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Tangent of Vintage Brewing Co. could go in next to Sylvee on East Wash

June 28, 2018 GMT

A new restaurant and bar from the owners of Vintage Brewing Company on Whitney Way is planned for the 8-story building on East Washington Avenue that will house the new Sylvee music venue.

Because its owners are applying for a 21-plus entertainment license for the establishment, some neighbors have expressed concern that a nightclub is going in, said Mark Kraemer, who will own the restaurant, Tangent, with five partners.

Instead, it will be similar to the three Vintage businesses he runs, Kraemer said. Besides Whitney Way, the group of six owners opened a 26,000-square-foot, $7 million Vintage Brewing Co. facility in January in Sauk City.

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They won’t be brewing beer at the East Washington Tangent, but will instead get most of their beer from the Sauk City location, and to a lesser degree, from the Vintage on Whitney Way, he said.

“We’re going with Tangent because we are going to have a new line of beers,” Kraemer said. The food menu will be more upscale, “for lack of a better word,” he said, than what’s offered on Whitney Way.

Kraemer said they struggled with giving the East Washington restaurant a different name, “because we kind of built a decent brand around the city with Vintage Brewing.”

His younger partners wanted to go with Tangent, but it will really be a Vintage, he said.

The reason they’re asking for an entertainment license is in case someone hosts a party in Tangent’s private room and wants to bring in a DJ. Or maybe a band performs at the 2,500-seat Sylvee “and they want to mess around with a guitar. We have to have a license to allow them to even play,” Kraemer said.

There will be a neighborhood meeting on the proposal at 7 p.m. Thursday in the community room of Festival Foods, 810 E. Washington Ave.

Ald. Ledell Zellers, who represents the district, cautions that the Tangent proposal is currently unapproved.

“A number of people have expressed concerns about yet another establishment with a significant focus on alcohol going into this several block area,” she said.

“Also, Vintage has applied for a restaurant-tavern license which requires food service for all hours they are open,” Zellers added.

Kraemer and his partners, who include his brother, Trent, have signed a lease in Gebhardt Development’s Gebhardt building, once known as Cosmos.

The building is on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue and construction is about 65 percent complete, said Lee Christensen, development manager for Gebhardt Development. Construction started last June and the building will open in late September.

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The Tangent space is about 7,000 square feet and the Kraemers and their partners can’t start the build-out until they get a conditional use permit from the city and are expecting to start construction in August. Kraemer said they’re hoping for a November opening.

Kramer calls it “an expansion of the Vintage family.” It’s a fourth establishment for the brothers, but the third in the Vintage Brewing Company group. Whitney Way, Sauk City and now East Wash are all owned by the group of six, while the downtown Vintage Spirits and Grill is owned by Mark, Trent and one other partner.

“We were looking for a brew pub to add to the Cap East District and our new development of the Gebhardt Building and the Sylvee,” said Christensen.

“Vintage fits that need, has good craft beer and good food combined with a relaxed atmosphere.” Christensen said. “I think they’ll mix in nicely into the development, providing people a great spot for lunch, dinner and a place to stop in before or after a show at the Sylvee.”

Kraemer said the newly developing East Washington corridor has a great vibe and is “up and coming.”

“There’s an awful lot going there. We’re excited to be right next to the Sylvee,” he said, adding that he and his partners have formed a good bond with the Frank family that owns the theater.

“With everything going on at Breese (Stevens Field)... I think that’s a very happening part of town. It gives us an opportunity. It’s a completely different market for us versus the West Side and uptown.”