By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jan 16, 2023 at 12:04 PM

Back in May, we shared that the longtime Water Street home to A. Werner Silversmith – just about the last family-owned non-tavern business on Water Street – is going to become ... wait for it ... a bar.

Now the sale has been officially closed, according to The Barry Company, which brokered the deal on the 3,520 square foot building and the adjacent surface parking lot along with Prestige Realty.

It was reported in May that Steggeman Investments LLC planned to open Water Street University, a bar, at 1241 N. Water St.

The company’s plans were listed on a building permit application filed with the City of Milwaukee, the paper reported Monday.

The boomtown-style building and its parking lot were listed for sale last year for $990,000.

The plan, according to the broker, still calls for a tavern.

"The property is planned to become one of the newest taverns to compliment the ever-booming Deer District," states a Barry Company press release.

The building likely dates to the 1880s and in the 1890s was home to a saloon.

Werner Silversmith, founded by Austrian immigrant Adolph Werner in the 1880s, occupied a number of previous locations before landing in this space – previously home to a diner – in 1956.

You can read a much longer history and description of the building and the business in this Urban Spelunking article.

"A. Werner is under contract but has not yet officially closed," said Kasey Haggerty, head of administration at commercial real estate firm The Barry Company, in May.

The closing, Haggerty said at that time was, "currently set for sometime in July, but this can change."

Change it did, but now the deal is done, ending a long Water Street run for a family owned business.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.