The idea for Cafe Bavaria was developed by The Lowlands Group, a Milwaukee-based hospitality company focused on creating European-style cafe restaurants located in neighborhood settings that have a strong sense of character and identity. For each of their unique restaurants The Lowlands Groups seeks to create “… a comfortable place where neighbors can meet over a cup of espresso, a snack, a meal, or a strong ale – day after day.” TKWA was hired to help the owners realize their vision of a contemporary interpretation of traditional German beer hall dining.
An existing two-story 1930’s brick and half-timber style commercial building located along the Menomonee River in the heart of the historic Village of Wauwatosa offered the character and location the clients typically sought. However, challenging site constraints, a narrow building footprint, the absence of a basement, and a warren of interior floor arrangements left by previous commercial tenants all created obstacles for the successful repurposing of the building.
A new opening with stair access was created between floors to enhance a sense of connectedness while preserving maximum second floor seating area. The updated interior layout provides two levels of dining with views to the river.
Exposed heavy timbers with recycled wood railings and trim, along with local artisan-crafted wood and iron tables help integrate elements of German cultural heritage into a contemporary atmosphere. A diversity of seating types – from beer hall-style communal tables to small benches clustered around an intimate fireplace – provide flexible seating options for the restaurant while attracting an eclectic mix of customers.