Pabst Theater Group is bringing a new all-ages venue to Milwaukee with the announcement of Vivarium. The 450-seat club is expected to open in early 2024 at 1818 N. Farwell Ave. on the city’s east side.
In a press release, the entertainment group behind Milwaukee venues the Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Miller High Light Theatre, Turner Hall Ballroom, and The Fitzgerald shared additional details on the coming club. Vivarium will replace the nearby coffeeshop venue Back Room @ Colectivo, which will close at the end of the year.
Designed by architecture firm Kubala Washatko Architects (TWKA) with the Pabst Theater Group, Vivarium will feature “dialed in sound, great sightlines, natural cream city brick, wood walls made from 100-year-old trees from Northern Wisconsin, skylights open to the Milwaukee night sky and a natural feeling main room filled with live greenery.” The name Vivarium is the Latin word meaning “place of life,” which is what Pabst Theater Group CEO Gary Witt said the company hopes to create with this new space.
“In the nearly eight years since we’ve opened The Back Room, we’ve discovered how much it has added to and helped grow the Milwaukee club scene,” Witt said. “Its all-ages experience helped to open doors for many younger bands and their fans, giving them a place to gather and to share their passions. Vivarium will be a continuation of The Back Room’s efforts, working to compliment an already thriving small venue ecosystem that includes Cactus Club, Shank Hall, Linneman’s, X-Ray Arcade, the Cooperage (and others) by creating more space for the Milwaukee community to gather and artists (local and national) to perform.”
Construction work began on Vivarium earlier this week, with local general contractor Findorff selected as the building partner. Emphasizing the “place of life” theme, the design plan will incorporate lush plants and greenery alongside the building’s industrial brick and steel.
“It will be a living, breathing space, filled with plants and creative energy—encapsulating the vibrancy of Milwaukee’s East Side,” Witt said, with TWKA partner Chris Socha adding, “We want to transform the space so that it looks and feels unlike anything else, a club setting that completely defies expectations.”
Per a local report from TMJ4 News, developers said if all goes well they hope to open in February. Check out the news segment below along with an artist rendering of the venue’s proposed exterior.
Introducing the Vivarium, new 450-seat venue by the Pabst Theater Group