Earlier this month, Bars & Recreation announced that they would be transforming the space in Deer District once occupied by Punch Bowl Social into a new concept, dubbed The New Fashioned.
On Tuesday, a press conference elaborated on that annoucement, detailing the overhaul of the 25,000-square-foot facility directly across from Fiserv Forum. It also announced new partners in Benson’s Restaurant Group, as well as a retail experience curated by Steph Davies of The Waxwing. The New Fashioned will be the first woman-owned business to operate in Deer District.
The New Fashioned will place an emphasis on food, entertainment and drinks with a distinctly Milwaukee twist, combining the hallmarks of Bars & Recreation’s venues with the central mission of Deer District to be a hub of activity in the heart of Downtown. Tuesday’s press conference featured appearances from Mayor Cavalier Johnson, Bars and Recreation CEO Marla Poytinger, David Marcus, managing director and CEO of Benson's Restaurant Group, as well as Bucks president Peter Feigin, who reiterated both brands’ commitment to being loyal to Milwaukee.
“Deer District will be a 365-day destination for downtown Milwaukee, and this will be a large part of it.” said Feigin.
Among the new amenities expected are the city's largest self-serve pour wall, with a selection of 50 local beers, cocktails, craft sodas and root beer from Sprecher Brewery. Food options from Benson's executive chef Alex Sazama will consist of a Wisconsin-oriented menu, featuring butter burgers, hot ham and cheese, cream puffs, and of course, a fish fry. There will also be Old Fashioneds muddled tableside, as well as a custard stand within the two-story venue.
In terms of activities, The New Fashioned will feature reservation-based street curling on the plaza year-round, the bowling lanes that Punch Bowl Social had installed, and a tailgate lounge that will be accessible from the garage doors at the Deer District beer garden. The upper floor will also feature Dartball, and as Poytinger pointed out, “mandatory” pull tabs for a truly Milwaukee bar experience.
“I'm really proud to be the first woman-owned small business to operate in Deer District.” said Poytinger. “I have an incredible team that helps me run Bars & Recreation, but it's important to show that a woman-owned hospitality group can be a thriving career.”
The New Fashioned has a current plan for an opening celebration on the weekend of April 5th-7th, in time for the tail end of the Bucks season and hopefully a lengthy playoff run. With a busy year ahead for Milwaukee, mayor Johnson noted the importance of continuing to grow Deer District.
“Deer District is the gathering place, it's like a living room for the city of Milwaukee” said Johnson. “We can activate this space and it means so much to not only the Bucks, but the entire community.”
Punch Bowl Social initially closed during the throes of the pandemic, and wouldn’t reopen until March of 2022, only to close for good in October 2023. In addition to The New Fashioned, Bars & Recreation also operate several entertainment-themed bars in the city, including AXE MKE, Nine Below, NorthSouth Club, Amped and Game Show MKE.
Follow OnMilwaukee for more updates as the development continues to grow, and for more details on The New Fashioned, visit their website.