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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 31, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 53
Madison Pub gets new owner
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Madison Pub gets new owner

by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

Madison Pub will be taking on its third owner in its nearly 25-year history on December 31, 2010. Roland Hyre, who's been at the bar for 17 years, will be taking over the bar on New Year's Eve.

'I started as a barback. I've been the bar manager for the last five years,' Hyre told SGN.

From rushing around the bar picking up empty glasses to bartending and managing the bar staff of about 10 people, Hyre has come a long way at Madison Pub - and he couldn't be happier to take over the bar.

Hyre has seen owning a bar as an opportunity for him for a little while now.

"Every empty place I looked at, I'd see a potential bar," said Hyre.

"It's always been a dream," Hyre told SGN. "When I first started working here, I'd close up shop and I'd sit here after hours and I'd wonder how I would do things differently."

As a bar manager, Hyre has made most of those changes happen already. According to Hyre, things won't change too much at Madison Pub after he takes the reins. A lover of bars himself, the thing he loves most about Madison Pub is that it's a regular's bar, a real neighborhood bar - Capitol Hill's neighborhood Gay bar.

Madison Pub is the kind of place where you'll always see a familiar face among the clientele upon walking in - something no other Gay bar on Capitol Hill can claim.

"I think we do things here really geared toward our regulars," said Hyre. It's evident when you notice patrons' names on the calendar above the bar to mark their birthdays.

"I tell my bartenders, "The first thing you should ask somebody when they come up to the bar is not, 'What do you want to drink?' It should be, 'How are you doing today?'" Hyre told SGN. For him, it's this kind of attitude that has made Madison Pub - or "Mad Pub," as many of the regulars call it - the kind of place it is.

"People always ask me if I'm the owner," Hyre told SGN. "I always just look at them and say, 'No, I just act like it,' but I guess now I will be."

Madison Pub was opened in May of 1986 by Chet Harold, but it wasn't originally conceived of as a Gay bar until July of that year, when the bar did kind of a re-opening and called out for the Gay clientele. Michael Lull became the second owner later down the road.

"We don't really do a lot of [special events] here. & We like to kind of keep our regular days regular instead of doing a lot of special events," said Hyre. "After all, it's what the regulars expect."

"I think sometimes people think we're kind of a sports bar because we've always had a big Sunday following for football. & I've always though of Madison Pub as kind of a regulars' bar & but we try to keep softball and rugby guys happy," said Hyre.

In addition to softball and rugby, Madison Pub also sponsors local Gay tennis, volleyball, and basketball teams.

"I just want to say thank you to Michael Lull for the opportunity to work here, to manage here, and now to own the bar," said Hyre. "A lot of people have a lot of history here. I'm the most senior bartender, and the next most senior bartender has been here for 15 years, and there's a lot of seniority in clientele as well. There are people that come [to Madison Pub] that have been here for longer than I have."

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