A new nightclub is planned for the site of the old Plan B/Prism space at 924 Williamson St. Austin Carl, who studies computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he loves creating memorable events as a DJ and hopes to provide something fresh.
Canopy, which Carl expects to open on Jan. 18, would be a coffee shop by day and nightclub by night on weekends.
Carl will present his ideas at a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 8. Canopy will have to be reviewed for an alcohol licence on Jan. 15. Assuming the city approves his plans, Carl said Canopy will open as a nightclub on Saturday, Jan. 18.
"On the 15th we go before ALRC," Carl said. "And then we’re opening on the 18th. Even if we don’t get an alcohol license, we’ll still do the coffee. We’ll do bar service throughout the week but we will be a nightclub on the weekends.”
Carl plans to open at 8 a.m. daily, serving coffee and food like bagels, muffins and other items from Madison Sourdough, located next door at 916 Williamson St. Carl said he wants all of the products, including the coffee, to be from local suppliers.
He plans to be open until midnight on weekdays and bar time on weekends.
“Fortunately, we’ll have a healthy rotation for employees,” Carl said. “We have numerous people wanting to bartend and barista. We’re looking to get a nice menu, but right now we don’t have a grill or a hood. Our food permit doesn’t allow us to do any heavy items that cause smoke. But we will achieve gourmet food.”
Prism left the space in November of 2019 after being a reboot of Plan B, which faced public scrutiny over its handling of sexual misconduct, serving underage patrons, noise and allegations that staff engaged in discrimination against black and trans customers. Rico Sabatini — an original partner in Plan B — bought out the other two owners and attempted with other partners to reestablish the club, which originally targeted Madison's LGBTQ population.
Canopy, according to Carl, will not have the same type of vibe that Prism or Plan B did.
“We are going to be demographicless,” Carl said. “We’re not catering to any specific community. We have also re-routed the sound in our location so the speakers aren’t conflicting anymore. We’ve moved the old DJ stand onto the dance floor.”
Carl said that in addition to being a coffee shop and nightclub, the future could include Canopy opening up its second floor to various businesses.
“Not in the first term of our lease, but in the future we’ve been looking to get an HVAC up there and we can do a little remodel. We can allow new entrepreneurs or businesses to use that space as they see fit. Something like physical therapy, yoga, a dojo. We have a movie screen as well so someplace like a church could use it for a lock-in and show movies for kids.”
Ald. Marsha Rummel, whose district includes the space, said if the Alcohol License Review Committee gives Canopy approval, they full council will likely take the matter up at it's Feb. 4 meeting for final approval.
Wednesday's meeting will take place at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, 953 Jenifer St., 7:15 p.m. While there is often a mixture of opposition and support for new nightclubs, Carl is upbeat and excited when talking about Canopy and the future.
“We’re adaptable,” he said. “We’ll mold things and see what the community requests from us. I have both created this business and transformed this location by myself within two months. That is massively impressive to myself.”