De Pere’s downtown district, situated on Main Avenue, boasts a rich history, and so does Baba Louies. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to explore the intriguing history of this bar and its sand volleyball court.
Historical records reveal that De Pere was once home to four movie theaters. Among them, the Pearl Theater and the Nicolet Theater stood side by side on Main Avenue during the era of 10-cent movies, occurring before televisions became commonplace. The Pearl and Nicolet theaters are now distant memories, making way for the establishment we know as Baba Louies today.
In 1977, Jim Kropp, the owner of Baba Louies, acquired the theater buildings. Initially, he rented them out before venturing into a printing business within one of the buildings. Following this, he opened a pizza parlor, both of which eventually gave way to the birth of Baba Louies.
In January 1988, Baba Louies emerged as a neighborhood sports bar, hosting pool, dart, and volleyball leagues on weeknights, and transforming into a vibrant dance club on Fridays and Saturdays. In 1991, an adjacent building was cleared to make room for a sand volleyball court. This expansive sand court has since become a hub for volleyball tournaments, leagues, and special events.
A significant remodeling project in 1996 saw updates to the bar top and the creation of a storefront feature at the entrance, displaying St. Norbert College jerseys. Though the original theater is no more, Baba Louies continues to uphold its mission to provide entertainment. It has evolved into a beloved nightclub where patrons can unwind, have fun, and momentarily escape life’s troubles. This De Pere gem has become a popular rendezvous for friends, a place to hang out, and a hot spot for nightlife enthusiasts.
For over 30 years, Baba Louies has stood as an iconic entertainment destination in Downtown De Pere, where drinks flow, and good times roll.