A Letter to our Members and Patrons

We want to share this financial update with you. We’ve had a pretty stable year on the revenue side, as you can see below. We’ve done what we can to keep our expenses as low as possible, while treating our staff, members, and customers fairly. But some unavoidable expenses emerged in 2016 that have put us in a precarious situation. And we’re concerned about the bar.


Bottom line is, we need to see more of you. We’ve been in the neighborhood for 5 strong years. We want to be open for another one. After seeing other businesses come and go without much communication about their situation, we want to be upfront with you about the Public House’s status: the one-two punch of a sales slump and unforeseen expenses has put us in a precarious place.

Luckily, we’ve got the Riverwest community behind us, and we know you’ll show up to keep this place alive. We’ve been a community institution and radical space since we opened, and we need spaces like these now more than ever. If you value this institution as much as we hope you do, bring your energy here. Events drive revenue. We’ve got about 1,000 people on this list, and we need you all to spend some time with us, bring your network here, build your movement here.

Set up a meeting or a party or an event. Our space is free to use, unlike most bars and meeting spaces. Throw a fundraiser for your institution or organization. We’ll help.

Stop by one more time than usual this month, and bring a buddy. If you’ve lapsed, renew your membership. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the first 4-5 years of operation brought regular member renewals. This equity allowed us to open and to operate free of debt. Now, the true believers among our membership have renewed up to their full $200 to become lifetime members. But we still need new equity. Bring in a friend. Evangelize for the bar you own.

We’ll be having a meeting open to anyone to discuss the bar’s health this Thursday, 1/12 at 5pm. Bring a friend.

Last, to make it as easy as possible to spread the word, here’s a sample email to spread to your networks:

Hi there,

As a member/supporter of the Riverwest Public House Cooperative, I wanted to take a moment to encourage you to bring your organization’s fundraisers, meetings, celebrations, or happy hour meet-ups to the Public House (815 E. Locust). The Public House is Milwaukee’s bar with a mission: it’s cooperatively owned, and it exists as a free meeting space for any organization that wishes to use it. To get started planning your party, fundraiser, or meeting, please emailevents@riverwestpublichouse.org.



 Thank you for your support over the last 5 years as we’ve built community, one drink at a time. See you at the Public House.


Riverwest Public House Board of Directors