Nomad World Pub to add Madison location

Mike Eitel purchasing Cardinal Bar

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Nomad World Pub owner Mike Eitel is purchasing Cardinal Bar in Madison and will open a second Nomad location there in March.

Eitel and Gonzalez
Mike Eitel and Ricardo Gonzalez

Eitel, a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate who frequented the bar while attending college, is purchasing the 109-year-old bar, located at 418 E. Wilson St., from long-time owner  Ricardo Gonzalez who is planning to retire.

“I’ve always felt the Cardinal is just a special place, in an amazing building and a great neighborhood with a unique variety of music and a funky feel that appeals to just about everyone,” Eitel said. “I’m excited to make a great bar even better with some fresh, new energy and an awesome concept. The Cardinal is a part of Madison’s history and we fully intend to keep the parts of The Cardinal that everyone loves, and provide our own unique twist.”

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Cardinal Bar is located on the first floor of the historic Cardinal Hotel apartments building. It has been in operation for most of the time since the building was developed in 1908.

Gonzalez leased the space in 1974 and remodeled the dining room into a dance floor and turned the Cardinal into Madison’s first disco.

It became a hotspot of Madison’s burgeoning gay community and residents of the Willy Street neighborhood.

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The Cardinal has since developed into a place for Latin music and dance.

Gonazlez said he has wanted to retire for a few years, but wanted to sell the bar to the right person.

“For me, this has been 43 years in the making since we first opened our doors,” he said. “Mike and Nomad World Pub are going to take this bar to a whole new level, while respecting what we’ve all worked hard to create here. We have enjoyed serving and entertaining so many people over the years and to know this bar will continue as a special place in the community really makes me happy.”

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Gonzalez will host a Cardinal Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 28  with a farewell party starting at 8 p.m. The Cardinal will then be closed Jan. 29 and will reopen as the Nomad World Pub in mid-March.

Eitel said the bar’s  DJs, live jazz, Latin and fetish nights will continue. He also plans to keep the bar’s interior the same.

Craft and imported beer selections will be expanded on tap and Nomad World Pub will pay homage to the Cardinal Bar with a new “Cardinal Room,” featuring the well-known high-tech sound system. Large high definition TV screens will also be added, Eitel said.

Nomad World Pub plans to offer all current employees attThe Cardinal Bar the opportunity strike “to apply” to stay on with the new ownership. Nomad World Pub will also be hiring additional staff.

Eitel opened the original Nomad World Pub on Brady Street in Milwaukee in 1995. He is currently expanding the bar, popular with soccer fans who gather their to watch matches, to offer a year-round beer garden.

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