Bars and restaurants prepare for thousands of Badger fans - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Bars and restaurants prepare for thousands of Badger fans


MADISON (WKOW)-- It's that time of year. Saturday morning the Badger football team kicks off its season at home against U-Mass.

Bars and restaurants near Camp Randall Stadium are preparing for droves of fans, but the bar scene will be a little different this season. A popular game day bar called the Stadium Bar has closed down for good.

"It's sad to see that era go away, but in turn it's a whole new era that's going to be started here at The Red Zone in Madison," former Stadium Bar DJ Aaron jai says.

Two blocks away from the empty Stadium Bar building on Monroe street, owners of a new bar are hoping to take its place. They're working to give thousands of fans a new home to watch the game.

"There's going to be a lot of homeless people that had been going to Stadium Bar as quite regulars," The Red Zone Bar co-owner Ricky Imhoff says. "We're hoping to bring a lot of those regulars over here."

Owners of The Red Zone Bar are confident they'll be able to draw in some of the nearly 7,000 fans that used to frequent the Stadium Bar every home game. It's why they brought over several workers, a few managers and even one of the owners who used to work there.

But it's not only the new guy on the block that is trying to bring in these fans from the Stadium Bar. Well established bars on Regent Street are also trying to get in on the action.

"We've increased some of our staff. We're expecting that we're going to get busy a little earlier than we normally do," Lucky's Bar manager Stephanie Reynolds says.

Several bars like Lucky's Bar are already at capacity during most home games. They're trying to come up with creative ways to bring in more fans without violating capacity restrictions. Many bars have added outside beer gardens and party areas in recent years, but even those outdoor venues have reached their capacity.

"We're just trying to keep everybody happy and in a safe environment. I think there's going to be a lot more people looking for somewhere to watch the game down here," Reynolds says.

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