After nearly eight years of hosting concerts at The Back Room @ Colectivo (2211 N. Prospect Ave.), The Pabst Theater Group will leave the East Side coffee-shop venue and open a new all-ages, “highly customizable” venue a few blocks away, at 1818 N. Farwell Ave. The new venue is expected to open in 2024.
“After nearly eight amazing years, The Pabst Theater Group and Colectivo Coffee have made the joint decision to say goodbye to The Back Room @ Colectivo at the end of 2023,” a press release reads. “With the unique successes and challenges of balancing the space as both a venue and cafe, it’s a step forward to create fresh opportunities for everyone.”
A Pabst Theater Group spokesperson tells The Daily Reporter that the new venue will hold up to 450 people. The Back Room @ Colectivo holds up to 300 people.
The new venue will be located across the street (and a little south) from Pizza Shuttle. It will be the southern-most business in a building that currently houses Domino’s, Ethiopian Cottage, and Chopstix. “The vacant space in the property that will be turned into a venue has remained empty and unused for over four years,” the press release explains. “The building’s owner, New Land Development, had at one time planned to use the space for weddings and other events, although that use never occurred.”
The press release continues:
The new venue will include better artist accommodations, similar to other Pabst Theater Group backstage experiences, with a special back alley and garage for loading in equipment for shows. Working with The Kubala Washatko Architects, an architecture and urban design firm, Pabst Theater Group also plans to improve the building’s façade to make it more street-friendly. Pabst Theater Group expects to enable show patrons to digitally order food from the restaurants in the building that would be delivered to them at the venue.
The Pabst Theater Group currently books shows at The Pabst Theater, The Riverside Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, Miller High Life Theatre, and other venues. The group is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023.
“We’re excited to keep this momentum and vitality going with a space that we can curate to better meet the needs of our audience and community and be part of the tremendous growth that Farwell Avenue is experiencing, including a new hotel,” said Gary Witt, president and CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, in a statement.
The Back Room hosted acts both national and local in its eight years as a venue. Recent months have seen a doubling-down on local acts, with groups like Bug Moment and Diet Lite regularly packing the venue to capacity.
“The Back Room @ Colectivo offered us the chance to show that we can put on a concert rather than just a gig, an important step towards legitimacy in the music industry for our band,” said Milwaukee band Scam Likely in a statement. “There is something extraordinary about working with venues who have the willingness and eagerness to nurture local talent and treat us with the same importance as national acts on tour. Venues like The Back Room @ Colectivo have been quintessential to not only our growth, but the growth of the overall music scene in Milwaukee.”
Also, shout-out to our old Public Domain series, which we shot at The Back Room.
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