After nearly two and a half years in business, Oak & Shield Gaming Pub, 600 E. Ogden Ave., has closed its doors for good. The geek-friendly den of food, drink, and gaming—an initial joint venture between the owners of Board Game Barrister and 42 Lounge—opened in May 2018 in the old Karma Bar & Grill space. Fare thee well, Oak & Shield.
Here’s a statement posted to the business’ website, from remaining owner Gordon Lugauer:
TL;DR: our Oak & Shield Gaming Pub has closed. Our Board Game Barrister locations at Mayfair Mall, North Shore, and South Milwaukee remain open.
All adventurers know in the back of their mind that their adventures will come to an end. And while we all dream that the gathering place for those adventurers will always be there – we also know that the gathering place itself is an adventure which will someday end. Today, the adventure that has been the Oak & Shield Gaming Pub comes to an end. It has been a true adventure, with highs, lows, and, in the end, a puzzle that we could not solve in time.
I had held out great hope that our efforts to create and promote our safe-as-possible physically-distant dining experience would be the key to that puzzle. It hasn’t been. Even after opening for in-person dining, the pub is losing money and sales are not increasing – indeed, sales have decreased ever-so-slightly. I’ve held off making this call for a long time so that I could preserve as many jobs as I could – and it is entirely possible that I’ve held off for so long that time will tell whether I have endangered jobs at the Board Game Barrister retail stores by allocating too much of our dwindling government funds towards the pub. But it is my responsibility to make the call and I can shirk it no longer. The time is now. This adventure is over. The Oak & Shield is closed.
To all of you – customers and staff alike – who filled this adventure with special memories, I thank you. I look forward to crossing paths with you again on whatever new adventures await.
The permanent closure comes only a few weeks after Oak & Shield reopened its COVID-19-closed doors for in-person dining on August 21.
Lugauer also shares some parting business on his post:
If you have a gift certificate code from our online store, you can still use that code at our Board Game Barrister stores. It can be redeemed either from the online store or in-store at our Mayfair Mall and North Shore stores (as of this writing, South Milwaukee remains closed for in-person shopping). If you have an old paper Oak & Shield gift certificate, contact me directly with your gift certificate serial number and I’ll issue you a replacement online gift code – do not take the paper gift certificate to the stores, they will not be able to redeem it.
There are a few of you that selected the Oak & Shield as a pickup location for pre-ordered items. We’ll contact you directly to determine either an alternate pickup location or to cancel the pre-order and issue a refund – your choice.
Exclusive articles, podcasts, and more. Support Milwaukee Record on Patreon.
• Oak & Shield Gaming Pub will open May 4, be all-ages until 10 p.m.