By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Jul 16, 2019 at 12:01 PM Photography: Lori Fredrich

New life is coming to the quaint underground space which formerly housed Dino’s Taverna at 777 N. Jefferson St.

Brothers David and Salvatore Safina – whose family has owned and operated venues including Giovanni’s, Comedy Cafe, Tuttuo’s and Centanni’s – have signed a lease on the space and are moving forward with plans to transform the space into a cocktail lounge, which will be called The Sofie, in memory of their late mother.

"Sofie is the name she always said she’d name her daughter, if she had one," notes David Safina. "Of course, she had three boys instead ... so we named the bar and lounge in her honor."

Safina says the interior, which he expects will accommodate between 60 to 80 guests, will be outfitted with primarily soft seating, including a variety of couches. A fireplace will enhance the cozy, comfortable vibe during the winter months.

On the menu, he says, will be a variety of cocktails, beer and wine. "In some ways, we’re envisioning this space similarly to Centanni’s," he says, "Without the piano."

Also in the plans is an extensive patio, which will run the length of the sidewalk in front of the former Matthew Keenan Residence where customers can enjoy cocktails during clement weather.

Safina says The Sofie will feature both an extended happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and probably music spun by DJs on the weekend.

Watch OnMilwaukee for additional details as they develop.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.