07.20.12

Table Talk: Monarch Lounge to Bring Classic Touch

Original Article By Stacey Vogel Davis for The Business Journal

The Hilton Milwaukee City Center is bringing back a swanky lounge from years past.

The hotel has started renovation of its Monarch Ballroom to turn it into the Monarch Lounge, an old-fashioned lobby lounge in art deco style, said Steve Magnuson, vice president and general manager at the Hilton.

A lobby lounge was part of the hotel when it opened in 1927 as The Schroeder Hotel at 509 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. At some point the lounge closed, and the space was converted to the Monarch Ballroom.

The new lounge will have a “living room” feel, with a bar, seating areas, a “media center” and a stone and metal fireplace, Magnuson said. It will include floor-to-ceiling mahogany wood panels, leather chairs and original crystal chandeliers. The hotel also has taken down the walls facing the lobby and opened up 30-foot windows along the eastern wall, offering a new view of downtown.

“It makes a much more grand entrance into the hotel, more of a gathering place,” Magnuson said.

The Monarch, expected to open in August, will offer classic cocktails, wine by the glass and craft beers. The food will be small plates such as calamari, prosciutto bruschetta and chicken pot stickers. Live piano music will be offered every night.

Irish Castle coming soon at Hegarty’s

An iconic Irish bar on Milwaukee’s west side is getting a makeover and a new name.

Derry Hegarty’s Irish Pub, 5328 W. Blue Mound Road, has been bought by Sean Burke and will reopen as Burke’s Irish Castle in late summer or early fall.

Burke, who also owns Burke’s Lakeside Restaurant & Bar in Summit, is expanding the kitchen to offer a wider variety of food and better serve guests at the facility’s banquet hall. He plans to work with local food providers, such as Sweet Water Organics Inc. of Milwaukee and Central Greens, a new organic produce provider taking shape down the street.

“We are definitely going to be going toward the gastropub side,” he said. “It will be not your average bar fare.”

Previous owner Derry Hegarty died in 2011, but Derry Hegarty’s will continue to operate until the new restaurant opens, Burke said. It might be closed for a few days before the changeover.

Burke and his business partner, chefShane Valenti, are spending about $250,000 to renovate the property. It’s more than they originally planned, but they fell in love with the history of the building, Burke said.

“It became one of those things where I didn’t want to do anything halfway,” he said. “I thought it would be a disservice to the location, to us and to the community.”

They hope to get a facade grant from the city to cover part of the work.

Tomter’s clearing way to open

Table Talk readers might remember a column I wrote in February about David Tomter’s plan to reopen the former Pepino’s Pizza & Ristorante site in Brookfield as Tomter’s Inn Pub & Grill.

If so, you might be wondering why the property at 17065 W. Capitol Drive is still vacant.

Tomter has been in discussions with the city over a proposed access road as the state Department of Transportation prepares to rebuild Capitol Drive.

Part of the frontage road connecting Pepino’s to Calhoun Road is being eliminated, and Tomter wanted another access point to Calhoun Road. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, but Tomter is OK with that as long as he can get a parking lot that accommodates the restaurant’s 190-person capacity, he said.

Relations between Tomter and the city were strained for a time, but Ald. Bob Reddinstepped in and has helped the two sides get closer to an agreement, Tomter said. He now believes they can resolve the issue soon.

Filed in Press Coverage


 


 
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