While the fortunes of Sconnie Nation (or is it now an empire?) do not necessarily impact those of the Sconz Nation, the latter would never have existed without the former. Therefore, I take particular interest in the future of Sconnie Bar.
I talked to Sconnie CEO Troy Vosseler to get some insight into his plans for the bar. The 24-year-old native of Brown Deer, WI may be the closest thing to a Renaissance man I've encountered in coverage of city affairs. In addition to continuing leadership of the company he started by selling T-Shirts in his UW dorm room in 2004, Vosseler has a degree in history, economics and political science, recently earned a UW law degree and teaches courses at both the law and business schools. I assume he also fences.
His most recent business venture was dealt a blow by the Alcohol License Review Committee last week when the panel informed the Sconnie guru that his proposed capacity for the tavern was 325 over the limit. He wanted 500, but city law mandates that the new alcohol license not exceed the capacity of 175 that the previous bar had at the 317 W. Gorham location.
This was all news to Vosseler, who had searched through the city clerk's online database for the capacity of the location and found nothing. He could not find a city official who knew either. He went into the meeting assuming 317 Gorham was a "blank slate." However, according to his account, after an hour of presentation in front of the ALRC, Captain Carl Gloade gave the Sconnies the bad news. He had discovered the 175 capacity in the City Clerk's paper records.
Vosseler says the space at 317 W. Gorham is simply too large for such a low capacity. Unless he can work with the landlord to rent a smaller part of the space, the bar cannot be financially viable.
His vision for the bar includes a blend of industrial and rural Wisconsin imagery. The old warehouse look that currently exists would be supplemented with timber paneling and the like. Wisconsin microbrews would be put on display through various specials.
Nevertheless, the Gorham location does not make or break plans for a Sconnie-themed watering hole. Sconnie is looking into other locations and pondering other themes, such as a bowling alley or a restaurant. Either case would similarly advance the Wisconsin-centered brand.
After reading my compelling account of The Wisco on Monday, some of you might be wondering if the concept for Sconnie Bar does not already exist on Willy St. The Wisco serves blatz, offers cheap pool and has a friendly bar staff all staples of the Upper Midwest. However, as I pointed out, "Wisco," in my experience, is a term used almost exclusively by coasties to describe the UW. Nevertheless, as Jeremy points out below, The Wisco has existed long before the term "coastie" was ever uttered on campus.