Hales Corners — The Bosch Tavern, recently relocated from its spot just 25 feet to the east, is looking to open its doors once again in just a few weeks.
According to owner Rick Putlitz, one of the last pieces of the puzzle is getting the building connected to water. Putlitz hopes that will happen this month, and says once water is connected, the restaurant will be approximately three weeks from opening, putting a possible opening date at the end of January or beginning of February.
In early October, when plans were being set for the Tavern Tug event – where 200 participants literally pulled the building to its new location – Putlitz estimated that the restaurant would be open again by Thanksgiving. However, after diving into the project, he saw the move as an opportunity to make additional changes inside the tavern, a decision which ended up extending the restaurant's completion timeline.
"We took the opportunity to make a lot of improvements, instead of just flipping it back over and opening it back up," explained Putlitz.
Returning diners will recognize the Bosch as soon as they walk through its doors, but they should be sure to look for a few of the things inside the restaurant that are new and improved.
Much of the woodwork covering the walls and ceiling has been refinished and the floors have been redone, giving the whole restaurant a like-new look.
The bar was also refinished, with a new addition.
"We are, after 20 years, adding a footrail to the bar," Putlitz said. "Everyone has been asking for one, and now we have one."
In addition, workers have done a large amount of structural work on the building, fixing issues with the foundation and other things that had gotten out of place in the move. Cracks in the foundation have been fixed, and once sticky doors now swing with ease.
"It should look like a brand-new building," Putlitz said.
Though the re-opening this winter will be more of a soft opening, Putlitz hopes to have more of a grand opening when the new beer garden is finished this spring.
The new outdoor area will sit between the tavern and the brewery next door, as opposed to where it was before on the north side of the building, adjacent to Hwy 100.
"With the different location, we'll have the sun. So with the sun exposure, it should be nice and warm," Putlitz said.
The vision for the new beer garden is to make it look like an old street between the two buildings, as old cobblestones will be laid down to create a historic feel, appropriately complimenting the century-old tavern.
What's not obvious
In addition to various items of structural work, the Bosch will also have a brand-new basement, with much more room to store beer.
"The old basement was very, very small," Putliz said, adding that this made it hard to store the restaurant's many varieties of craft beer.
Now, the basement will have a new 26-foot-long cooler that is 8-feet deep and 8-feet wide, with plenty of room to store beer, and the basement itself will be much bigger to allow for moving around.
The week before Christmas, workers began moving the Bosch's furniture back in and hanging up the familiar decorations, preparing the space for visitors once again.
Now that the holidays are over, Putlitz estimates that the building will get connected to the water utility in the next couple of weeks.
As the gas and electric utilities are already set up, the water utility is one of the main things left in the process. After that, the Bosch's last big step is to get an occupancy permit, and then it will be set to re-open its doors again – or at least, open a temporary entrance as some other work is being done.
Until then, Putlitz says they will be working hard to get the Bosch ready for Hales Corners once again.
"We're just trying to do 50 things at once," he said. "But we're getting there."