Welcome to The KK
It’s 2:10 p.m. on a Friday, and The Kollege Klub (“The KK”) is just starting to wake up. A handful of girls and guys sit in the booths, anxiously waiting for the rest of their friends to finish class and start the afternoon binge drinking festivities. Seen wearing a blue hawaiian shirt, a blunt, blonde wig, and dancing alone in the middle of the bar is Craig (sometimes called Lady Gaga), the familiar face of The KK. Not many people actually know what the fuck Craig’s deal is, but they do know he can be seen in the bar dancing with a group of frat guys on a bumpin’ Saturday night, or grinding on a heavily intoxicated mother during a sorority mom’s-weekend.
What started out as just another restaurant-bar on State Street in 1953, has turned into a modern-day campus tradition and staple in The Wisconsin Experience.
The Kollege Klub first opened at 714 State Street (the current location of Memorial Library) by a man named John Meier, a local of the Madison community. In 1972, he was kicked out of the space and moved to the current location at 529 N Lake Street. After 27 years of creating a name for itself, Bruce Meier bought the legendary bar from his father in 1980. Then again in 2011, The KK was passed down through a third generation to the next son, Jordan Meier. Between himself and two brothers, Jordan showed the most interest in carrying on the family tradition of The KK.
“I don’t see anything more motivating than working for your name, your family. Especially with two additional generations putting in their time, it’s pretty cool to be carrying on the tradition.”
As one of the most popular bars on campus, the Meier family has worked hard to create a positive experience for the students at UW-Madison. As Jordan explains it, one of the most important responsibilities of this experience is the opportunity of learning to drink and act in a bar. (You know, like learning to call it quits when you’ve had too many Long Islands at FAC, or realizing that Ginger Beer isn’t actually an alcoholic drink.)
Ask any one of The KK’s fans and employees, and they will have plenty of ridiculous stories of people’s failed attempts at behaving properly in the bar.
“It was the fall parent’s weekend a few years ago. The dad and the son had gone up to the bar to get a drink while the mom stayed at the table, waiting for them to come back. Fifteen minutes later when the dad and the son returned with the drinks, they found the mom giving a student a mouthful (literally) underneath the table.”
“I saw a girl flash someone on the dance floor. That was weird.”
“My friend had really been feeling herself on the dance floor the entire night, making a big show as our group of friends circled around and cheered her on. She had exhausted all her moves when finally, she dropped it into the splits. She was just as surprised as the rest of the crowd when she realized the position she had just forced her body into. She stayed there laughing and grinning, pointing down at herself, until not 10 seconds later the bouncer came up from behind her, grabbed her underneath her armpits to peel her off the ground, and carried her out the door.”
While they may have forgotten to mention The KK as part of The Wisconsin Experience at freshman orientation, the many drunken nights spent at The Kollege Klub chugging Long Islands and shoveling cheese curds down your throat (well, some variation of that) will most definitely shape your time on this campus. Find The KK on Twitter and Facebook.