If you haven’t stopped by Von Trier lately, change that. (You remember what happens when you don’t stop by.) The longtime East Side bar is still its charming, German-themed self, but it’s also a wee bit brighter, a wee bit cleaner, and a whole lot tastier. It’s the same, but somehow better than ever. Not bad for a business that’s been around for 40 years and almost changed into a mid-century cocktail lounge or whatever.

Speaking of those 40 years, Von Trier will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an especially Von Trier-sy party Sunday, July 22. According to a press release, the party will feature “ample helpings of Gemütlichkeit,” as well as complimentary hors d’oeuvres, drink specials, and “friendly faces spanning decades of Von Trier’s history.” The fun begins at 2 p.m.

Here’s the full press release:

Celebrating four decades of Milwaukee history and culture, Von Trier plans to be here for many years to come

Milwaukee, WI (July 15th, 2018) – For four decades 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. Earlier this year, Von Trier underwent two weeks of renovation, reinvigorating the decades old German Tavern.

Founded in July of 1978 by the late Karl Lotharius, Von Trier has seen a colorful history but remains an integral part of Milwaukee’s culture. Prior to Von Trier, an upscale Austrian cocktail lounge called Rieder’s occupied the space since WWII. Then-owner of Rieders, Frank Rieder, decided to sell the bar to Karl Lotharius, the owner of Olivers, a mid-seventies disco on Milwaukee St. south of Wells. Lotharius continued the European theme and upscale cocktails, adding his own German heritage to the decor. The name Von Trier came about when after the sale of the bar, Frank Rieder decided not to let Lotharius use the Rieder name. Lotharius, who came from the town of Trier in Germany eventually settled on “Von Trier” (from Trier) for the new name.

Karl Lotharius passed away in December of 1981; in the wake of Karl’s unexpected death, bar manager Mark Eckert also became a manager for the estate. He would eventually purchase Karl’s sister’s share of the business in 1983 and the rest of the business from the last two shareholders in 1989. In 2009, John and Cindy Sidoff, then-owners of Hooligan’s Super Bar, purchased Von Trier from Mark Eckert, owning and operating Von Trier to this day.

In celebration of this milestone, Von Trier will be hosting a “40 Year Anniversary Party” featuring ample helpings of Gemütlichkeit on Sunday, July 22nd at 2pm. The party will celebrate four decades of Von Trier history. A complimentary spread of hors d’oeuvres will be served starting at 3pm, with drink specials and friendly faces spanning decades of Von Trier’s history.

Von Trier continues to 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.

For more information on Von Trier’s offerings, history, and upcoming events, please visit www.vontriers.com or facebook.com/vontriermke.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

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