The View tavern, located on Lake Wissota, was devastated by an early morning fire Tuesday.
Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk got to the tavern, located at 17779 Highway X in the town of Lafayette, shortly after the fire was reported at 6:30 a.m.
“It’s going to be a total loss, with the flames coming out of the windows,” Kowalczyk said.
The tavern is owned by Rob Brown, who purchased and remodeled it, featuring a rooftop tiki bar. Brown was reached but he declined to comment Tuesday morning.
Kowalczyk said multiple fire departments were at the scene, working on extinguishing the blaze.
David Staber, town of Lafayette chairman, said he heard the fire trucks go by, so he listened to the scanner to find out what had happened. Staber said the business has been there for decades and brings people to the lake.
“It’s a big loss to the township,” Staber said. “It draws a lot of tourism. They are a good business. People enjoyed going there. Going into the spring season, it’s going to be a big loss for the economy.”
Rob Brown, 39, purchased the bar in July 2013 and immediately began the major renovations, overhauling the tavern to add a banquet and reception hall, along with installing the 3,000-square-foot rooftop patio. The building was 2,300 square feet when he acquired it, but it wound up being closer to 5,000 square feet once it was finished, plus the patio.
In recent years, he also has brought in larger music acts, such as Saving Abel, to perform in the venue.
The tavern features 19 docks for boats coming off Lake Wissota.
Despite its location along the lake and proximity to Ray’s Beach, The View has had several owners and operators in recent years. David J. Lambert purchased it from Al Grube in 2007, but the Bank of Alma reclaimed the bar in 2009 after Lambert failed to pay off a loan, and the tavern was closed for several months. Russell Faschingbauer then re-opened it in May 2009.
Brown, an Eau Claire North graduate, earned a degree in construction management from UW-Stout.
“It draws a lot of tourism. They are a good business. People enjoyed going there. Going into the spring season, it’s going to be a big loss for the economy.” David Staber, town of Lafayette chairman