The Pub has been around since 1943, but few years along the way have likely witnessed as many changes as 2010 for the State Street institution. Along with repeated management (and ownership) changes and seemingly ongoing renovations, the addition of college student-friendly live music added some spice to go along with the bar's college student-friendly drink prices. It appeared things were settling into a groove during the past couple months, but more changes are on the way.
Ownership has changed once again, the business being purchased by a group of investors from Minneapolis and Milwaukee. The Pub will be closed for more extensive renovation after June 5, says new co-owner/operator Josh Hurley. "This Saturday is the retirement party for the Pub -- it'll be the last day that name will exist in this spot. We'll be open at 11 am. It's just kind of a going away party, for people who want to check it out again for the last time as the Pub."
Hurley says the bar will reopen as Whiskey River Saloon, hopefully after five weeks or so of remodeling. "Our goal is to be ready for Maxwell Street Days [7/16-18], to showcase the new place."
Some changes are already complete, including moving and updating the restrooms. "It'll be a wide open space, not so boxy, with a brand new bar, brand new floors," Hurley says. There will also be an upgraded sound system, and current plans include music by cover bands four nights a week.
"Anyone from 21 to 70 will be able to sing along," says Hurley. "We're really excited to be here in Madison and keep live music going. I know that's big for State Street and Madison."