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“It's a hub of unique, cool, authentic Eau Claire vibes,” said Cassandra Lueck, describing The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely—a restaurant, bar, and venue offering farm-to-table fare, craft cocktails, and live music. "We want everyone to come in and have a drink. . .raise a glass to coming as far as we have as a community,” said Lueck, Marketing and Events Director with the property.
The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely are nestled in the heart of downtown Eau Claire at 516 Galloway Street. The property includes a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar, courtyard and patio, and a space designed for community events like small concerts and book readings. Lueck said a lot of people look at The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely and think, “Oh, that's the hipster crowd. . .but we’re so much more than that.” Lueck said they really try to cultivate an authentic Eau Claire experience complete with good food and good drinks. “We really want to make sure that everyone feels welcome.”
Regardless of why you visit The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely—whether it’s for a private event, live music, farm-to-fork eats, or a late night craft cocktail—you’ll likely notice a few things: a seasonal menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients, local art, and live music, most often jazz. “Jazz culture in Eau Claire is really important,” Lueck said. “We have been the only year-round jazz venue with a consistent jazz schedule, which is super neat.”
When it comes to food and art, Lueck said The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely want to support as many local businesses and artists as they can, “...but it's not just a dry exchange of money; It's about the relationships.” One of The Lakely’s best relationships is with Deutsche Family Farm, where they source pork for the restaurant. When it comes to artwork, Lueck said they feature a number of local artists through a yearly rotational art program in The Gallery and art within the hotel rooms—like cribbage boards handcrafted by Tree Purpose of Eau Claire and abstract wall art created by Afterthought Art.
As a diverse and flexible property with multiple indoor and outdoor spaces, The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely frequently play host to both public and private events. In addition to live music like Late Night Jazz, The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely also offer annual events and multi-course holiday dinners. Various spaces can also be rented for private events like bachelor(ette) parties, corporate events, and weddings.
“Weddings are super fun because it's almost like a destination wedding for couples when they get the entire venue to themselves,” explained Lueck. To pivot amid COVID-19, Lueck said she created different ‘wedding experiences.’ One experience is a ‘Minimony,’ or a mini ceremony. “It's a small wedding ceremony for the couple and eight of their closest friends and family.” They also host micro weddings for up to thirty people, and for couples who want to rent the entire place, the property can accommodate about eighty for a traditional dinner reception, or up to 150 for an ultra-modern standing reception. Folks who get married at The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely typically want a more intimate experience.
Looking to the future, Lueck said she’s focused on finding new and creative ways to give guests a unique experience. “Going forward,” Lueck said, “[We will] make sure that people understand any regulations that we have to follow, but also [that guests] have the confidence in us to take care of them. . .keeping them safe, and keeping our staff safe.”
Whether you’re meeting someone new or spending time with a close friend, The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely want to create an atmosphere that helps people be present. “[We want guests to] enjoy the experience of the art, the music, the food, and the drink with another person,” said Lueck, “...to create a deeper bond and connection.”
Check out their online store featuring posters designed by local artists (the same ones that hang in the hotel rooms), apparel, mugs, and other Midwest-inspired products! For the latest news regarding their events and more, check out their Facebook and Instagram, or subscribe to their newsletter.