A new bar and restaurant concept is coming to the North Avenue bar scene next week when business partners Jay Stamates and Steve Gilbertson open The Winchester in the former Two Bucks space, 2321 N. Murray Ave.
"We’re going for a small town bar in a big city concept," says Stamates.
Gilbertson says they hope to create a cozy atmosphere that makes college students from small cities or towns – along with everyone else – feel at home.
"A lot of college kids from smaller cities have that one bar at home where they meet up with their friends when they come back for breaks and holidays," says Gilbertson. "We want to give them something like that on North Avenue."
Hence, the music will be primarily country and rock tunes. "A lot of sing-a-long stuff that everybody likes," says Gilbertson.
The menu – developed by Chef Frank Harroun from Lucky Joe’s Alchemy & Eatery – will feature bar food with a twist.
"Very sharable and mobile," says Gilbertson. "Food – like sliders – that you can walk around the bar with."
The Winchester will also serve brunch every Saturday and Sunday and offer a service industry brunch on Mondays.
The space, which formerly housed the bar and restaurant Two Bucks, had been empty since early May when the franchise owner, Lynne Forthaus, was accused of making racist comments toward African American patrons.
Forthuas made a public apology, but Two Bucks revoked her franchise license a few days later.
"The Winchester is not connected to Two Bucks in any way," says Stamates.
Stamates and Gilbertson also own – along with other business partners – Jim’s Time Out, 746 N. James Lovell St., The Standard, 1754 N. Franklin Pl., and Tin Widow, 703 S. 2nd St.. Stamates co-owns Sabbatic, 700 S. 2nd St.
"The Winchester" name comes from Gilbertson’s favorite hangover movie, "Shaun of The Dead," which he’s seen with roommates "easily 100 times."
If Stamates and Gilbertson have their way, The Winchester will open to the public on Friday, Sept. 4. Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for updates.
"The Winchester is going to be something different for North Avenue," says Gilbertson.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.