In Bars & Clubs

Big changes ahead for Von Trier.

Von Trier to become mid-century cocktail lounge

Rumors that Von Trier was about to undergo major changes flew around for months, and this morning owner John Sidoff confirmed that the iconic, German-themed bar and restaurant will close briefly at the end of the year and reopen in early 2018 as "an upscale, classic cocktail lounge with a mid-century vibe."

Von Trier will remain open through the holiday season and showcase its popular Christmas Village one last time before hosting an online auction listing the bar's collection of memorabilia, including authentic beer steins, one-of-a-kind wood carvings and the historic Colnik chandelier.

Despite the renovations, Sidoff says Von Trier will still pay homage to its German roots. He will disclose more details about the plans this fall.

"I have a deep connection to roots of North Ave and Milwaukee's East Side, which is why I want to focus on re-inventing the bar by bringing it back to an upscale cocktail lounge concept, just like the one I spent time in during my formative years," says Sidoff. "This new evolution of the bar will better support the evolving clientele and businesses of the North Avenue district."

Mike Vitucci, East Side BID board member and owner of a number of local establishments, including the forthcoming East Side restaurant, Izzy Hops Swig and Nosh, also sees promise in the next generation of North Avenue residents and businesses.

"North Avenue is definitely going through a transition. Luxury apartments and more amenities are bringing in a new population looking for new experiences," Vitucci says. "They are spending more on their homes and are loving the area for its vibrancy, the theater and the proximity to Lake Michigan. I believe area businesses are already witnessing an upswing in foot traffic and sales."

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more details about Von Trier's new era when they become available.


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