Mom’s Bar brings karaoke back to Madison
Andrew Greenwood, owner of Mom's Bar, looks to bring karaoke and kindness to the Madison bar scene.
When the Karaoke Kid announced its closing the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19, the city lost a noteworthy staple of the karaoke scene. But, bar-goers and karaoke fans alike can now call Mom’s Bar home.
The opportunity presented itself to owner Andrew Greenwood, who during the pandemic yearned for the live music he spent most of his life around and creating.
“Once things started opening up, I decided to take my savings and a little investment luck I had and I went in and talked to the landlord at Karaoke Kid,” says Greenwood.
From that conversation on, Greenwood says that things kept working out. Mom’s Bar opened at 614 University Ave. in February.
Greenwood has only recently started to embrace the title of bar owner. Having spent most of his life in Madison, he went to college on a scholarship at the age of 17 and soon dropped out but “didn’t sweat it.” He began working in sub shops and grocery store,s and in the meantime, played live shows with his brothers and sisters around the city.
He eventually went back to school and studied at Madison College. He began creating and selling apps and after graduating, he began working at Filament Games, an educational gaming company. Greenwood was later laid off. He then applied to Raven Games in Middleton and has been there for six years now. He describes it as “one of the kindest, most humane companies” he’s ever worked for.
In his off-hours at Mom’s Bar, Greenwood is focused on creating a kind, chill environment for everyone who walks through its doors, including employees.
“We run a pretty flat employee structure and we make decisions as a group,” Greenwood says.
“I’ve been hiring based on people’s interests and that they generally want to be there and are a kind person, so we have a good mix of experienced and inexperienced staff. Ultimately we’re trying to be welcoming to people in the neighborhood,” says Greenwood.
In a city with a long list of bar spots to try, Mom’s Bar stands out for a few things, most obvious being the live music aspect that Greenwood hopes to turn into more than karaoke in the future. Mom’s Bar is only open until midnight, because between midnight and 2 a.m., things can get sour, says Greenwood.
“We like our nights to end sweet and chill, and so far, that’s been the case,” says Greenwood.
Greenwood says that Mom’s Bar is not against the other “vibes” in the city, rather Mom’s Bar is a “great ingredient to add.” The midnight closing time gives customers the chance to choose how they want the rest of their night to look.
A musician at heart, Greenwood hopes to bring live jazz and other programming to Mom’s Bar, and it’s one of his dreams to be able to book his friends to play. He’s excited to see what the community likes and how things play out.
“We really focus on fresh ideas, good vibes and a kind atmosphere to everyone there,” says Greenwood. So far, business has been booming, with Greenwood emphasizing how the bar has already reached capacity a few times.
Now that doors are open, Greenwood is already thinking next steps. He has plans to improve the internal structures, as well as create a Mom’s Bar mural. “We also want to get a little spot where you can stand with your mom next to an outline of ‘I took my mom to Mom’s bar'” says Greenwood.
Currently, Mom’s Bar is working with the same company that created Canteen’s sign to have bigger, more visible signage. All long-term plans for Mom’s Bar serve as a motivation to prove its place in the community. Greenwood suggests that so far, so good.
“We’re having a great time at Mom’s,” says Greenwood.
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