Bay View's first "eco-friendly" bar, Telluride, opens next week, but don't expect beer that will be served in recycled mugs, with compost heaps on the spacious side patio.
Instead, expect a smoke-free, laid-back bar with lots of patio seating and green space outside at 2155 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. Telluride occupies the bar formerly known as the very unusual -- and fairly dicey -- Chaser's Pub, but other than the physical building, you won't see many similarities between old and new.
Gone, for example, is the "late-night gift shop." Instead, owners Brian Normoyle, Ryan Biechler and Luke Grant decorated sparsely, with lots of wood, focusing on sustainable materials. They also created an especially large outdoor seating area on the adjoining vacant lot, complete with ample green space and wildflowers.
Named after the Colorado ski town, Telluride's owners hope to create a similar lodge vibe on the northwest corner of Bay View. That means good Colorado beers like Breckenridge and Flying Dog on tap and in bottles, and plenty of room for the occasional live music.
Expects darts, TVs, a pool table and a beanbag toss outside. Normoyle also hopes to partner with local restaurants, code permitting, to bring food to the patio customers, "if they're willing."
"I'd like to talk to MIAD to get some of the artists to display their works, too," he says.
And don't be surprised if you see a dog or two sitting next to you on the patio.
"Dogs are welcome," says Normoyle, "as long as you clean up the poop."
It's all quite a departure from Normolye, who is also a partner in Water Street's Grant's Pub, but before that, worked in academic publishing.
"I was looking at a few different businesses, and this had the best cash-flow potential," says Normoyle. "Managing a bar is no different than managing in a Fortune 500 company. It's about how you treat people, setting goals and objectives. I think the bar business is more difficult, because you have alcohol."
The eco-friendly stuff, Normoyle says, just sort of happened.
"I try to be environmentally conscious, and I wanted to do something like that in Bay View," says Normoyle. "There are responsibilities that a business owner has. But it's interesting, it's taken on a life of its own."
Telluride won't hit you over the head with its eco-friendliness, but it's certainly top of mind for its owners. For now, that includes CFC bulbs, green space and rain barrels. Tomorrow, that might mean solar panels and more, says Normoyle.
The owners are shooting for a grand opening party of June 3, and before that, expects to be open mainly later in the week and on the weekends.
"We have our license, we just have to get product in here."
All told, Telluride should make for a nightlife upgrade for the neighborhood, and Normoyle says he's gotten nothing but encouragement from other business owners and Ald. Tony Zielinski.
"There are great people here, and as this area transitions, people are excited about what we're doing," says Normoyle.
Telluride will certainly become the first "nouveau" bar this far north in Bay View. Will customers travel the extra few blocks from the bar epicenter of Lulu, Sugar Maple and Highbury Pub?
"That's a good question," says Normolye. "I think we're going to find out, but that's one of the reasons we're doing the patio."
Normoyle says he's already opened a good dialogue with Milwaukee police, and he intends to steer clear of any of the shenanigans that became a trademark of the former tenant.
"They can drink somewhere else. My two partners know a fair number of people in the demographic we're looking for, and we're confident that we'll get the type of crowd we're looking for."
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.