We love the new 3rd Street Market Hall. The long-awaited food hall opened last month on the first floor of The Avenue—a.k.a. the old Shops of Grand Avenue. A host of food vendors share the communal space, and there’s a bar, an indoor shuffleboard court, a Topgolf Swing Suite, a selfie museum, and other stuff, too. Not to mention…


Yep, “Professor Stein” is back, baby. Back in The Avenue, where he belongs, perched on top of the bar, watching over guests “as they enjoy beers of their own.” Sure, there’s no tightrope, but whatever. All is right with the world.

Read all about it in the press release below. (Still no word on the possible return of the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra.)

A Familiar Face Returns to 3rd St. Market Hall
An iconic piece of Milwaukee history found his way back home

Milwaukee (February 8, 2022) – 3rd St. Market Hall announced that the iconic Professor Stein “Bear on a Tightrope” statue has officially returned to his old home at The Avenue.

Professor Stein can be seen perched on the east side of 3rd St. Market Hall’s 50-seat, full-service bar and will watch over guests as they enjoy beers of their own. He is sure to recapture the hearts of visitors to the market hall and will quickly become an icon for new generations as they learn about the history of downtown Milwaukee.

It was announced last year that the Milwaukee Public Market would be returning the famous Milwaukee statue after resurrecting him from hibernation and rehoming him back in 2013. The redevelopment of 3rd St. Market Hall created the perfect opportunity to return this Milwaukee staple to his original home. In honor of his return, the 3rd St. Market Hall bar is offering a $6 special on its “Bear On A Wire” cocktail for the week of February 8th.

In 1982, The Rouse Company developed the Shops of Grand Avenue with traditional German influences. It famously featured a whimsical 7’ bear dressed in a top hat and suit coat, riding along a tightrope on a unicycle. This bear, Professor Stein, was a huge tourist attraction, and many people fondly remember seeing him upon their visits to the Shops of Grand Avenue. When Northwestern Mutual Life redeveloped the mall in 2004, the bear came down and went into hibernation.

“I enjoyed working with the Milwaukee Public Market team to bring Professor Stein home,” stated 3rd St. Market Hall co-owner, Omar Shaikh. “They were very generous to house him for the past nine years and very helpful with his grand return home.”

“We’ve been proud to offer a temporary home to Professor Stein for the last 9 years at the Public Market, where we’ve curated other relics that engender a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for our city,” said Paul Schwartz, executive director of the Milwaukee Public Market and Business Improvement District #2. “The Professor’s ‘homecoming’ is a great symbol of a reenergized Avenue development and we look forward to exploring what will take his place at the Market.”

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23 pictures of the just-opened 3rd Street Market Hall, plus 1 picture of the burger I ate

Iconic “Bear on a Tightrope” returning home to The Avenue

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Malled by bears: A review of the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra at the Shops of Grand Avenue