By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Aug 24, 2017 at 12:06 PM

There’s a new entertainment venue in the works for Milwaukee's near East Side. Up-Down MKE – a craft beer bar, restaurant and arcade – is planned for 615 E. Brady St., a space occupied for 27 years by Comedy Cafe, but which has been empty since July of 2015.

Partners on the project include Joshua Ivey, Sam Summers and Rafer Mateer; they operate three other Up-Down locations in Des Moines, Iowa; Kansas City, Missouri and Minneapolis.

Plans for the new venue are contingent upon both licensing and the pending sale of the building. However, Ivey says they are excited by the possibility of moving into the Milwaukee market.

"We love Milwaukee," he says. "We see a lot of similarities to Kansas City and Des Moines in the sense that there’s so much growth and people are really excited about all the new things going on."

If all goes well, Up-Down MKE could open as soon as early 2018. It will feature a broad range of 1980s and '90s arcade games, along with pinball, skee-ball, console gaming and life-sized Jenga and Connect Four games.

On the food and beverage side, Up-Down MKE will feature a fairly basic menu of pizza and salads, along with an extensive craft beer selection.

"The concept is really based on the nostalgia factor," notes Ivey. "Each venue is a bit unique, but they all tie in the '80s and '90s vibe along with arcade games."

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more updates on this development.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

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.