UPDATE: No Wonder; Casper’s Legendary Wonder Bar Set to Close Oct. 8
The legendary World Famous Wonder Bar in downtown Casper will close on Oct. 8, K2 Radio has learned.
Several sources who asked to remain anonymous confirmed the closure, which was the result of a sale of the property at 256 S. Center St., by the owner Casper Hospitality Group, LLC.
Poor Boys Restaurant, 739 N. Center St., also is scheduled to close on Oct. 1. Its owner is Poor Boys Holdings, LLC.
Wonder Bar general manager Jimmy Beck declined to comment.
Pat Sweeney, a co-owner of the Casper Hospitality Group and Poor Boys Holdings, did not return calls Wednesday and Thursday seeking comment.
Property records at the Natrona County Clerk's Office do not have any documents indicating the sale of the properties so far, so the name of the buyer is unknown at this point.
The Natrona County Assessor's Office estimates combined value of the land and building at 256 S. Center St. at $733,000; and the combined value of the land and building at 739 N. Center St. at $655,000.
My favorite memories are the memories I can't remember!
According to its website, the Wonder Bar was founded in 1934. It has hosted Ernest Hemingway and John Wayne, and horses were allowed to walk through the bar in the 1940s. The Wonder Bar also is the home of the Wyoming State Brewing Company, the only premium microbrewery in Casper, according to the website.
It features a classic western bar, photos of Casper and the bar from the early 20th century, a wooden Indian, and knick knacks and mementos hung from the walls.
Wonder Bar employees would not comment on the record about the impending closure, but they expressed their happiness working there as well the loss of not only their jobs but their company family.
"As a family, we are sad," one woman said. "This is the best (place) I've ever worked -- the employees, the managers, even the owner."
And silent and unseen, but real as a cold draft beer on Parade Day, are the thousands of memories made by patrons and employees over the decades as the bar went through different owners and iterations such as The Cattlemen's Club and Tommyknockers in the 1990s.
A lot of people expressed disbelief. Many said they'll miss it, the history, the western flavor, and the food -- loaded potato skins, wings, burgers -- and the beer.
Several couples recalled meeting their spouses there.
Some recalled the acts they saw there including The Young Dubliners, Firefall, Foghat, Head East, Van Zant, Three Dog Night, and comedy acts.
One guy recalled riding his motorcycle through the place in 1997. One guy getting kicked out and another falling down the stairs and being caught.
And the best memory of all -- "My favorite memories are the memories I can't remember!"