The Buzz: Gibson Music Hall gets closer – Appleton Post Crescent
The Gibson building has been in downtown Appleton, in one form or another, since 1919. (Maureen Wallenfang/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)
Three brothers with a passion for music and architectural history are in the process of creating the new Gibson Music Hall in downtown Appleton.
It will open in June.
Kurt, Scott and Brian Langkau — three of the six Langkau brothers from Oshkosh — wanted their new venture to be in Appleton at the heart of the growing music scene.
“Appleton is turning into a music city. More bands are coming to play and more venues are going to draw them here,” said Kurt. He also credits Mile of Music.
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The brothers discovered the vacant 1929 Gibson building, with its black glass Art Deco facade, at 211 W. College Ave. They signed a lease, and are looking into buying the building in the future. Their new GMH logo mimics the facade.
“We loved the history of the building and the location,” said Brian. “We liked the atmosphere, the vibe and the energy of downtown Appleton.”
The brothers are working weekends and evenings renovating the place and getting it ready for its debut.
They’re doing a lot of the renovation themselves while they keep their day jobs at the family business, Edgewater FRP Door in Neenah, a company that manufactures fiberglass doors.
Because of their own labor, they’re keeping start-up costs to a modest $60,000. They took out walls and partitions to open the place up and create good sight-lines to the main stage.
“The shell was good. We just had to tear out the last 20 years of use,” said Kurt. “The sledgehammer got a pretty good workout.”
While all three plan to be active on-site owners, Kurt is the brother with hospitality experience. He was previously co-owner of a similar music bar in Asheville, NC.
“I fell in love with the music and the bar and the food,” he said. “The focus here will be on music. Music, music, music and alcohol.”
They plan to book all music styles, including blues and original music, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Many of the bands, and the beer on tap, will be Wisconsin’s own.
The building has a kitchen, but they will not be offering food.
“We just want to add to the downtown, not compete,” said Scott.
The building is in the same block as Home Burger Bar, and is across the street from Copper Rock Coffee Co.
The Gibson building was originally a car dealership and garage owned by Alenor Gibson Jr., grandfather of present-day auto dealership owners John and Richard Bergstrom. Since 1992, the building has been used on and off for restaurants and bars. Investor Charles Hauser has owned it since 2006.
Maureen Wallenfang: 920-993-7116, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @wallenfang