Boone & Crockett
It seems like little over a year ago that Gumby’s Pub, an homage to Brewers fan-favorite Jim Gantner opened by his brother-in-law, was the newest feather in the cap of the ever-expanding Bay View bar scene. Mostly, it feels that way because it has been a little more than a year since we paid the pub an inaugural visit and called it “a steady Milwaukee contributor.” Who could’ve known that an undersized watering hole named for a no-time All-Star with 47 career home runs wasn’t long for the bar business? (Don’t answer that.)
Fortunately for Gumby’s owner/Gantner brother-in-law Russ Chicks, the folks responsible for The Hotel Foster saw something in the Gumby’s site that, apparently, most of Milwaukee did not. A deed transfer and a complete thematic overhaul later, we bid goodbye to Gumby’s Pub and say hello to Boone & Crockett.
The space: As we reached the last concrete step before the doorway, we arrived at the end of any similarity Boone & Crockett shares with its predecessor. Where there were once white walls, track lighting, and framed shots of a .274 hitter photobombing Robin Yount, there is now wood framing, tasteful antique couches, and a zoo’s worth of taxidermied deer, ram, and pheasants.
Adhering to its decidedly frontier theme, the entire bar was dim—a touch too dim to effectively examine the back bar’s unfamiliar tonics. Plants, statuettes, shabby-chic rugs, and an intentionally outdated and tattered American flag all materialize in various nooks of the interior as well. The back door gives way to a pristine outdoor patio complete with picnic tables, heat lamps, and the convenient coverage of a wooden lean-to.
The service: After patiently waiting for us to take in the surroundings and carefully peruse the bar-side chalkboard full of house cocktails, the fetching tattoo-sleeved bartender asked us our pleasure. Balking on an intense-sounding gin spirit, she eased us into a whisky drink by way of her knowledgeable description. The drink we eventually settled upon took an inordinately long amount of time to prepare, but that had to do with the variety of ingredients and the care in which they were combined more than it did inattentive service.
The A.V. Club’s drinks: The drink she’d recommended, a Trinidad Sour ($7), consists of Fee Bros. orgeat, double rye whiskey, lemon, and an entire shot of bitters (!). The small, stylish tumbler was less-than-flush with the delectable and somewhat sweet mixture, but it packed a punch greater than its volume, warming the chest as we swallowed. Polishing off the last drop of delicious bitters, we followed the Trinidad Sour with a Sloe Gin Fizz ($7), a decidedly “summer beverage” containing sloe gin, lemon, simple syrup, and soda. Though also very tasty and refreshing, it lacked wallop, and, of course, bitters. (We’re bitters people now.) Those not seeking an elaborate $7 drinking experience can imbibe a small arsenal of bottled beer (domestic and otherwise) and more obscure types (Fox Barrel Pear?) on draft.
The verdict: Though you’d need a trust fund (and one of those helmet lamps miners use) to become a respected regular, Boone & Crockett is a great place to celebrate a rare occasion, or to treat one’s self to a carefully crafted and unique cocktail in a distinct and Gantner-free environment.
(Boone & Crockett celebrates its grand opening Sunday, June 24.)