KJ’s Bar is the next game for E Olive Way sports bar Kessler’s with a former bartender stepping out from behind the rail to take over the tavern.
“I want to be the neighborhood spot in Capitol Hill,” new owner KJ Dykema tells CHS about the change after six years of sports bar service on E Olive Way.
“Our goal is locals supporting locals. I would like to work with local breweries and distilleries to bring them in to get some exposure when they might not have. Create pop up events and a place where people know your name.”
Dykema tended bar two days a week at Kessler’s and says she was a regular before that.
“It was one of the few places on the Hill I felt like the bartenders cared,” Dykema says. “I want to keep that same feeling going and let people know this is the place on the hill that you talk to other tables and people.”
It’s a big leap and financial commitment for Dykema. If you catch her behind the bar, in addition to how the Mariners are doing or advice for your dating life, you might be able to chat her up about muni bonds and equities. Dykema also runs an investment advisory firm.
Kessler’s debuted on Capitol Hill in 2015 with a dedication to Wisconsin sports teams, lots of TV screens, and a no nonsense approach — “No blenders, no juicers,” owner Tracy Ward told CHS at the time. Four years earlier, the space was the Tommy Gun bar owner. Erin Nestor sold the watering hole to focus on the BottleNeck Lounge and her Two Doors Down burger business. And way back, the space was a tea shop.
Tea likely won’t be on the menu at KJ’s but simple bar chow like hot dogs and pretzels will give patrons something to munch on during games and, Dykema hopes as COVID-19 restrictions lift and more patron can visit, talking and making friends.
The business proposition for taking over an E Olive Way bar wasn’t just about real estate. Dykema said the joint’s bartenders and regulars are what she likes most about the location.
This little way is changing a lot and it’s nice to have a place to see your friends and family,” Dykema said.
KJ’s Bar is now open at 1703 E Olive Way. You can learn more here.
THANKS! WE DID IT! 1,000 CHS SUBSCRIBERS -- We asked, you answered. Thanks for stepping up!
Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.