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Milwaukee hospitality group builds 'Star Wars'-themed bar with COVID safety in mind

Posted at 7:04 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 08:04:35-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee's Movida restaurant has a new home and a new, nostalgic look. During the pandemic, it moved to Hotel Madrid on South 6th Street.

The bar and patio are displaying a "Star Wars" theme, Bar Far Far Away, and customers can even buy some of the swag at the restaurant's online gift shop.

"It's fun, everybody knows it and it gives an experience and creates a safe space for people to enjoy themselves," said Sean Wille, Managing Director for Stand Eat Drink Hospitality Group, which manages daily operations at Movida, Hotel Madrid, Don's Grocery & Liquor and events venue, The Carriage House.

Movida's enclosed pop-up tent with private rooms came about because of COVID-19. Patio season might be over, but there was still a way to keep customers safe and warm.

"We added patio heaters, we added some infrared heaters and again we built out individual rooms for all of the patio spaces," continued Wille.

Movida's old space on South 2nd Street second is now a small events venue called The Carriage House.

The event planning group also transformed Don's Diner & Cocktails to Don's Grocery and Liquor, selling anything from toilet paper to Twinkies and offering takeout.

"How much did all of this cost?" Kristin Byrne with TMJ4 News asked Wille.

"It definitely was a cost and we look at these things as an investment and now we can definitely use these things going forward," he answered.

Wille said his company was able to bring back about 40 percent of their staff at the restaurants and while revenue is down, he said they want to be in a position where they can hit the ground running when the world gets back to normal.

"Adapt and pivot and try to think as quickly as possible to not only survive but find an avenue to strive," Wille said.

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