Lil Spill

November 1, 2011

Publicity is publicity
Alcohol has nothing to do with Fitzgibbons Pub’s tipsy appearance.

The two-story Water Street building, constructed as a sausage factory in 1892, is leaning heavily toward the Coyote Ugly Saloon next door in downtown Milwaukee. Far from a hazard, though, the tilt has become part of the bar’s character, said Dan Fitzgibbons, who has owned the pub for 14 years.

Fitzgibbons Pub is among a handful of buildings across Milwaukee that visibly are leaning.  “It really wasn’t that pronounced until they built the building next door,” Fitzgibbons said, referring to the nine-year-old structure housing Coyote Ugly. “It shifted a little bit.”

City records show both buildings are owned by Marlene Goldberg, who did not answer phone calls placed to the number on the city’s file for her.

Fitzgibbons Pub is among a handful of buildings across Milwaukee that are fully functioning despite visible leanings, said Doug Krimmer, the city’s building codes enforcement supervisor.  Krimmer does not know how many such buildings exist, but said they were built in the 1800s when construction regulations were few.  “Right now, we have setbacks,” Krimmer said. “You can’t put a building next to a building anymore. You probably could under a variance, but, generally speaking, you can’t do that anymore.

“But back in the 1800s, that was common occurrence. In fact, buildings even shared the same wall — it was a cost-cutting thing. They were going to be neighbors, so what the heck?”  As a result, Krimmer said, many buildings, such as the Fitzgibbons Pub, have leaned over during the past century. That doesn’t mean the buildings are unsafe, though.

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