The soon-to-be-reformatted King Club isn't the only downtown nightspot that looks to be changing hands soon. Barely a week after word broke that the King Street music venue is being converted into a gay bar, it was announced Monday morning that Café Montmartre is now on the market. Opened 15 years ago, the wine bar and music venue at the corner of Mifflin and Webster streets just off Capitol Square is being put up for sale by owners Craig and Kevin Spaulding.
The club is a fixture on the Madison music scene, a regular concert location for local and smaller-scale touring acts that often kept it packed to the gills. Colloquially called "The Momo," the venue was famous in the '90s as a home base for Garbage, and has played host to shows by Cassandra Wilson, Combustible Edison, Andrew, Marshall Crenshaw, Freedy Johnston, Shelby Lynne, Michelle Branch, and Frank Morgan along with locals performers like Ben and Leo Sidran, Youngblood Brass Band, Jewbacca, Erica Mather, Adem Tesfaye, Lorenzo's Music, and Pale Young Gentlemen. Montmartre and its conjoined Sidecar has also played host to underwear, iPod and Guitar Hero parties along with live stand-up and improv.
"Over the holidays we did a lot of soul searching and prioritizing, and the café takes up a lot of time. I've got two children that are ten and seven, and I have another business that's taking more of my time," explains Craig Spaulding as to why they're looking to sell the club. "It's been a hard decision, but I'm not as young as I used to be."
In the statement announcing the sale, the brothers hope that any buyer "will continue to bring a diverse selection of customers, sights and sounds" to the Café on 127 East Mifflin Street. Craig Spaulding says that while he has no control over whether or not a purchaser decides to change the business model of Montmartre, he hopes it will continue to be able to support the live music scene in Madison. The club continues to offer online ticket sales and lists live music dates into April, all of which are he says are still good.
"Breaking up is so hard to do," declare the brothers, "but it's time for us to move on, to pursue our other interests and chase after new windmills."