The End of an Era for Two Superior Icons

Paul Whyte

The City of Superior lost yet another interesting and noteworthy character in the community recently. Molly Spaun, the owner of the longtime business, Molly’s Tavern, was followed by her son, Oscar Muench, in death by just two months when he passed away Wednesday, May 29 at the age of 62.

The Reader had a chance to talk to two people who were acquainted with Oscar and had the opportunity to hear some of their stories about him, Molly and the legendary tavern that ended up being located at 405 Tower Ave. in Superior.

Armond Blackwater, a local writer and musician of the area, met Muench in high school in Superior and became friends with him. “He was obviously kind of an out there character‚Ķhe was friends with everyone in a band here in town because he just loved music. He came over to practices, if he could have just sang, he certainly was a performer.” said Blackwater. “Molly could sing‚Ķshe had a set of pipes on her. She’d sing right there at the bar.”

“He was very much into the Motown music and a fantastic dancer,” said Bev Robinson, owner of Bev’s Jook Joint and former bartender at Molly’s. “Diana Ross was his favorite for a really long time and the juke was always loaded up, he was known to have the best juke box in town, that was kind of his end of the bar. Molly has it in her blood for the bar business...Oscar was more into the antiques that he’d display behind the bar and he’d go out of town to all of the auctions and flea markets and buy these lamps and shades, like really big stuff and costume jewelry that all the girls would buy, they loved it,” said Robinson.  

Spaun had a large part running the establishment from 1938 to 2005. “I think some of the more interesting times at Molly’s is when I was going there from ‘66 to ‘71. I had gone in there years before with my dad because he loved the bar and loved Molly. It was kind of a wharf hangout in the 50s and in the 60s there where all sorts of people there. It became the gay hangout of Northend eventually. Even though Oscar was very open and the guy was a pioneer and living in a town like this‚Ķhe was the one that made it ok. It wasn’t ok with everybody, but those of us that it was, those are the ones he wanted as friends.” noted Blackwater.

Spaun lived right up to 99 years old, she was born on February 14, “that night after she had been out the next day she started slipping and I went out and for the first time she looked her age and it wasn’t like Molly anymore,” said Robinson. “Up until her 99th birthday she still had a drink or a couple and she’d say the cutest things, like if someone was up at the bar and not paying for anything, she’d say, ‘put something up on the bar besides your elbows.’” Friends noted that Muench on the other hand had become more isolated in recent years and speculate that the passing of Spaun may of had an impact on him.  “It’s the end of an era, it’s horrible,” said Robinson as she was reflecting on how Muench and her had one last drink at Molly’s the night of it’s closing.

“One of the best people I’ve known in life, one of the most honest and truest friends I’ve ever known, and he was brilliant. His brilliance was in music‚Ķhe knew music and everything that came out, he was on top of it,” said Blackwater.

For those who’d like to come out and remember Oscar Muench, a gathering will take place at Down-LeSage Funeral Home at 1304 Hammond Avenue from 5-6 pm. on Tuesday, June 11.


Paul Whyte

A South Shore native and University of Wisconsin-Superior journalism graduate. Lifelong musician, and former open mic host. Passionate about the music scene and politics.

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