Creating and Establishing a Wisconsin Tradition
The Kollege Klub’s Historic Past Since 1953
In 1953, entrepreneur Jack Meier and his sons, John and Jim Meier, opened The Kollege Klub on the iconic State Street in Madison, Wisconsin. Previously occupied by the Campus Soda Grill, The Kollege Klub’s first location was at 714 State Street, where UW’s Memorial Library stands today. For the next 20 years, The “KK” gained notoriety as one of Madison’s favorite watering holes. To this day, many alumni remember the welcoming presence of the owner, John “Big Dad” Meier, and many still recall the iconic UW rowing shell that hung above the bar. With the construction of Library Mall in 1972, The Kollege Klub relocated to the corner of Lake and Langdon Street, where the KK tradition continues to grow to this day.
In 1980, John passed ownership to his son, Bruce Meier, who would operate the KK for the next 31 years. Anyone who frequented The Kollege Klub during these years will likely have had their order taken by Bruce, and if not, they surely had shared a drink with “The Doktor.” As Wisconsin’s athletic program developed into a national contender in the late 80’s and early 90’s, The Kollege Klub established itself as the quintessential venue for loyal Badger fans. The Men’s Hockey National Championships (1983,1990,2006), the Rose Bowl victories (1993, 1999, 2000), and many other famous Badger games were times that many alumni will always remember celebrating at the KK.
In 2011, Bruce’s son Jordan became the 4th-generation of the Meier Family to own the Kollege Klub. Having gone nearly unaltered for 40 years, Jordan oversaw a much-needed renovation of the Kollege Klub in the summer of 2011. While this face-lift ensures that the Kollege Klub is poised for continued success in the future, the KK’s atmosphere continues to honor its tradition and legacy of the past 60 years.