The Tasting Room, a lower East Side landmark for many a year, is closed for good. Although the marquee at the building on the corner of Kane Place and Humboldt Avenue has said "closed for the season" for several seasons now, owner Carson Praefke made it official last week.
Praefke told the city Licenses Committee that he doesn't want his tavern license renewed as he wants to reconsider what to do with the property. When Praefke opened The Tasting Room in 1993 it was considered the first bar with an understanding of micro-brews and odd imports. He had over 100 beers available to slake any thirst and plenty of space for live music, which was also a regular feature.
Prior to its Tasting Room label, it was known as The Landing, where a good portion of Milwaukee's live music scene landed at one time or another. The building itself was moved in 1907 from the corner of Van Buren and St. Paul to its current corner on the banks of the Milwaukee River.
Since the time The Tasting Room moved in, a wall of condos has gone up directly across the street on Kane and further west on Water Street, making many in the neighborhood wonder why Praefke wasn't opening to take advantage of all that conspicuous consumption. Three new restaurants have also opened as well.
Praefke, who owns the building at 1100 E. Kane Pl., told the committee he was considering re-opening the joint "as a different operation," but he would only be involved part time, as opposed to his nearly constant presence at The Tasting Room.
An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.
He lives in Bay View.