to watch their favorite teams, a stage at the west end for live music, a kitchen serving the international-flavored menu and a mist tent for cooling off.
In the nearby alley, an old garage has been converted into a coffee and merchandise store – the tournament is in Russia and many of the games start at 7 and 10 a.m., so coffee will be clutch. In a lot to the west of Nacional, also owned by Caravan CEO Mike Eitel, are soccer activities like a 1v1 cage and a speed kick game.
The larger north patio will be a more chill environment – less chanting, screaming diehards and more relaxed, soccer-adjacent fans of summer fun. There will be a couple of TVs, as well as a refreshing slushy station and a newly installed sandy area with Adirondack chairs for lounging.
All over the massive space is dazzling, jaw-dropping art. Walker's Point Creative Collective has painted huge, colorful murals on the exterior of Nomad Nacional, abandoned railroad cars and other outbuildings on each side of the alley behind it. Nomad is also inviting local artists to improvise and beautify other parts of the property, including a giant pepper from the former La Fuente restaurant.
Throughout the World Cup, Nacional will have auxiliary events and attractions going on during and apart from the soccer matches. The Opening Day Block Party gets the celebration started on Thursday, and a "Welcome to Russia" Happy Hour will feature a Stoli vodka ice luge and bombs from noon until 5 p.m., with a ribbon-cutting by Eitel and District 12 Ald. Jose Perez.
Other events include East Side Pilates Yoga at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 16; a Father’s Day barbecue (and Milwaukee Wave Day) on Sunday, June 17; the Polish Moon Ride on Friday, June 22; Soccer Mom Day and America SCORES Games on Sunday, June 24; Mondo Lucha wrestling on Friday, July 13; and the World Cup Final Block Party on Sunday, July 15.
There will be two Vendor Villages – Too Much Metal will be open June 14-17, June 21-24, June 27 to July 3, July 6-11 and July 13-15; and the popular Newaukee Night Market will have a pop-up from June 28-30, with local art, crafts and food.
Food trucks Milwaukee Pretzel Company, Red Light Ramen, Pete’s Pops, Freshfin Poke, Caravan and Valentine Coffee will be on site. And proceeds from some sales, including the Good City ¡Nomad! Summer Ale, will benefit Hunger Task Force’s The Farm, America SCORES Milwaukee and Milwaukee Simba S.C.
The extensive entertainment lineup features acts like De La Buena (June 15), Lex Allen (June 16), Mariachi Garibaldi (June 22), The November Criminals (June 29), WebsterX (July 3), Klassik (July 6) and many more, giving this blown-out soccer bar the feel of a legitimate music festival.
Nomad Nacional’s FanZone officially opens Thursday, June 14, at 9 a.m., with kickoff of the first World Cup game (Russia vs. Saudi Arabia) at 10 a.m. and the Welcome to Russia Happy Hour at noon.
Nacional will be open for all games throughout the tournament – check out the match schedule for details – and click here for more information.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.