After 67 years, Fennimore tavern serves its final round

After 67 years, Fennimore tavern serves its final round

A Fennimore tavern closed its doors for the final time Friday night, ending a nearly 70-year run as a staple in the southwestern Wisconsin village.

Patrons of the Hilltop Tavern have been flocking back to the establishment for the past few weeks to say their farewells.

First a bank in the 1920s. Lloyd Tarrell’s uncles bought the building in 1950 before passing it on to his parents and eventually him and his wife Paula.

“It’s been in the Tarrell name for 67 years, which is pretty cool,” Lloyd said.

And Lloyd and family have been running the tavern since the very beginning.

“I started working here when I was a kid, doing different things,” Lloyd said.

The place has taken on an identity of its own. Lloyd’s signature mustache and love of music line the walls of the place many call home.

“We don’t come here because of the drinking, it’s the camaraderie,” one customer said. “I’m here two hours in the afternoon and have about two drinks and the rest of the time I’m flapping my jaw.”

“He was like family, you hear that a lot. It’s a family atmosphere,” another said.

It’s that family, nearly 70 years in the making, the Tarrells will miss most.

“You meet so many wonderful people, all the customers, not only the customers that kept us going, but the people who worked for us all the years,” Lloyd said.

“Everybody’s thanking us, but I’d like to thank them,” Paula said.

The Hilltop’s happy hour has come to an end, and the couple who committed 67 years to serving others is about to find a little time for themselves.

“We’re going to miss the people we worked with and the customers enormously,” Lloyd said. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. That’s what it’s all about.”