MADISON, Wis. - A game day institution closes as The Stadium Bar had its final send-off over the weekend.
There was a lot of celebration mixed with a lot of sadness as customers and employees said their final farewells before the bar is demolished to make way for a new building being constructed at the same site.
Near the hallowed ground of Camp Randall Stadium, regulars like John Loher came from all over to make the most of their last party at the venerable institution.
"Of all of the bars in Madison, the best tavern I've ever been in, right here," said Loher wistfully.
Loher lives two blocks from the bar, so he and his buddies couldn't miss the chance to bond over one last brew.
Out in front, a sign advertised a public hearing for the new "mixed use" building – the six-story apartment complex that will take the tavern's place.
Loher was one of many heard voicing displeasure over the new development.19926480
"They're ruining the neighborhood. They really are. Pretty soon, you know, there won't be a bar around here."
Chelsea Miller, who has worked a year and a half at The Stadium Bar, said she was able to pick up some shifts at another downtown bar. But some of her co-workers may not be so lucky.
"I was more worried about people who worked here that have been, this is their livelihood, their single source of employment," said Miller.
The final crowds held off the inevitable as long as they could, bringing back stories of all of their old times at The Stadium Bar.
"I guess I didn't realize how many other people had a history here until the end was near and people started sharing their stories," remarked Miller. "I guess a lot of stories are ending right now."
Loher said he will never be in short supply of Stadium Bar stories. But he's sorry he would be able to add any more to his repertoire.
"I'll just sit at home and drink by myself," laughed Loher. "That's no fun, you know! It isn't."
Everything at The Stadium Bar, from the kitchen gear to the big screens, will be auctioned off on June 1.
No word yet when the actual demolition date will be.
The original owner's son was at the tavern over the weekend, remarking that it was the end of his father's legacy but also that it was time for a change.
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