The woodsy, artsy, hyper-curated Bon Iver ethos is coming to life — in hotel form! Justin "Bonny Bear" Vernon, the Grammy-winning force behind Wisconsin indie-rock band Bon Iver, and a team of investors released plans Tuesday for the Oxbow Hotel, a boutique destination planned for downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Slated to open by mid-2016, the venture is headed up by Vernon, Volume One publisher Nick Meyer, Eau Claire Regional Arts Council director Ben Richgruber, and JAMF Software co-founder Zach Halmstead.
"In seeking to create a truly authentic Eau Claire stay," Meyer tells ... his own magazine, "we’re doing our best to evoke elements of our community that are important to many people here: the outdoors, music, the arts.”
What reads like parody is actually a concrete business plan. Among the oh-so-Bon Iver features planned for the 30-room Oxbow Hotel:
- The lobby is ostensibly the cabin in which a famously mono-stricken Vernon recorded For Emma, Forever Ago.
- Record players in every room.
- A vinyl library in the lobby.
- A regionally themed, locally sourced restaurant featuring a craft cocktail menu outsourced to bartender Megan Arts of Minneapolis' Marvel Bar.
- Plans for a jazz-focused music lounge that include words like "cultivating a calendar of quality music appreciation."
- An on-site recreation outfitter.
- That fuckin' moose head.
The re-imagined hotel is being designed in partnership with Minneapolis-based Shelter Architecture. The quartet of investors scored a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp and a $250,000 loan from the city of Eau Claire to supplement nearly $3.3 million in private and commercial financing, according to Volume One.
The team behind the Oxbow hope to open its doors by next year's second annual Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival (Aug. 12-13). Expect lucky festivalgoers who score reservations to weep indie tears of joy into their (presumably) artisanal pillows. No word on whether our man JV will treat guests to Blue Ivy-esque lullabies.
Here are some more artist renderings of the future Bon Iver pilgrimage site: