Tavern owner wants to raise the bar with performances

Dale Klein plans to make his bar in downtown Saukville stand out with entertainment that ranges from plays to comedy acts

DALE KLEIN, owner of d’Klein events bar in Saukville, stood inside his refurbished establishment, which will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 15. Klein said he wants to offer community arts events like plays and stand-up comedy routines to set his establishment apart from other area taverns. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
Joe Poirier
Ozaukee Press Staff

 Dale Klein wants to feature unique entertainment at his new Saukville bar by offering weekly performing arts events to draw in more patrons.

“I can picture a troupe performing ‘12 Angry Men’ around the pool table,” he said. “I feel like Saukville and surrounding communities like Port and Grafton need a place like this.”

Klein bought the longtime watering hole at the end of August and will celebrate the grand opening of d’Klein events bar at 301 E. Green Bay Ave., on Saturday, Dec. 15.

Klein said the name of his establishment is a play on his name and also the word “decline.”

“I like irony. That’s my favorite type of humor, so I’m hoping people will find that ironic,” he said.

The bar held a soft opening around Halloween. Since then, Klein said, he’s had a few customers but is particularly encouraged by the positive feedback from passersby who have noticed the renovations he has made to the building.

“I hear a lot of good things about this place, and hopefully that translates into more business when we officially open,” he said. “The old bar used to look like a jail cell, and it wasn’t open that often.”

Some of the updates include exterior paint and awnings. The interior is furnished with rope and laser lights and televisions that can stream live performances taking place inside the bar.

The bar does not have a dedicated performance stage, but Klein plans to hold shows on the dance floor and possibly outside when the weather is nice.

Klein used to perform in shows at Milwaukee-area community theaters and wants his bar to have entertainment involving song and dance, plays and family-friendly stand-up comedy acts.

“Ideally, I would like to find a young Red Skelton who can tell clean jokes,” he said, adding he wants to tap into local talent from art programs and schools.
    He also wants to attract younger patrons by hosting weekly trivia nights that will be organized by his 25-year-old daughter Olivia.
    “I asked her what Millennials like to do when they go out, and she suggested trivia,” Klein said. “I don’t want this to be a place where people just come to drink. I want to be able to set the myself apart from other local bars.”

He also wants to add an outside patio and smoker to cook fish and meat.

“I’m not really into fried fish, but I can see us serving smoked salmon on Fridays,” he said, noting the bar currently serves pizza and pre-packaged food.

The bar will also have a gourmet ice machine to serve specialty drinks.

“The current flavors are red raspberry and peach,” he said. “There’s no liquor in the drinks so you can choose your booze.”

Klein was born and raised in Saukville, where his parent’s owned Klein’s Fish Market. His late mother Dorothy was also village president from 1969 to 1975.

Klein purchased the building that housed his parents’ former business, which is visible from the bar, and turned it into his home.

“It’s pretty remarkable to be living at my parents’ old place. I’m able to relive a lot of old memories,” he said. “It feels like I came full circle back to Saukville, and I’m glad to be home.”

Klein moved to Milwaukee several decades ago and became a software engineer. He still has his day job and can work from home.

Klein has never owned or operated a bar before but said he wanted to take on a new challenge.

“When you first get started, it’s very nerve racking because it’s all new. That’s why we began with the soft opening in October so things could become second nature, ” he said.

Klein has hired two managers with more than 40 years of bar experience to help him run the tavern. If business picks up, he would like to hire more employees.

“Trust me. You don’t want me pouring you a drink,” he joked.

Currently, Klein is the process of booking the type of show he said will set his bar apart from others.

“I really want to try something different, and I feel like having a variety of entertainment will make us stand out from other bars,” Klein said. “I want to give the customers a sense of entertainment they can’t find at other bars.”

 

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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