Milwaukee area musicians have a new BFF.
It’s Anthony’s on Jefferson.
Anthony’s isn’t just another bar that has live music.
It is so much more than that.
Music is the very DNA of the place.
Owner Rich Dacquisto, along with fiancee Gina Marie Emanuele, have created a home for live music.
It’s where area groups and musicians are not an afterthought, but the focal point.
Anthony’s, which opened it doors in February, is located in the Historic Third Ward at 185 North Jefferson.
One of the first things Dacquisto did when he and Gina took over the space that was occupied by a dance club, was to move the stage.
It went from being on the smallish side and tucked in the corner in the back to being front and center.
It is a beautiful area that will be seen as practically canyon-like compared to the postage stamp stages most bands have to shoehorn themselves into.
It has struck a chord with the local talent that has played there already and e-mail requests to perform there have overwhelmed the owners.
And that’s precisely how Dacquisto wanted it.
“Music is my passion in life,” he said in a recent interview.
“I want the musicians to feel like they are respected. I’m all about respect.”
Dacquisto took over this spot in a building owned by his uncle, Tony, and named it after him to “out of respect.”
Anthony’s offers a good variety of wine and spirits and will have signature drinks for their customers and fellow music lovers.
Gina is in charge of putting together the menu of small plates and unique dishes when the location begins to offer food early this summer.
Emanuele gave up her job as a full-time Certified Medical Assistant to learn the bar and restaurant business.
When she isn’t pouring a glass of wine or opening a bottle beer, Gina can be seen cleaning every last nook and cranny.
No doubt they will be in line for a Blue Ribbon Award from Courtny Gerrish when the time comes.
The game room that was in the former Fanatics Sports Bar space has been annexed by Anthony’s .
The goal for that area will be another stage that will eventually host national acts.
There is a very good reason Dacquisto has such any affinity for music and musicians.
He has been playing the drums since he was a kid (he turns 59 in July) and headed to Music City (Nashville) when he was 18.
Dacquisto lived and played there for a dozen years.
He loves playing the skins and simply beams when he sits in with any of the groups that grace his stage.
Getting the sound just thus and so is a must as well.
Dacquisto studied acoustics and sound during his years in Tennessee.
He returned to Milwaukee and was bartending for a couple of decades.
“After a ten year break, I decided to run my own place and I wanted to do it right,” Dacquisto said.
“There aren’t many options for people who want a quiet place to sit back, relax with a glass of wine and listen to live music.
“A place that isn’t too loud or crazy.”
Anthony’s is here to fill that void.
“In the 70s, there were a lot more places for groups to play…the Holiday Inns, Ramada Inns. These groups need a place to play.
In Dacquisto and Emanuele, area musicians have owners who get it and them.
Anthony’s feature music on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays with plans to expand to five nights a week.
You can expect to see a variety of musical acts from all genres except hip-hop.
Anthony’s intends to keep it live…no karaoke or track shows.
The club is currently closed on Sundays and Mondays, but the hours of operation will likely expand in the coming months.
In addition to street parking, the location has its own, ample parking lot setting it apart from most venues, especially ones downtown.
A website is still in the works, but their Facebook page is updated regularly.