Coffee shop planned at Best Place

Gift shop to be relocated

The gift shop at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, which will host the Best Christkindlmarket Milwaukee this weekend.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 05:02 pm

Jim Haertel, the owner of Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery, did a little digging recently at Milwaukee’s Central Library and found his gift shop used to be a waiting room.

Best Place - gift shop-2016-07-16
Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery

Haertel, who has a passion for history, and beer, has decided to return part of Best Place to its original state, and in the process, add a coffee shop, which he’s calling a “coffee shot,” to the complex.

Best Place includes the former corporate office building, gift shop and meeting hall in the former Pabst brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee, which has been redeveloped into a mixed-use neighborhood called The Brewery.

Over the next six months, Best Place will undergo a $100,000 renovation project that will move the 800-square-foot gift shop, currently located at 901 W. Juneau, into a 1,223-square-foot space behind the King’s Courtyard, where his statue of King Gambrinus, the patron saint of beer, sits.

The current gift shop space will be returned to its original purpose as a waiting area, becoming part of Blue Ribbon Hall, which has been a popular wedding venue.

The space, which will be called “The Waiting Room,” could also be rented out separately as another small banquet hall.

“We have so many weddings in Blue Ribbon Hall that a lot of times brides and their attendants end up waiting in the gift shop, while people are shopping,” Haertel said. “We will return it to its original 1934 purpose.”

The coffee shop, or “coffee shot” as Haertel calls it, will occupy the space between the two courtyards at Best Place. The space is currently used as a visitors center and pub, called Little Tavern on the Hill.



“We’ll open early in the morning with coffee and tea, just a private little coffee shop for people to stop in and sit in our beautiful courtyard or take it to go,” Haertel said. “We’re calling it a ‘coffee shot’ because we’ll also have full liquor there, so we can put a little Baileys or Jameson in your cup of joe.”

The renovations at Best Place are expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

Haertel has plans for more renovation work. He said he will dedicate 2017 to remodeling one of the Escheiler buildings on the Milwaukee County grounds in Wauwatosa. He and his wife, Karen, bought the property earlier this year and plan to redevelop the site for their future home.

In 2018, Haertel says he might turn the third floor of Best Place into another banquet hall. Two years ago, Haertel, who has owned Best Place since 2001, spent about $750,000 to renovate a 5,000-square-foot former office space outside of Capt. Frederick Pabst’s former office into a banquet hall, which is now called Great Hall.

In 2019, he’s thinking about remodeling the second floor of the Best Place building into a beer museum.

By 2020, he says he will be finished with remodeling projects. Although, Haertel says he still dreams of creating a beer-themed bed and breakfast at Best Place.

“You talk to people all over the country and that’s what they want,” Haertel said. “But we haven’t even done a restaurant. That’s a 24-seven, 365 day-a-year life.”

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