By Alex Haglund
The Nashville American Legion is trying to push its building located at the southwest corner of Memorial Park in Nashville as the area’s best event location, best wedding reception spot, a place for meetings and on top of all that, a pretty great bar too.
“We’re trying to upgrade the Legion,” said Post 110 Commander Clarence “Butch” Gogolek.
Heading up this effort is “The Queen of Hearts,” a raffle with a progressive jackpot that Gogolek and fellow Legionnaires Roger Kramm and Dan Heggemeier hope will become a popular weekly event.
Queen of Hearts starts with the first tickets sold on January 6, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. Sales will stop a half hour before each week’s drawing, with the first to occur on Wednesday, January 13, at 7:30 p.m. The person whose name is drawn will open a card on the Queen of Hearts board, with prizes worth anywhere from $25, the minimum, all the way up to the Queen of Hearts, which will pay out from $500 on up.
The jackpot will get higher for the Queen of Hearts because every week, the entry money will be rolled into the next week’s.
The Legion doesn’t just want to sell tickets to Queen of Hearts at weddings and events though. Another big push from the Legion is to let people know that, “it isn’t a closed bar,” said Heggemeier.
Heggemeier, Gogolek and Kramm all stated that many other Legions are open to members and their guests– not Nashville. In the past, while the bar has been open to the public, the three of them admitted that it wasn’t always the most welcoming place for everyone. That’s an idea that they want to see gone.
“We have got very good bartenders,” Heggemeier said, “and that has been a great help to the crowds.”
There is one group the Legion is happy to wait for though– those under 21 won’t be served there. “We card hard,” said Heggemeier. “we’re on the lookout.”
In addition to trying to attract more bar clientele, “we’re going to make it more attractive to renters as well,” said Gogolek.
“This building is multifunction,” Kramm said, “but a lot of people think that it’s just for weddings.”
“We did have four weddings in December, Heggemeier said, adding that he hopes to have more months like that, but added, “that little room over there is just $25 to rent. We have meetings in there all the time.”
Currently, the Moose, Lions and Sportmen’s Clubs all meet at the Nashville American Legion. Lighthouse Community Church holds services there on Sunday mornings and NCHS may be one of the Legion’s biggest sponsors, hosting banquets, boosters organization meals and prom there.
“We want people to utilize our bar more,” Gogolek said, “we want people to utilize our whole club more. We are for the community, and we are for the veterans.”
The Legion is available for events, meetings and meals of all sizes. To reserve a room, call bar manager Donna Schwartzkopf at (618) 246-8404 or Heggemeier at (618) 218-0060. The bars regular hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. The bar is closed on Thursdays and Sundays.