Last week, we reported that Flannery’s, the longtime Irish pub at 425 E. Wells St., would be closing its doors at the end of January.
But the space won’t be empty for long. Plans for a brand new bar and eatery – complete with rooftop seating – are in the works, with hope for completion prior to the Republican National Convention in 2024.
James Taylor, who purchased the building (which also houses Taylor’s on the east and Real Chili on the west) in October of 2022, says he’s had his eye on the acquisition since 1995; but his interest grew as he and his brother found success with their Waukesha business.
“My brother and I opened People’s Park in Waukesha in 2010,” notes James Taylor, “And it’s seen tremendous success, far beyond anything we expected. So, for years, I’ve had a vision for opening a second location in Milwaukee.”
A restaurant with a view
The Wells Street location, he says, is perfect for the plans he has in mind: namely the addition of a second floor four- seasons glass atrium, which will extend from the west end of Real Chili to the eastern end of Flannery’s.
“The atrium,” he says, “Will have a glass ceiling and will be accessible from the first floor via an elevator. It will feature a large indoor/outdoor rectangular bar and seating space which accommodates up to 160 guests.”
Meanwhile, he says, the remaining rooftop space above Taylor’s on the East, will feature a second floor open-air deck that boasts views of Cathedral Park. Altogether, he says, the Milwaukee location will be close to three times the size of the People's Park in Waukesha.
He says his brother, Daniel, is planning both the interior and exterior aesthetic for the space, which will maintain the unique, art-forward aesthetic for which both Taylor’s and People’s Park in Waukesha have become known.
The menu, he says, will also be nearly identical, offering a range of dishes from casual sandwiches and burgers to entrees like filet and stuffed chicken breast.
“We are considering a few additions,” he says, “Including fresh seafood like halibut and raw oysters.”
Taylor says he’s excited to be part of the resurgence of the neighborhood surrounding Cathedral Square Park, which saw a rash of closings prior to the pandemic, but which seems to be on an uptick. He points to developments like the 7Seventy7 Building and The Ascent, along with forthcoming eateries like Safina and Electric Lime Taqueria, both of which are due to open in 2023.
“When I look at the buildings in the area, including The Ascent which has beautiful views of this area and the park, I can imagine the view of the new People’s Park.
"Folks will see people sitting on the rooftop and the patio. They’ll see the orange glow of lights emanating from the atrium… and I think that alone will be enough to make them want to venture over to check it out. Essentially, the place will advertise itself.”
Currently Taylor says they will be submitting plans for the new bar and restaurant to the City of Milwaukee by June 1, 2023, with hope that construction on the project can begin Sept. 1, 2023.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.