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Funk’s Pub

in Fitchburg, WI
by Mike Huberty - February 2015

Photo Caption: Musician and Funk's Pub owner, Jeff Funk

Musician and Funk's Pub owner, Jeff Funk

When The Dry Bean closed down in 2011, it left a live music-sized hole in the Madison suburbs. While Fitchburg is home to several of the area’s thriving businesses during the daytime, it’s not often you hear your friends say, “Let’s check out what’s going on in F-Burg tonight.” Okay, if I had any friends that called it “F-Burg”, I’d probably punch them anyway, but if the fine proprietors of Funk’s Pub have anything to do with it, they’re going to give you a reason to head south when it’s time to go out.

Longtime Madison musician and current bassist of Anna Wang and the Oh Boys!, Jeff Funk (fortuitously his real name) and his wife Jenny, bought what was their neighborhood bar, formerly known as Byrd’s, right next to the Princeton Club Xpress off PD and Seminole Highway (and while the steam showers there are totally sweet and it seems tempting, don’t get drunk before you get in, just trust me on that one.) As Jeff puts it, “We took it over and we thought well, that we’ve been hanging out here for 8, 9 years now. We’ve been for longer than most of the owners have, let’s give it a shot.”

So, Funk’s Pub was born. The first artist to hit their stage was Brian Vanderark from The Verve Pipe in November of 2013 and since then they’ve been very selective about the bands they bring in. “If I can get a band in here that I would’ve paid to see anyway and I can expose them to some people and not lose money doing it, that’s a win for me”, Funk says. And that’s the extremely delicate balance that you have to strike in the bar business, especially when you’re not location isn’t a nightlife destination. Bars like these make most of your money on your regulars and that means they can’t usually charge a cover and scare those paying customers away or they can’t bring in the touring punk band from Orlando with no local support that’ll clear the place out, but the very fact that they are the only club in the area to have a full backline (which means the bass amp, drums, and guitar amps are already set up and the band doesn’t have to haul gear into the club) already setup along with their PA means that it’s the kind of place where music isn’t just an afterthought or just a means to sell drinks.

If you’re interested in playing at Funk’s, Jeff says the best way to reach him is through Facebook. “Generally, I book everything through Facebook. I’m a tech guy, I’m online, that’s what I do. I like to hear the band, to hear live examples, to make sure I’m getting what I think I’m getting.” Funk says, “The trick is that you’ve gotta have something that creates that little spark, that gets us interested… I wanna have stuff up here that gets people to say, ‘Hey man, that was an awesome band, they were really good.”

Having that backline means something too, because right now they’re the only game in town when it comes to an open jam, where all you have to do is show up and your whole band can play. Started and hosted by Madison jam band Mudroom’s outrageously talented guitarist, Tyler Rickers (aka Dr. Love), they’re about to celebrate their one year anniversary of Sunday night jams. It’s a great place to show up and not only hear music, but try out some new songs, meet other players who might be interested and joining forces, and just perform in a safe environment with other creative people. Also, because Funk’s is technically a restaurant, it’s a place where you can go play and see music even if you’re not old enough to drink, which is an awesome opportunity (but buy some food, these guys can’t stay open on soda money alone!) Plus, you don’t have to haul gear, which for me is a good enough reason to go anywhere.

Radio station Triple M has also made it the home for their Project M series, which is a series of Battles of the Bands that gives a considerable amount of airtime to local artists and Funk’s serves as the battleground.

And with that, Funk’s is helping “F-Burg” become a place worthy of your weekend night. You can find upcoming events, a full menu, and a beer list right at their website, Funk’s Pub.

Funk's Pub
5956 Executive Drive
Fitchburg, WI 53719 (608) 442-9500
http://www.funkspub.com/



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