An "eatertainment" business, one that combines eating and drinking with fun and games, will be a key part of the complex being built just east of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, a team co-owner says.
"It's going to be entertainment related. Eating, eatertainment," Wes Edens said, using a hospitality industry term.
"Bars, restaurants, those are exactly the kinds of things that you'll see."
The Bucks development arm plans four buildings in the complex just to the east of the new $524 million arena. Work has progressed rapidly on two of them, and two others will get underway soon.
The Bucks haven't announced any tenants but indicated the building on the north side will be a brewpub and restaurant.
The larger structure on the south end of the complex will be more of a destination, and combine food, drink and fun — one of the biggest trends in the hospitality industry.
Such businesses have taken off in large and small scales.
National chains like Dave & Busters and others like Pinstripes and Main Event are "exploding," according to a December article in FSR, a food industry magazine, titled "Eatertainment: The Next Frontier for Casual Dining."
"These eatertainments eateries appeal to a wide swath of customers: youngsters love it, 20-and-30-somethings gravitate to it, and their parents can relive their youth or take their families," the story notes.
"Now the eatertainment segment is exploding, attracting a bevy of competitors. Most are primed for expansion in 2018."
Dave & Busters has locations in Wauwatosa and Madison. They include food, drink and video games and, at some locations, billiards and bowling.
In Milwaukee, there are several examples of these food/drink/game businesses. Marla and David Poytinger, the owners of the Splash Studio painting bar in the Historic Third Ward, have opened 9 Below, an indoor mini-golf bar, and soon will add AXE MKE, an ax-throwing bar on the east side.
Evolution, a table tennis bar, operates on Old World 3rd St., a block away from the new arena.
The Bucks entertainment complex will also include a 2,000-square-foot building that will be part of a beer garden "connector" between the arena plaza and N. Old World 3rd St. The building would sit adjacent to the south side of The Loaded Slate restaurant, 1137 N. Old World 3rd St., and have an entrance on 3rd St.
The city Plan Commission and the City Council are expected to consider plans for that building next month.
Edens said the owners believe the entertainment block will draw patrons from throughout the area — and not just for arena events.
"I have a great deal of optimism about the entertainment district and what it will mean when the Bradley Center goes down," he said.
"I think there's really a tremendous amount of potential here," he said.
"It will really move the center of Milwaukee north. That was the goal and I feel really good about that."
I'm against picketing but I don't know how to show it.