Rosie’s owners aim to sell bar, hope buyer will uphold legacy

Ownership transition pends city approval of new plans

Photo courtesy of Rosie's

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:22 pm

Photo courtesy of Rosie’s on Water

Iconic downtown Milwaukee bar Rosie’s on Water could be purchased by a new owner later this summer.

After running the bar for almost 20 years, owners Jim Pack and Darrell Sanderson have decided it’s time to move on. They plan to sell the bar, but want to ensure Rosie’s nearly 36-year life continues, Pack said.

“The decision is due to age,” Pack said. “I bought the bar when I was 30, now I’m 50. Believe me, I never really wanted to sell it, but I’m just getting older and I can’t do the late nights and long hours anymore.”

Rosie’s first opened in 1982, and 16 years later, Pack purchased the bar in September of 1998.

“We were looking for someone to continue Rosie’s legacy because it’s one of the oldest bars in the state,” Pack said.

Their search for a buyer led them to Nathan Showers, the owner of nearby bar Rogue’s Gallery, located at 134 E. Juneau Ave. Showers recently filed a license application with the City of Milwaukee that indicates plans to purchase Rosie’s and its building, and to operate a tavern listed as Eleven Eleven Dive at the space, located at 1111 N. Water St.

Showers said in an email to BizTimes Milwaukee that he declines to comment until his plans are approved by the city. Both Showers and Pack said they hope the Common Council will consider the plans at a meeting in July.

According to the license application, Showers will take over the business in July or August and has proposed an Aug. 20 opening date for Eleven Eleven Dive. The tavern will serve mainly alcohol and some food, and it will be open Sunday through Friday from 4 p.m. to close, and on Saturdays from noon to close.

“We hope more than anything that Rosie’s will be around for another 30 years,” Pack said. “The reason why I picked (Nathan) was his intention to keep Rosie’s, and that means a lot.”

Pack said the deal and the future of Rosie’s depends on the city’s approval.

“Right up until it’s a done deal, it’s never a done deal,” he said.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.

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