Von Trier to Rebrand as an Upscale Cocktail Lounge

Aug. 16, 2017
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After a near four-decade run as a German-centric bar, Von Trier owner John Sidoff announced yesterday that the bar will close briefly in early 2018 for major renovations and reopen as an upscale cocktail lounge. The decision, which is in part a reaction to the evolving East Side, has already led someone to create a change.org petition.

“The North Ave. neighborhood has been going through a period of change for the last five years,” Sidoff, who owns Von Trier with his wife Cindy, said in a press release. “While our original intent was to maintain Von Trier through retirement, the reality is, despite discussions with many Milwaukee bar and restaurant owners, there is little interest in taking over the bar and continuing the tradition.”

While this is a departure from the Von Trier theme, the bar will not be without nods to the building’s history. Prior to 1978, the Von Trier location was home to Rieder’s—a high-end institution. John and Cindy Sidoff are looking to once again re-invent the location with a nod to its mid-century roots.

Von Trier will remain open through the holiday season, showcasing its popular Christmas Village one last time. Before undergoing extensive renovations, Von Trier will host an online auction with Gerlach Auctions listing the bar’s world-class collection of memorabilia, including authentic beer steins, one-of-a-kind wood carvings and the historic Colnik chandelier.

Details for the Von Trier auction as well as future renovation plans will be released this fall.

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