On Cue: New bar opens in Brattleboro
BRATTLEBORO -- Bob Wolseley has painted the interior of his new Brattleboro bar "Fenway green."
That's appropriate not only because he has opened a New England sports bar, but also because he cut his teeth in the business working at watering holes situated around the legendary Boston ballpark.
Now, he's bringing two decades of experience in bars and restaurants to The Cue Bar, which opened this month at the former site of The Beacon at 747 Putney Road.
"We want to be the premier sports bar in the Brattleboro area," Wolseley said.
The Beacon closed at the end of May, with its owner citing financial difficulties. Wolseley bought the bar three months later and invested lots of time and money into renovating the space.
"I was working a full-time job in New Hampshire and doing this part-time," he said.
Some changes are aesthetic: Wolseley took down most of what had adorned the walls, saying "I'm more of a clean-lines kind of person."
More importantly, he is touting audio-visual upgrades aimed at making the bar a destination for sports fans.
"We put eight new speakers in and seven high-def TVs," he said.
The centerpiece of that strategy is a 10-foot-by-6-foot projection screen that, Wolseley says, makes a Patriots game seem "larger than life."
The bar also features four pool tables and foosball along with other games.
Wolseley expects to make music a big part of the bar's appeal. He plans Wednesday karaoke, live bands on Fridays and disc jockeys on Saturdays.
Live acts so far have included the Natalie Turgeon Band and the Eric Grant Band. Both acts have played at Toby Keith's bar and grill outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
"We are now starting to focus on bringing in local talent," Wolseley said.
Cue Bar patrons will find an expanded menu, as well. Noting that The Beacon offered standard fried fare, Wolseley said a relatively small kitchen has limited food offerings in previous incarnations of the bar.
"In the history of this place, I don't think anybody's ever said, ‘Let's go down there to get something to eat,'" he said.
Wolseley aims to change that. He hired a chef, Marc Tessitore, who has experience in New York and has lived in Brattleboro for the past few years.
An expanded menu now includes panini, sandwiches and salads. An ahi tuna wasabi salad is among the highlights, and the panini come with locally inspired names including "The Strolling Heifer."
Still, Wolseley notes that "We're a bar that serves great food. We're not a restaurant."
The property's history as a well-known bar is one thing that drew Wolseley to Brattleboro. He also liked the spacious interior.
But filling that space is another matter. New banners soon may make the bar more noticeable to Putney Road drivers, but Wolseley also is counting on word of mouth to let customers know that the establishment is again open for business.
"The biggest comment I got in the past week was, ‘We didn't even know you were open,'" he said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 802-254-2311, ext. 275.
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