Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern brings Midwest tradition to downtown Denver

Never underestimate the power of hometown pride. In the case of James Weimann, it was strong enough to open a bar.

Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)
Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Never underestimate the power of hometown pride.

In the case of James Weimann, it was strong enough to open a bar.

On Sept. 8, the Wisconsin native officially opens the doors at Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern — a tribute to his home state, inspired by his hometown and family.

Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)
Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)

Weimann grew up in Sheboygan, Wisc., where he worked at a bar and learned to love fish fries and the Packers. His dad, Wally Weimann, was one of 12 children, boxed for a number of years and was stationed in Germany during his time in Army. Now, he has a bar named for him in Denver.

The way James Weimann tells it, that last part came as a surprise.

“My dad looked at me a said, ‘Oh boy, that sure sounds different,'” Weimann said, laying the Wisconsin accent on thick.

(Courtesy of B Public Relations)
A photo of Wally Weimann’s wedding day hangs on the wall. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)

Aside from its location, Wally’s is Wisconsin through and through. The 1,800-square-foot, 100-seat space was designed to feel like a 1970s lake tavern, complete with wood paneling, deer heads and old arcade games.

Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)
Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)

And of course everything they serve goes with it. Menu items include Wisconsin cheese curds, a butter burger, a soft pretzel, bratwurst and fried fish.

“Fried fish nights are a staple of the cuisine and the way people socialize in the midwest,” Weimann said, remembering how Friday night crowds at the bar in Sheboygan would more than double in size.

Fried Walleye at at Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
Fried Walleye at at Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

The bar’s eight taps feature Midwestern brewers, including Destihl and New Holland, and the cocktail menu offers variations on the Old Fashioned, the cocktail of Wisconsin.

Wally’s is also planning Love Thy Neighbor nights, when they’ll offer comfort food to transplants from Michigan and Minnesota (think coney dogs and hot dish casserole).

The Milwaukee Sampler at Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)
The Milwaukee Sampler at Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Ashley Dean/Denverite)

Weimann joined Rhein Haus partners Deming Maclise, Rich Fox, Dustin Watson and Matt Fundingsland to open the tavern, and it connects pretty seamlessly to the German beer hall — a logical partnership, given Wisconsin’s strong German heritage.

Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern, 1417 Market St., opens for the first time Friday, Sept. 8, just in time for the Packers’ home opener on Sunday, Sept. 10. It opens at 3 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends.

Behind the bar at Wally's Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)
Behind the bar at Wally’s Wisconsin Tavern. (Courtesy of B Public Relations)

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers culture and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.