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So... What is a Supper Club?

Welcome, fellow food enthusiasts and social butterflies! Take a seat at the table as we dish about the rich history of Wisconsin supper club culture. Curious about what exactly a supper club is? You're in luck. We’re sharing what all the fuss is about. 

SUPPER CLUB (noun) - A social dining establishment where people come together for good food and a good time. 

Baraboo Supper Club | The History of Supper Clubs | Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society, WHI-80426.

Photo Credit: Wisconsin Historical Society, WHI-80426.

There it is—the quintessential definition of a supper club. But what does it truly entail? Allow us to elaborate. At its core, a supper club is a sanctuary where friends gather to share stories, laughter, and, of course, delicious food. Simply put, stepping into a supper club feels like coming home. 

Now that we've established what makes a supper club tick, let's rewind the clock and explore its fascinating origins.  

A Brief History Lesson 

Back in the days of Prohibition, when alcohol was banned, speakeasies reigned supreme. These rural underground joints served as hubs for thirsty souls seeking a sip of the good stuff. 

But as the Prohibition era came to an end, something remarkable happened. Those covert speakeasies transformed into something far grander: supper clubs. These establishments ditched the secrecy and embraced a newfound sense of sophistication. 

The Golden Age of Supper Clubs 

The mid-20th century—what a time to be alive! Supper clubs were the place to see and be seen; sleek decor, live music from big bands, and an air of elegance permeated every corner of the room. It was the golden age of supper clubs, and Wisconsin was at the heart of it all. They were filled with live entertainment with big bands and cabaret shows. These establishments became cultural institutions, symbols of a bygone era of glamour and refinement. 

Changing Tides 

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. With the rise of fast food and casual dining in the latter half of the 20th century, supper clubs began to lose their luster. People craved convenience over elegance, and the once-thriving supper club scene faded into obscurity. For a time, it seemed like the era of supper clubs was over. But little did we know, a revival was on the horizon—a renaissance fueled by a newfound appreciation for tradition and nostalgia. 

The Resurgence of Supper Clubs 

In the 21st century, supper clubs are making a comeback—and they're more vibrant than ever before. Some establishments stick to the classic formula, while others put a modern spin on the concept. Sure, they may look a little different now, but the spirit remains the same. At Baraboo Supper Club, we're proud to carry on the tradition of those iconic supper clubs of the past. 

So, there you have it folks—the story of supper clubs, past, present, and future. It's a tale of resilience, nostalgia, and above all, good old-fashioned fun. Here's to the magic of supper clubs—and to many more memorable evenings to come. 



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