Closing time for historic bar - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Closing time for historic bar

by Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A well known Eastern Iowa bar is closing it's doors.  After two years, the owner of Isabella's Bar in Dubuque has decided to close.

Inside the historic Ryan House the sounds from the record player fill the room.

"I think this is one of the most unique ideas in bars that I've evern seen," said Heidi Zull.   "A record player for music, quality music is the center piece and art on the walls is a big thing."

Isabella's bar sits here -- tucked beneath the historic Ryan House -- but people here say it's not.  

"Isabella's to me personally is a place to go that is unlike any other bar in town," said Zull.  "It doesn't have a dance floor, it's unique, it's nice and really relaxing."

Offering writers guilds, fundraisers and music -- especially jazz. But isabella's is closing Friday night.  Owner Chad Witthoeft says he's not closing due to the economy.  It had everything to do with timing.

"The historic society who owns the building is currently looking to potentially sell the building," said owner Chad Witthoeft.  "So in the next year I'm unsure as to whether or not my lease would last; I have a lease that's kinda an operations lease."

Witthoeft says he has confidence that the building will sell, but partons worry about the atmosphere.

"Isabella's offers that atomsphere that even if the events are going other places, will no longer exist because it's going to be gone," said Whitthoeft.

In the meantime, people are continuing to flock here, hoping to hear the record player one last time before it stops.

"I have a feeling jazz will have a life in Dubuque, probably from here on out and I like to think that i was a part of that," said Whitthoeft. 

There's no word on what the Dubuque County Historical Society will do with the historic building.

Online Reporter:  Lauren Squires

Online Producer:  Dani Blecha

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