By June 2018, a tiny building at Paterson and Williamson streets could become Tiny's Tap House, a 30-seat craft beer bar with a small outdoor patio.
Tiny's potential owner is Holly Alexander, who owns the dive bar institution known as The Wisco at 852 Williamson St. Her new bar, a 735-square foot building just past the Wisco's volleyball courts, would be named in honor of her late husband Bill "Tiny" Alexander. Tiny bought the Wisco in 1989 and ran it until his death in 2015.
Tiny was a member of the C.C. Rider motorcycle club, and the building at 308 S. Paterson St. used to be a C.C. Rider clubhouse before it was a music studio.
"He spent a lot of his life in that building. He had history in that building," said Alexander. "The business is named in his honor. We'll probably do a little bit of a nod with the décor to the building’s history as the former clubhouse of the Riders."
Alexander is working on the new bar with Brooks Jewell, a Wisco staffer for nearly 14 years. Pending city approvals, Tiny's would have 15 to 18 taps focusing (at least at first) on Madison area beer from breweries like Next Door Brewing Co., One Barrel Brewing and Ale Asylum.
"It will be a fluid situation — horrible pun," said Alexander. "Between The Wisco and the Tap House, maybe Wisconsin favorites will end up at The Wisco and the Tap House will go more toward imports. It will depend on what our neighbors tell us they like."
The plan is to serve beer in 32-ounce and 64-ounce growlers for carryout in addition to the usual pints. Lacking a kitchen, Tiny's would have a very limited menu of soup, salad and an appetizer each day, but customers could bring in food from The Wisco, which has a kitchen. Alexander hopes to connect with neighboring restaurants and host food carts a few nights a week until 10 p.m.
Tiny's hours would be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Alexander said she knows the neighborhood is hesitant about more bars, and "The Wisco makes noise." She's already met once with about a dozen neighbors and made some changes to her business plan.
"They were hesitant on food carts," Alexander said. "If they’re there at bar time it increases people talking at full voice. And they were concerned I would go over 30-person capacity. We want a small, quiet venue."
Alexander hopes to have the new bar open by June, but like The Wisco, the Paterson Street building is very old. City records don't list an exact date, but it could be more than 100 years.
"The biggest piece always with the isthmus is, what are we getting into? Always more than we expect," said Alexander. "With those old buildings there's lot of surprises."
Would Tiny hang out at the bar that may bear his name? Alexander hopes so.
"Tiny drank Budweiser," she said with a laugh. "Tiny liked beer and he loved to socialize.
"With the changes I’ve made at The Wisco I think he’d be proud of it," she added. Construction of the music venue The Slyvee on East Washington Avenue means "there’s going to be a lot of people moving around. You want to give them something memorable.
"I hope Williamson will keep its charm and remain a place where people who live there feel respected. I think everybody in the city wants to preserve that."