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Entrepreneurship Food+Drink

Downtown Arcade-Bar Gets Coveted City Liquor License

establishment in former children’s museum slated to open in May

Tom Giffey |

SETTING A NEW HIGH SCORE. The Reboot Social, shown in this rendering, would house arcade and pinball games as well as a full bar and restaurant.
SETTING A NEW HIGH SCORE. The Reboot Social, shown in this rendering, would house arcade and pinball games as well as a full bar and restaurant.

A combined arcade, bar, and restaurant proposed for downtown Eau Claire has received a coveted liquor license from city officials.

Entrepreneur Charlee Markquart and his business partners plan to open Reboot Social at 220 S. Barstow St., the former home of the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire. On Tuesday, the Eau Claire City Council voted to grant Reboot Social the city’s only available liquor license, which was surrendered by O’Leary’s Pub when it closed last year.

The establishment will be aimed at Gen-X era and Millennials nostalgic about playing the arcade games of their youth. There will also be pinball, duckpin bowling (which uses smaller equipment than traditional bowling), pool, darts, and Skee-Ball – as well as a bar, kitchen, and dining area. Reboot Social will encompass about 14,000 square feet across the building’s ground floor and basement.

Renovations to the building are ongoing, Markquart said. “We are going to spend the winter finishing construction,” he said. “In March we will begin the hiring process. Our goal is to open by Memorial Day weekend.”

However, Markquart acknowledged that supply chain problems has delayed construction in the past, so the establishment's opening could be delayed somewhat.

Markquart will operate Reboot Social with three childhood friends – Ryan Warffuel, Ian Prock, and Max Koehler – who also own and operate Antic Studios, a stage design, lighting, and sound company that works with major music festivals and artists.

“All four of us are going to find it highly rewarding to be part of downtown Eau Claire,” Markquart said last month. “We love the city. We love the culture and the vibe.”

Read more about the plans in this Dec. 30 article.

Another business, Fusion Management, was also seeking the same liquor license, and hoped to use it at a re-opened State Theatre, 316 Eau Claire St. However, according to memo to the City Council from Jenessa Stromberger, assistant city attorney, the State Theatre, which has been closed for more than three years, has “significant safety violations that may require extensive repair before events and large crowds are permitted in the building.” City staff also raised concerns about how underage drinking would be controlled in the building, and noted that the theater can only operate as a performance venue, not a tavern.