Promises bar and music venue at Walker’s Point

Longtime friends and bandmates Joey Turbo and Casey Hughes quietly opened Promises, 538 E. National Ave., in mid-July. The space, which was once Walker’s Point Music Hall and before that Gibraltar MKE, has two connecting rooms with a stage in each, but the live music program is about to take off.

“We’re really starting with bands now. We took the first month to figure it all out. There is a lot to learn. But now we have a lot more shows coming up – about three a week,” Turbo explains.

Turbo and Hughes spent years together performing in rock and roll outfit, The Platinum Boys. (Turbo also recently played their last gig at Promises with their popular decade-old band Rio Turbo.) As a result, the two know firsthand what bands need and want in a live venue. .

“We want to treat the groups well. Be a memorable place for them while creating a fun show environment,” says Turbo.

Although rooted in punk and rock, Turbo makes it clear that this is not a bar with a particular theme or style.

“We are really on all levels with everything here. A lot of people were involved in the process and that’s how we like it,” Turbo says.


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Both owners are big sports fans, which is highlighted by retro Milwaukee Brewers and Packers memorabilia on the walls, including a display of vintage-looking baseball cards from current staff members. Some items were from Turbo’s home bar, while others were purchased more recently or brought by friends.

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“The key is to keep it interesting, but not clutter it too much,” says Turbo.

Promises also has flat screen televisions for watching games. “So far we’ve had some great Packers parties,” Turbo says. “More soon.”

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But the most eye-catching aspect of Promises is the art, created by a Milwaukee-based artist named Zelda and a few other talents. The massive “lock hook” wall hangings (are they lock hook? Wire art?) are visually and textually appealing with bright colors and pop-art images like skulls, fish, and eyeballs.

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Turbo says the name Promises really doesn’t mean anything. Like the theme of the bar, they wanted a slightly ambiguous name that leaves room for interpretation.

The main hall stage will host intimate shows with DJs and karaoke, while the second stage will host louder bands and performances. Some shows will be free, others will be chargeable. However, Promises will never charge for a blanket to sit in the front bar.


Drink options are simple and straightforward – a careful selection of macro and micro beers, hard ciders and seltzers, and cocktails.

“Keeping it affordable is really important to us. None of us like triple IPAs anyway. Plus, there are so many places here that already do it well. We can make a great Old Fashioned and a margarita, but most of the time it’s easy to drink here,” says Turbo.

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Promises does not intend to serve food, but encourages customers to bring in food from nearby restaurants and food trucks. The bar will also soon be home to something called “Funtender”, a vending machine selling snacks and unique items from around the world.

“Again, there are so many awesome places in this neighborhood already doing food. We know what we’re doing well and we stay in our lane,” Turbo says.

Stay informed of all Promises live music and sports events via their Instagram.

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About Marc Womack

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