The story so far: Back in August, Von Trier owners John and Cindy Sidoff announced they would be closing their beloved German bar and reopening it as an “upscale cocktail lounge.” Milwaukee was not impressed, and demanded the Sidoffs reconsider their plans. Incredibly, reconsider they did: A few months later, the Sidoffs announced that due to the outpouring of support (and grief), they had decided to keep the East Side icon’s German name and concept. Now, with some renovations, a new food menu, and a soft opening under its belt, Von Trier is ready to celebrate its grand re-opening party Thursday, February 15, from 5-10 p.m.

What to expect from the party? How about “ample helpings of Gemütlichkeit and a ceremonial keg tapping of Hofbrau Dunkel”? How about “tastes of the new German-centric menu […] as well as complimentary drafts of Hofbrau Dunkel Lager from the keg tapping (while supplies last!)”? And how about “a Weihenstephaner glassware giveaway and a complimentary food spread teasing the kitchen’s new offerings”? Yes.

Here’s a recent press release about the renovations and re-opening party:

For over 39 years, Von Trier has occupied the southwest corner of North and Farwell on Milwaukee’s East Side. Thousands of patrons over the years have had their first dates, second dates, engagements, graduations, or wedding rehearsals in the German-centric East Side Institution. Last summer, in response to the idea of Von Trier closing its doors and rebranding, a tremendous outcry and outpouring of community support helped to persuade owners John and Cindy Sidoff to reconsider their decision to deviate from the Von Trier concept.

“In order to better serve customers both now and in the future, a renovation and re-launch will help improve the guest experience, provide the classic Von Trier feel, and improve the quality of life for our patrons,” says General Manager Stephen Schultz. “The message was heard loud and clear; Milwaukeeans want Von Trier to stay. This is a place we want to be able to bring friends and family for years to come.”

The last day of normal business operations before Von Trier started its renovations was Saturday, January 27th, 2018; Von Trier closed the following day to start work on the facility, with the construction and renovation work spanning just fewer than two weeks. Improvements to the facility include re-launching a German-centric food menu, installing a new mahogany bar top, updating the woodwork and the restrooms, improving both the lighting and sound system, as well as bringing in new furniture and table tops.

“We’re planning on opening our doors for a soft opening very shortly as we acclimate to the new features and re-launch our kitchen,” says General Manager Stephen Schultz. “We’ll be kicking things off with our Grand Re-Opening Party on Thursday, February 15th, with more exciting events coming up in the next few weeks.”

Von Trier will be hosting a “Grand Re-Opening Party” featuring ample helpings of Gemütlichkeit and a ceremonial keg tapping of Hofbrau Dunkel on Thursday, February 15th at 5 pm. Tastes of the new German-centric menu will be available for guests to try as well as complimentary drafts of Hofbrau Dunkel Lager from the keg tapping (while supplies last!). There will be a Weihenstephaner glassware giveaway and a complimentary food spread teasing the kitchen’s new offerings.

With a more focused and German-centric approach, Von Trier will be reopening its kitchen following the renovation. An impressive assortment of German sharable tavern food including Large Pretzels, German Appetizers, Spätzle, Salads, Burgers, Sandwiches, and a variety of Wurst will satiate the appetites of Milwaukeeans seeking high-quality German fare. The menu will be both accessible and authentic, ranging from shareable plates to center-of-the-plate German entrées, featuring products from Usinger’s, Ney’s Big Sky, Foltz Family Market, Miller Baking Company, and Impossible Burger.

Von Trier will remain steadfast in its commitment to staying German-centric and serving Milwaukee’s East Side. Featuring a stand-out German draft beer program, a superb craft beer selection, a tap wine system, and an extensive bar and cocktail list, Von Trier will continue to be a gathering place for both Milwaukeeans and their friends for years to come.

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

In his spare time, Matt Wild enjoys collecting 8-bit Nintendo games (emulation is for creeps) and fondly remembering the time Milwaukee weatherman Vince Condella caused a stir at his Catholic grade school by showing up with an earring. He lives on Milwaukee's East Side.