By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 10, 2023 at 10:05 AM

Even as 3rd Street Market Hall reaches near-capacity for food vendors, the Downtown food hall continues to evolve, offering even more amenities for visitors. This summer, guests can look forward to a new, innately social space which is sure to be a new destination for game days, Sunday Fundays and more.

Construction has already begun on The City Fountain, a new self-serve beer hall concept, which will occupy the space which formerly held the Photoverse Selfie Museum. In fact, the beer hall could welcome its first guests as soon as the end of July. 

Inspired by Milwaukee’s long history of beer making, with design by The Kubala Washatko Architects, The City Fountain combines the tradition and social atmosphere of a beer garden. But it also features one major, modern twist: a self-dispensing tap beer wall that puts the guest in full control of their beer-tasting journey. 

City Fountain beer tapsX

The self-serve beer wall will feature 24 dedicated beer lines featuring limited-release barrels, specialty brews, and artisanal brews that are unlikely to be found in the cooler section of your go-to beer cave. And – as you might expect – the selection will focus on Wisconsin breweries, making our Dairy State the focus of The City Fountain experience.

“We want to lean into the fun and complex culture of beer making while expanding our relationships with local breweries,” notes Eric Kaye, general manager for the food hall, who notes that the goal is to offer guests a tasting experience that’s fully within their control.

The City Fountain beer garden renderingX

That’s an easy goal to accomplish since one of the assets of the self-serve system is the ability to choose custom pours (by the ounce), including smaller tasting-sized portions. It’s an element that allows guests to explore a variety of selections without the need to commit to a full pour.

Thanks to its expansive footprint, The City Fountain will feature a design that both conjures the look and feel of the outdoors, while embracing the communal style of seating found at more traditional beer gardens.

Overhead rendering of The City FountainX

Open and airy in its feel, the space will also feature stadium-style seating along with the latest in audio-visual equipment, making it a true destination for game-day watch parties.

Even better, a second phase for the beer garden is already in the works with plans to expand the beer garden area with an outdoor component moving forward.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

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.