By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Feb 24, 2022 at 11:01 AM

There’s a whole new experience taking shape at 131 N. Jackson St., as the owners of Camp Bar begin the transformation of the former Campsite 131 into a Western-inspired tavern. 

Saloon is the name of the new concept, which aims to bring the intrigue of the American West, live music and an inclusive cozy environment where ace-high folks can yarn away the hours. Even better, they’re not beatin' the devil around the stump. The new hideout is slated to open on Friday, May 20,  just in time for the unofficial start of summer.

A whole new watering trough

“We rely heavily on the senses with the Camp concept, and the same will be true here,” notes Camp Bar owner and operator Paul Hackbarth. “It’s part of what our patrons have come to expect from us, and we are excited to deliver an authentic experience that also provides folks with an escape from their everyday lives.”

That means delivering on a truly immersive experience complete with an atmosphere that’s been curated right down to the very last detail.

For instance, guests can expect walls filled with vintage saloon decor, themed furnishings, Western taxidermy and a collection of Western art from Camp Bar owner and operator Paul Hackbarth’s grandfather, Milwaukee advertising pioneer William F. Eisner.

Guests’ olfactory senses will be piqued by the subtle smells of roasted peanuts (available for snacking, but also part of the ambiance as they’re tossed aside onto the Saloon’s rustic floor) and whiffs of smoke as cocktails – which will range from Wisconsin classics to Western inspired sips – are delivered to tables in smoking boxes.

Meanwhile, weekly live music will contribute a Nashville-esque vibe, bringing something entirely new to the Third Ward scene while complementing the seasonal events at Henry Maier Festival Park.

“The idea of a saloon is a very different experience from what we offer at Camp Bar,” notes Adriana Ramirez, director of operations for Hackbarth Hospitality Group, “But the goal is to deliver the same comfortable, cozy environment and high level of service.”

Hackbarth agrees. “There are a lot of really awesome development happening in the Third Ward,” he says. “And we’re ecstatic to contribute to all the growth and excitement.”

So, hang onto your cowboy hats and stay tuned. We’ve got a feeling Saloon is gonna be hot as a whorehouse on nickel night.

Once open, Saloon will keep hours Wednesday through Sunday, with Mondays and Tuesdays reserved for private parties.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.