Craft cocktail, beer and wine bar planned for Eastsider space

Eastsider will close next month after almost 20 years of operation

Baccanera, a craft cocktail, beer and wine bar featuring European soccer viewings, is slated to open in early February at 1732 E. North Ave. on Milwaukee’s East Side, the current site of the Eastsider, a college bar that opened in 1999.

The new bar’s operators, Taylor Layton and Alex Sperry of Layton Echo Group LLC, recently made a nonrefundable downpayment to buy the building from Jason Growel, longtime owner of the Eastsider. City approval is still needed to finalize Layton and Sperry’s plans.

“This is going to be a bit of a different atmosphere than the Eastsider,” Layton said. “We are going down the route of a nice place to sit down and have a cocktail. We won’t be open later than midnight most nights.”

Growel, who has owned the bar for about 10 years, said the Eastsider’s last day of operation will be Dec. 16. He said the bar will host a closing party on Dec. 15 and 16 so people can visit the bar and say their goodbyes.

Growel also owns Wauwatiki, a craft cocktail bar in Wauwatosa and said he plans to spend more time there once the Eastsider closes.

Layton and Sperry plan to redesign the building’s interior, including its bathrooms, before opening in February. Layton, a former Milwaukee Wave player, had the idea for the bar’s European soccer concept. He plans to serve coffee and open the bar early, 6 or 6:30 a.m., to show English Premier League games.

Growel said the aging demographic of the Milwaukee’s East Side will help Baccanera thrive.

“Bars are trying cater to an older crowd because that’s who is moving into the area,” he said. “There’s not room for a college bar anymore.”



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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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