In 2013, the Wettig brother purchased the building just across Lynn Street from their bar, arcade and music venue Zanzabar. | Courtesy of Jefferson County PVA

Antz Wettig has what many may consider odd dreams. For instance, he told Insider that opening a business that melded a laundromat with a bar and arcade has long been a dream of his.

“When I opened Zanzabar, I wanted to do laundry here,” said Wettig, who owns Zanzabar with his brother Jon Wettig. “We nixed (the idea) immediately because we just did not want to have food mixed in with the laundromat and we knew Zanzabar was gonna have food.”

For the past 10 years, Wettig said, he’s been stockpiling arcade and pinball games specifically for the laundry-arcade concept that they are calling Bar of Soap. He has an estimated 75 games outside of those currently on display at Zanzabar, a bar, arcade, restaurant and music venue on South Preston Street. Some are “games you can’t find anywhere,” he teased.

The Wettig brothers just filed plans for Bar of Soap with the city Tuesday and are still working through the design layout, so it is still uncertain when renovations will start on 2070 S. Preston St., a vacant 2,638-square-foot building.

They bought the property in 2013 for $80,000, according to the Jefferson County property records.

Wettig said the building would need a lot of work. It is currently split into three storefronts that will either become wide-open layout or two connected spaces with the laundromat on one side and bar/arcade on the other. It is unclear if the business will need to be 21 and older or not.

“The laundry side we want to be super clean and super slick and all white,” Wettig said, while the bar and arcade area will have late ’70s decor with ’80s arcade games. “It’s going to be unique, and it’s going to be really weird.”

While it will be the first of its kind in Louisville, laundromats with bars have operated in other cities for years. Asheville, N.C., had its own laundromat and bar called Bar of Soap, but it closed in 2015 after the building it was located in changed ownership.

Adding a bar and arcade to a laundromat livens up the experience, Wettig said, which can be similar to sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office. People don’t typically want to be there and are forced to pass the time by reading used magazines or watching a something they don’t want to on the office television.

Wettig said he envisions people coming to lounge around while waiting for their laundry, working on their computer or playing games and enjoying a drinks.

Although it will have a bar, Wettig said, it won’t likely be open late. Bar of Soap is expected to employ 6 to 10 full-time workers.

Depending on how the opening of Bar of Soap goes, the concept could be scalable to other cities, he said.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]