Tuesday morning, multiple social media posts and subsequent quotes from former employees indicated that venerable Bay View venue/bar Frank’s Power Plant had closed.

Tuesday night, multiple drinks and subsequent conversations inside a bustling Frank’s Power Plant confirmed that the venerable Bay View venue/bar had NOT closed.

“The bar is not closed, and the bar is not sold. I don’t know how that rumor got started,” says owner Frank Wickert, who presided over Tuesday night’s non-closing.

Stories differ on what led to the confusion. Wickert says longtime general manager Becky Cottreau “decided to leave, and in that context she fired the whole staff without my knowledge.” He adds: “I’m without a staff, without a manager. I knew nothing of it. I was in the bar the other night, and she was there. She did not indicate to me that anything was going on.”

Cottreau says the claim that she “somehow fired the staff and then quit” is “just not true,” and that the staff exodus was due to questions of the bar’s future. Both Frank’s Power Plant and two adjacent houses have been listed for sale for months.

“Our team made Frank a generous offer to buy the bar a month ago and Frank dismissed the offer, leading us to believe the bar was not really for sale,” Cottreau says. “I have been at Frank’s for 17 years. Two years tending bar and 15 as a GM. The owner has talked of selling the entire block for this past year and many times told me he changed his mind, and would I commit to five more years. I was led to believe the bar would not be sold.”

Yet Cottreau says she came to believe that Frank’s was being sold, that its closing date was October 16, and that the current staff would be let go. After a last-minute offer to buy the bar was rebuffed, Cottreau says, “we realized this was a lost cause and rallied the troops to decide what to do together.”

Thus the staff exodus, and thus Tuesday morning’s confusion. “Unfortunately, social media is easily misunderstood, and when one person was discussing the closing they meant the sale date of the bar, which in my view is partly where all the confusion ballooned from,” Cottreau says. “Additionally, I think emotions were running high and some of the staff do feel as though this was the close of an era, and perhaps used the incorrect words to describe it. Also, we had no idea if they would just change the locks and be closed today.”

Wickert still contends that his business has not been sold. “The bar is for sale. It’s been sale for eight months. But it’s not sold,” he says. “I’ve had offers, but no accepted offers. I’ve not accepted any offers.”

Though the future ownership of Frank’s Power Plant is up in the air, for now, the bar remains open.

“We’re keeping the same theme. Frank’s Power Plant has not changed,” Wickert says. “There’s going to be a transition period here, until I get some new staff. But we continue to be very interested in serving the live music community.”

Cottreau, meanwhile, stands by her decision.

“I am proud of the amazing individuals who were the heart and soul of this community and I couldn’t be more grateful for their support and love,” she says. “We stood up together for what we thought was the right thing to do.”

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.