Running any business, let alone a bar, is by no means easy.
Dawn Gonyo, owner of Playoffs Pub, knows that firsthand. Rarely a day has gone by since the bar opened May 1, 2011, that Gonyo has not been at her bar, bartending, cleaning, promoting or mingling.
But even Gonyo, who has been in the bar/restaurant industry since she was in high school, expected it to take longer than it has for Playoffs, which resides in the building formerly housed by Fat Boys Roadhouse, 8222 W. Forest Home, to put itself on the map among Greenfield’s similar establishments.
“I didn’t expect it to take off so fast,” Gonyo said. “I expected to have to put a lot more work into it, but the customers we met at the beginning just kept coming back. We do have a fair share of the old crowd, the Fat Boys crowd, and a lot of people that follow the bands.
“But everyone seems to know everybody. It’s like a close-knit family. Even when two people come in that have never been here before, they get to know everybody else and just keep coming back, even if it’s once a week or once a month.”
Greenfield Patch users thought highly enough of the relatively new bar to vote it as the “Best Pub” in this summer’s Readers’ Choice contest.
And with so much to do at Playoffs, it’s easy to see why.
This spring Gonyo started sand volleyball leagues that played three nights a week on courts she had built in the bar’s backyard in April. Another league competed in the summer, and she’s thinking about adding a fall league in 2013.
The bar hosts poker nights, karaoke on Wednesdays and live bands on Saturdays. Dart leagues compete five nights a week and pool competitions happen three nights a week.
On Sept. 16, Playoffs will host a car show.
“I was always taught, if you plan it, they’ll come,” Gonyo said.
Gonyo, who grew up in New Berlin but lives about a mile down the road from her bar, was a server and bussed tables while in high school before eventually getting into bar tending and bar management. She has helped open a banquet hall and another bar, but wanted a place of her own.
“I saw this place and decided to go with it,” she said. “I thought it had a lot of potential because of the backyard, and it has plenty of parking.”
Gonyo’s initial challenge was changing the image of her establishment. Previously, Fatboys was a classic biker’s bar. But Gonyo gutted the space, painted the interior, rebuilt the bar and added carpeting and hardwood flooring.
The changes, and the events, have helped Gonyo establish and retain regular customers ranging from 23 to 80 years of age, including some of the former Fat Boys holdovers.
Looking ahead to the future, Gonyo’s plans for Playoffs include painting the exterior, erecting a permanent sign to replace the temporary banner that hangs outside now, and remodeling and opening the kitchen so the Playoffs Pub can become Playoffs Pub and Grill.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Gonyo said.