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University Club will reopen on Jan. 23 with new, casual dining service called Union Commons at the University Club

Posted: 02/24/23

The historic campus dining venue the University Club will reopen Jan. 23 with a new, casual dining concept, called Union Commons, and seating under the management of the Wisconsin Union, the nonprofit organization that also manages Memorial Union, Union South, the Memorial Union Terrace, and markets and cafes throughout campus. 

The University Club, a historic Madison destination that previously offered dining service and event spaces, closed temporarily beginning in March 2020 due to COVID-19. After the club experienced financial loss during the pandemic, the University Club board of directors voted to dissolve the club as an incorporated social organization, to integrate the club fully into the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and to have the Wisconsin Union assume management of the club.

Under Wisconsin Union management, The University Club gained the support of more than 400 full-time Wisconsin Union staff and many student team members in creating a dining experience and in providing operational support.

At the soon-to-open Union Commons at the University Club, the Wisconsin Union team will serve a variety of beverages, including Steep & Brew coffee and espresso drinks, tea, and wine, bakery items, house-made soups, and toasted sandwiches, including a pesto chicken sandwich and a vegetarian Caprese sandwich. 

The Union team welcomes patrons to study, socialize, and enjoy Union Commons menu items on the club’s porch seasonally and in seating on the first floor of the club throughout the year. 

University of Wisconsin–Madison students with valid Wiscards are eligible for a 10% discount on most food and beverages at Union Commons as well as other Wisconsin Union-run dining locations when they make purchases using their Wiscard account. 

The Wisconsin Union team continues to evaluate dining services at the University Club. 

While the club’s spaces are not currently available for event reservations, the Wisconsin Union team continues to work to determine future event space availability at the club. The Union team currently offers event space reservations in other buildings, such as Memorial Union and Union South, for UW–Madison registered student organizations, UW–Madison departments, government agencies, Wisconsin Union lifetime and annual members, and groups with a University department sponsorship. 

The University Club was founded in 1907 as a members-only social club to promote fellowship in the campus community. From the time it opened until its unanticipated closure in 2020, it had evolved into a place for the public to dine and for its members to host educational, cultural and social events that promote the social and intellectual life of the campus and the community.

“We, at the Wisconsin Union, look forward to continuing the University Club’s more than 100-year tradition of serving as a hospitality destination that provides dining and that promotes social and cultural diversity and intellectual exchange,” said Mark Guthier, Wisconsin Union director and associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs. 

During the club’s closure, the Wisconsin Union team worked to prepare the building for patrons, including cleaning, painting, updating signage, purchasing new furniture, and creating café space. The Union team continues to plan how the facilities can best serve patrons moving forward. From September 2021 to May 2022, the University Club served as a temporary COVID-19 testing site. 

Patrons can visit for more information about Union Commons at the University Club. 

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