Bootleggers Bar opens in downtown SomersetBootlegger’s Bar opened its doors late February and its owners, Somerset residents Tanya and Chad Schmitt, are celebrating its history.
By: Julia Ybarra-Young, New Richmond News
It is embracing its roots.
The sprawling 17,000 square foot building at 235 Main St. – most recently the home of MacDaddy’s Bar and Club Metro – is under new management, and a new name.
Bootlegger’s Bar opened its doors late February and its owners, Somerset residents Tanya and Chad Schmitt, are celebrating its history.
“There are tunnels in the basement,” Tanya explained, “from when the place had illegal gambling activities (during the first half of the 1900’s). The tunnels used to open up into three different areas of town, but they have been boarded up for years now.”
The couple, who also have two sons, are no strangers to owning a business. They have owned Seal-King, 2103 62nd St., in Somerset for five years and Tanya has worked at several bars in town as a manager or bartender.
“Chad also has good inventory and organizational skills – that’s a big key,” Tanya pointed out.
Although their Seal-King business is doing well, they said that business is seasonal, which allowed them the opportunity to look at other business venues.
“I used to go to MacDaddy’s and Fred (Marcalus, the owner) would talk to me for over a year about me buying the bar,” Tanya recalled. “He said he would close the doors otherwise.”
“We were looking for another investment,” Chad explained. “We had a taste of owning our own business and doing well. We wanted to invest in ourselves.”
The facility actually contains three separate bar spaces. The “nightclub” features a DJ and dance floor. The “main bar” features the pool tables, darts, foosball tables, giant Jenga game and karaoke. The “event center” houses the stage where live bands will perform, and has its separate entrance. It also has a fenced off carport attached for a designated smoking area when Wisconsin bans smoking in public establishments.
With all that space, the Schmitt’s are filling the calendar with special events.
“We’re trying to make Friday nights a ‘rock disco’ night,” Tanya said excitedly. “I like how I can bring my creativity out. We do theme parties once a month.”
“We’re trying to bring fun back into town,” Chad added. “Somerset used to be a bar-hopping place, and it hasn’t been for a while.”
In addition to the rock disco night, they also are keeping the drag show from the Club Metro days, with a twist. It is now more of a comedy drag show that will be on Saturday nights.
They are also planning open mic nights, karaoke, poker nights, air hockey games and sponsoring a foosball tournament in the near future. Cage fighting will begin on April 9, and they plan to have live bands come in on Friday nights.
“There is so much stuff going on between the three bars,” Tanya said. “It can be for any mood.”
In accordance with their fun policy, they have been cleaning the place up, literally and figuratively.
“We have zero tolerance for fights,” Tanya said emphatically.
Ian Barlow, a bouncer at the facility for the past two-and-a-half years, agrees with the Schmitts.
“It’s fantastic,” Barlow said about all the changes. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to this place.
“It’s like a mini-city in here – you can bar-hop without actually leaving the bar.”
For more information, call 715-247-BOOT.