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Eclipse Prep

Flickering lanterns line the walls, light bulbs dangle from rope over the bar and paintings of 1920s-era pinup girls and gangsters adorn the indoor columns.

Welcome to The Gaslight Social, one of downtown Casper’s newest bars.

It was only one day after the official opening on Aug. 16, but the drinking establishment already appeared to be a hit.

Patrons crowd in at the bar and servers in black tank tops and jeans scurry throughout the 11,000-square-foot structure, passing out cheeseburgers and pepper jack macaroni and cheese.

Co-owner Matt Galloway takes a seat and explains he’s running on only four hours of sleep — not that he’s complaining.

“It was amazing,” he said about the opening night, adding that about 800 customers stopped by.

Opening right before the Wyoming Eclipse Festival — which was expected to bring in about 35,000 visitors — might seem a bit brazen, but Galloway is no stranger to running a bar.

He also co-owns The Keg and Cork and Galloway’s Pub, both of which are located on the outskirts of Casper. But the entrepreneur said he wanted to be part of downtown’s revitalization.

New businesses, like Racca’s Pizzeria Napoletana and Urban Bottle, have been popping up in Casper’s core since the city started planning the David Street Station, a downtown plaza which opened this month.

City officials, who have spent years working to develop the downtown area, intended for the plaza to have this effect and hoped it would result in a livelier city center.

“I thought to myself ‘I’m going to be on the outside looking in,’” recalled Galloway. “I wanted to be part of this major movement.”

Plans for The Gaslight Social began a year and a half ago, and Galloway said his initial goal was to create a diverse establishment that appealed to different ages and offered a range of activities.

“People want to do different things in one night,” he explained.

In addition to the main space, the bar includes a quieter lounge area with booths and blue sofas and a back room filled with arcade games and a photo booth.

There’s also a 6,000-square-foot outdoor space, which patron Jennifer Mayer said she enjoyed.

Pointing out that that summer doesn’t last long in Wyoming, the Casper resident said she likes to soak up the sun during the warmer months.

Although her favorite area was outside, Mayer said she was impressed with the entire establishment.

“It feels like you’re not even in Casper anymore,” she said, explaining that the bar’s “interesting décor” isn’t like anything else in town.

Much of the decor was created by locals, according to Galloway.

Metal work was done by a local welder, local craftsmen created the wooden tabletops and a local tattoo artist named Peanut painted the pin-up girls and gangsters.

“Anytime we could get it done locally, we got it done locally,” said Galloway. “It’s important to me to pay it forward.”

Shira Ferwerda, who formerly worked at Galloway’s Pub, said she was excited to switch to the Gaslight.

Opening night was “crazy,” according the bartender, who said she heard nothing but positive feedback from patrons.

“They’re excited about how many beers we have on draft,” she said.

The bar has 32 beers on tap and will eventually offer 13 handcrafted cocktail options.

All patrons, however, weren’t there for the alcohol.

Novella Marvel said she wasn’t interested in drinking but still wanted to check out the new establishment.

“I like to go to the newer restaurants in town,” she explained, adding that she thinks its especially important to support businesses that are locally owned.

Marvel said the Gaslight is an interesting concept.

“I like the idea of games with food,” she said.

Eight entrees and one cocktail special were offered during the first week, but Galloway said the menu will be expanding later this month.

An abbreviated menu made it easier to handle eclipse crowds, he explained.

Adding that the Casper community has always been enthusiastic about his new businesses ventures, Galloway said he wants residents to know he appreciates the support.

“I can’t thank them enough,” he said.

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Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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