In the business plans of most aspiring bar owners, six weeks are set aside for picking a name, deciding what beers to have on tap or ordering the fixtures to hang from ceilings.
For Lee Guk and Michelle Hoff, a pair of seasoned managers in the Milwaukee bar business, they spent that time buying -- then opening -- the new Ten Bells bar in Walker's Point.
The new tavern, 703 S. 2nd St., replaces V Bar, and fortunately for Hoff and Guk, it didn't take a ton of work to get it opened in record time.
Named after the infamous London Pub where Jack The Ripper stalked his victims, Ten Bells is a no-nonsense sort of place with good beers on tap, ultimate fighting on the T.V. and Golden Tee in front of the bar.
In short, it's the kind of place its owners would like to visit.
"We were talking back and forth and found out the V Bar was for sale," says Hoff. "It was literally six weeks from our offer to opening."
Hoff and Guk worked together at Soho 7, but have been in the bar business most of their adult lives. The new bar is an infusion of what they like, says Guk. That includes soccer, tattoos and rock music.
As for the name of the bar, Hoff says it just stuck as soon as she heard it. But other than the logo, Ten Bells won't be particularly themed.
"It's more of our slogan," says Guk. "You always think of 'I closed Wolski's,' but here, it's, 'I got ripped at Ten Bells.'"
Next year, the bar will feature outdoor sidewalk seating. In the meantime, Guk and Hoff will bring in DJs on Thursdays for their service industry nights. They're also doing something unique with their jukebox -- for $20, customers can buy in with their favorite (or their own) music for a three-month period, and the proceeds are donated to charity.
Guk and Hoff admit that the bar is a bit of a work in progress, but it needs to be, considering the lightning quick turnaround in opening. Fortunately, they didn't need to do much, other than taking the frosting off the front windows.
They're also betting they have the base of customers to make it a fast success.
"This is a bar based on our 10 years of working and drinking experience," says Guk. "It's a corner bar where our friends will want to hang out."
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.