The buzz about Coopers Tavern, a gastropub coming to the Square, has been around for months now, but with seemingly no change to the 20 W. Mifflin space. Co-owner Peter McElvanna says all the permits are finalized and construction on the space will start very soon. So far, the plan is for a soft opening on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, with lunch and dinner service beginning Dec. 2. Coopers Tavern will be open until midnight seven days a week, says McElvanna, with an emphasis on global beers and high-quality comfort foods. It will look, he says, "nothing like Sucre."
Sucre, the short-lived boutique pastry bistro with a moderne, minimalist sheen to its interior design, was the previous occupant of the West Mifflin Street storefront, which prior to that was the Square's McDonald's. The new incarnation will look "rustic" and be a quarter larger than Sucre, says McElvanna. The dining room will have room for 50, a bar for 20, outside seating for a dozen and a European-style pub "snug," or private room, for a handful more.
McElvanna and his wife, co-owner Amy Marsmann, came to Madison from Manhattan two and a half years ago. McElvanna is originally from Ireland, though he's lived in the U.S. since 1992. The traditions of the Irish pub, like the snug, will inform Coopers, making it the kind of gathering place the Square sorely needs more of, McElvanna suggests.