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Paul’s Club, home to the iconic tree, is asking for community help to keep doors open

The downtown bar has started at GoFundMe to get through the winter
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 6:55 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The pandemic has uprooted the lives of so many people, but the tree inside Paul’s Club in downtown Madison is still standing tall.

“You just hear the stories over the decades of just how much this place means to people,” said Paul’s Club bar manager Tim Belliveau. “'I met my wife here,' or ‘I met my best friend here.’”

While those memories will last forever, the bar is facing a less certain future as winter approaches.

“Just hoping people wear long underwear and thick shirts and jackets,” said Belliveau. “Other than that, we’re really going to do the best we can and hope the community can help us out.”

Belliveau said that since July 1, they have only been allowed to seat people outside. According to an emergency order from Public Health Madison & Dane County, taverns can only allow people indoors to order, pick up, or pay.

“It’s understandable, just want to keep people safe, keep people healthy, but still have to pay the bills,” Belliveau said.

Belliveau said the City of Madison has helped by allowing them to expand their patio area, where they currently have six tables, for a total of about 24 people.

“When your capacity goes from 150 to 20, it definitely makes things difficult," he said. “If it rains, we can’t open, just because people can’t come inside.”

Belliveau also said that the unrest downtown this summer has added additional challenges to keeping business flowing.

The bar has turned to the community to help, they’ve started a GoFundMe to help pay their staff, and pay rent to make it to Spring.

“Our main goal right away is to help out the employees, there’s about 15 of us, all of our hours have been cut,” he said.

“We want to stay here, we’ve been here for 65 years, we want to be here for 65 more, hopefully longer,” he said. “Even if you can’t help us out monetarily, just sharing the post, or writing a memory about Paul’s Club.”

For more information on the GoFundMe, click here.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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