Who’s on Layton sports bar will open in the former Beer Belly’s

The owners of Who’s on Third downtown plan to open a similar sports bar called Who’s on Layton on the south side and add a four-season patio to it.

Bobby Wiltgen of Cream City Concepts, which operates Who’s on Third, Third Street Tavern and Oak Barrel Public House, all on King Drive in the Old World Third Street entertainment district, said he expects Who’s on Layton to open in late spring or early summer at 512 W. Layton Ave.

Cream City Concepts bought the building in early January. Beer Belly’s closed in December 2019 when its owner, Ralph DiChristopher, was in failing health, and the building was sold. It later was sold again, with plans for a Kelly’s Dugout there, but those plans fell through.

Wiltgen said the building will be remodeled to resemble Who’s on Third, 1007 N. King Drive (named Old World Third Street at the time the sports bar opened). It will have a neighborhood-bar atmosphere, with 14 to 18 TVs to show sports, he said.

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The former Beer Belly's, 512 W. Layton Ave., is due to become Who's on Layton in late spring or summer. The new sports bar is by the owners of Who's on Third downtown.

A 700-square-foot four-season patio with heating and cooling would be added, as would garage doors to help keep the air flowing freely in the bar in warm weather, Wiltgen said. The City of Milwaukee is reviewing those proposed structural changes.

Plans also call for a giant video wall outside. Next year, Wiltgen said, Who’s on Layton might add a beer garden behind the building.

The bar definitely will serve a Friday fish fry, he added, and its menu might consist of “fan favorites” from its sister businesses downtown. The menu won’t be as large as the downtown Who’s on Third because the kitchen on Layton is smaller, he noted.

Who’s on Layton will have seating for around 100 people, including 30 at the U-shaped bar and 30 to 40 on the patio.

“We’re just excited to bring that concept down there,” Wiltgen said. “My mode has always been to create neighborhood bars that happen to be downtown; it’s exciting to actually create a neighborhood bar in a neighborhood.”

He said the location in the Garden District, also known as Milwaukee’s Green Corridor, was appealing because of its beauty from plantings there. It’s also a high-traffic area near the airport that’s within walking distance of three hotels, he observed.

Wiltgen pointed out that DiChristopher, the late owner of Beer Belly’s, once had owned a bar called Who’s on First, at First and Greenfield.

“It’s full circle,” he said, that the bar now will be called Who’s on Layton. “It’s exciting to kind of pay homage to the former owners.”

Jack Roman, Wiltgen’s business partner in Third Street Tavern, also is a partner in Who’s on Layton.

More:Beer Belly’s, a longtime south side spot for fish fry, is sold

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