New Year's Eve is this weekend, and local bars and busy preparing.
It is almost time to say goodbye to 2017 as we welcome in a new year.
"It's actually one of our busiest nights of the whole year," said Andrea Mueller, Co-owner of George Street Pub. "Normally we only have one bartender on for the weekends, but on New Year's, we actually have two bartenders on just to make sure that we're well staffed and ready to go."
Local bar owners work around the clock in days leading up to New Year's Eve to make sure everything is stocked.
"Everybody wants to wrap up on a high note and start on a high note," said Mike Brown, President of the La Crosse Tavern League. "So, you got to be organized, get all of your products in line, and your staff ready to go."
An exception to Wisconsin State Law, on New Year's Eve bars can stay open all night long.
"Typically in years past we've stayed open anywhere from 3 a.m. to 5, 6 a.m.," Mueller said.
The extra hours help the La Crosse Tavern League make sure that nobody takes the party to the roads.
"It's very helpful for us to try to get people home, because it's not a stop at 2 o'clock in the morning when everybody's got to get out, and we somehow have to get them home," said Brown. "We can stretch that out a couple hours and get more people home safely. That's really a key factor through it all."
The Tavern League's free Safe Ride Program helps more than 700 people per month get home safely from local bars.
"They simply have to go to a tavern league member bar and ask them if they got safe rides, if they have safe rides there," Brown said. "Then they make one phone call, and they get a free ride home--no questions asked."
Bar owners hope to provide a fun and safe atmosphere as the community comes together to welcome in the new year.
"It's a lot easier to call a cab or a loved one to come get you if you've had too much to drink rather than make the wrong decision," said Brown. "Usually it's somebody who's not involved with alcohol that gets hurt, and that's the worst part of it. So, plan ahead. Take a ride to the bar. Go out and have a good time. Then, get home safely. That's all we want. "
Brown said area New Year's Eve bar crowds have dropped slightly in recent years. More people are choosing to throw private parties at home. Regardless of the dip in numbers, he said New Year's Eve is still on track to be one of the busiest nights of this year.