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The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel Captures Milwaukee

By Morgan Halaska

The Historic Third Ward has always been the darling of downtown Milwaukee, Wisc. A complementary mix of industrial and hip, the neighborhood—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—houses the highest concentration of art galleries and boasts landmarks like the Milwaukee Public Market. Its location, within walking distance to both the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan, is simply the icing on the cake. So it’s certainly no coincidence that The Kimpton Journeyman Hotel found its way to the Third Ward as the neighborhood’s first hotel, effortlessly fitting right in and instilling even more energy into an already thriving area.

The 158-room boutique hotel looks like it’s been in the Third Ward for years, a feat considering it just opened on June 30 as a new build, taking the place of an old parking lot. The lobby, with stunning overhead lighting, chevron ceiling panels and engaging staff posted at the whimsical front desk, makes for a warm and aesthetically pleasing entrance. Every piece of furniture, material and work of art in The Journeyman was intentionally selected by Warren Red, a New York-based design firm responsible for crafting the brand and the interior design with the mission of welcoming wanderers into Milwaukee’s culture.

While all Kimpton hotels are unique—reflecting the story and character of each respective city—there’s one thing they all have in common: happy hour. Hotel staff hosts a happy hour every day, serving wine and, in Milwaukee’s case, beer, pizza and flatbreads from the kitchen. Kimpton guests certainly feel like they’re at home while away—better, even. The pet-friendly Journeyman lends out bikes and leather backpacks free of charge, allowing guests to explore the city like a local. Even mornings are bustling in the lobby, with a coffee bar serving Colectivo in the morning and guests staying to enjoy a cup or two in front of the fireplace, just as if they were in their own living room.

But the one feature of The Journeyman that has the town talking is its indoor/outdoor rooftop bar—something that Milwaukeeans have been craving as evidenced by the constant flow of locals waiting to get a seat at the cabana-style couches around a fire pit. The Outsider, located on the ninth floor, isn’t just good for the view of the Third Ward and beyond. Its mixologist and lead bartender, Gen Longoria, crafts visually stimulating cocktails, complete with garnishes like edible flowers or sprigs of rosemary. Small bites complement the robust cocktail menu, and patrons can order pizza from Tre Rivali, the hotel’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that serves modern American cuisine. Jumbo-sized games, like Four Square and shuffleboard, add a playful element.

Led by Chef Heather Terhune, contestant of “Top Chef Texas,” Tre Rivali (which translates to “three rivals” in Italin) feels and tastes more like a restaurant that happens to be in a hotel. Chef Terhune uses local ingredients to create menu items inspired by her travels abroad as well as her Midwestern upbringing. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, no dish on the menu disappoints; starters like the Wisconsin Artisan Cheese Board pique tastebuds, and handmade pastas like the mascarpone cheese ravioli will cause a case of plate envy. The main dinner entrees revolve around the standard proteins, but the sides and seasonings differentiate each dish from your typical strip loin, chicken or pork tenderloin. Chef Terhune served as a pastry chef at Chicago’s 312, so saving—or making—room for dessert is a must; the Warm Greek Donuts served with honey-walnut ice cream and the Olive Oil Cake with sea salt ice cream are hands-down worth the overeating. Capped off with excellent service, dining at Tre Rivali is a memorable experience from the moment you walk in to the last delicious morsel; it’s a meal that will stay with you as one of your best.

Watch out for our Wisconsin feature story in the Summer 2017 issue of Minnesota Meetings + Events.

Meeting Spaces:

Eight flexible meeting spaces in the hotel, the biggest accommodating 200 theater-style or 180 at rounds.

Tre Rivali features private dining for 18-20 people with family-style serving.

The Outsider can accommodate private groups for 30 comfortably.