Regardless of whether the current temperature reflects this, spring is just around the corner. With it comes those April showers, May flowers and, most importantly, baseball season. It’s the time of year in which the Milwaukee Brewers take center stage, and Miller Park becomes more popular than Charlie Sheen’s most recent word vomit. Gumby’s Pub (2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.) couldn’t have staked its claim as Bay View’s Brewer bar at a more opportune time.
The pub is named after Jim Gantner, a former second basemen for the Brew Crew, who fans kindly called Gumby because of the way he turned double plays. Most themed establishments are just capitalizing on a current trend, but Gumby’s owner, Russ Chicks, has a more personal reason for his choice in decor; his sister is Mrs. Jim Gantner. He joked that a name like Gumby’s would draw more attention than if he were to call the bar “Russ’.” Not wanting to make poor Russ feel like he wasn’t good enough for a building with his name on the front, I politely smiled, but he’s probably right. Gumby’s has more appeal. Not to mention, where would he go with all the blown-up baseball photos?
You might think that Bay View is an unusual location for a tavern littered with sports memorabilia. But it’s a refreshing concept considering the area’s more beatnik establishments, and it has yet to be taken over by hipsters in ill-fitting pants.
|The “Gumby” Shot|
This is Russ’ first venture into the world of bar ownership, so drink specials are still being established, but it’s been guaranteed that he’ll have cans of PBR for $2. On my visit he was offering up $3 green “Gumby” shots served in the presence of none other than the claymation character himself. Prefer Pokey? He’s there but just out of reach. It’s a better bet to follow Gumby’s and its specials experiment through its Facebook page. On St. Patrick’s Day, for instance, Gumby’s will offer Miller Lite taps with a plate of corned beef and cabbage for $5. It also has Guinness on tap.
Seating is abundant in the newly renovated space. I’m a fan of sitting at the bar because it makes me available for games of bar dice, or in Gumby’s case, “ship, captain, crew,” and allows me to meet local characters such as abrasive sailors who once-a-year happen upon my stomping grounds and the Port Washington Marina. However, if I wasn’t insistent on fraternizing with strangers, I would’ve opted for the window-side table with street views and private conversation.
Gumby’s will obviously feature Brewers games on the new flat screens when they air but without the sensationalized stigma of modern sports bars. Stop in, catch a few innings, and enjoy the feel of Bay View’s new neighborhood bar.