Sophie Bolich

Riverwest’s Circle A Closing Next Month

Corner tavern and live music hub hosting series of final shows in Sept. and Oct.

By - Sep 11th, 2023 07:52 pm
Circle A. Photo by Michael Horne.

Circle A. Photo by Michael Horne.

Circle A, a longtime refuge for musicians, artists and fans of all stripes is closing its doors later this fall.

The tavern and live music venue, 932 E. Chambers St., will host a series of final events in September and October, concluding more than two decades in business.

On Saturday, Sept. 23, the business will host A Farewell To Circle A, featuring a three-band lineup and $10 cover. Resist Her Transistor will start things off at 8 p.m., followed by The Haddonfields, who are making the trip from St. Louis. The Jetty Boys, a Sheboygan-based pop punk group, will close out the evening.

The following weekend, Sept. 30, Circle A will feature a lineup of solo artists including Matt Davies, Connor Lamue, Eb Albeit, Dandy Freling, Derek Pritzl, Joseph Huber and Kat Wodtke, with accompaniment from Will Hansen.

Entry is $10, and performances are set to begin at 8 p.m.

On Oct. 6 and 7, a slew of bands and DJs will stage a 48-hour tribute to The Velvet Underground, playing tracks exclusively from the acclaimed rock band.

For a full schedule of upcoming performances, visit the Circle A website.

Jennifer Mueller opened Circle A in 2001 and remains owner today. From humble beginnings, the quirky corner tavern evolved into a beloved neighborhood hangout, charming patrons with its coin-operated jukebox and vintage decor.

Despite the lack of a true stage, the cozy bar played host to a diverse lineup of DJs, well-established musicians and up-and-coming bands. Some groups, such as Resist Her Transistor, have been regular performers at the tavern for upwards of 10 years.

Throughout its tenure, Circle A has served as a constant in Riverwest, remaining relatively unchanged despite steady development in the surrounding streets. In fact, the business only recently started accepting credit cards — it was cash-only until 2020.

The tavern serves alcohol, including tap beer and mixed drinks, but no food. At one time, customers could purchase — very specifically — “American Spirit all-natural Light Filters in the hard pack,” but that era has come and gone.

Circle A has not yet announced an official closing date, though its license is set to expire on Oct. 12, 2023.

Robert Warwick Seay purchased the building that houses Circle A for $84,000 in 2000, and remains the owner today. For more information regarding the history of the property and business, read Michael Horne‘s Bar Exam.

Circle A is open Friday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Mueller did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Update: A lineup for the Sept. 23 show was listed in reverse order in an online flyer. The article has been changed to reflect the correct lineup.  

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