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The campus area’s oldest bar actually predates legal beer: the Plaza Tavern opened on February 12, 1930, while Prohibition was still in effect. Its history claims that patrons who wanted booze had to talk to Badger football player Frank “Moon” Molinaro ’33, who ran a speakeasy next door to the spot at 319 N. Henry. The Plaza’s biggest legal attraction in those early days was bowling. In 1963, the bar added its famous secret Plaza Sauce to burgers — owner Dean Hetue says the recipe exists in only two places: written on paper and locked in a safe deposit box, and recorded on neurons and locked in his brain. The bar claims to have sold more than two million Plazaburgers in less than half a century. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this dimly lit institution ran into financial trouble, and it sent patrons a GoFundMe plea to help it survive. Hetue says fans came through with the needed cash in six and a half days, keeping the longest-running bar near campus running for a little while longer.

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