PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — From early impressions, The Public House appears to be an exercise in simplicity.
Concrete flooring rests below sparsely decorated walls. A dark, wooden bar stands as the centerpiece, illuminated by dim lights.
While the visuals of the venue are uncomplicated, owner Nick Pease always has believed it is the music that matters the most.
That’s part of the reason why The Public House hosts its live shows on weekdays, traditionally Wednesday or Thursday. On those days, it can afford to book nationally touring bluegrass or country bands that would be out of the price range of the venue on the weekends.
“When we book live music, I want to make sure that I really am going to enjoy it,” Pease said. “Even if we are going to lose money on the band, at least I’ll have been able to listen to some music that I know is good.”
The Public House has been located in Platteville’s downtown for about six years as a companion bar to Nick’s on 2nd, also owned by Pease. From its inception, live music always has been a major focus of the venue.
Bands from all over the country have played right outside the entrance or out on the venue’s patio space.
Adam Bartels, a local Platteville country artist, has been playing at The Public House since it opened. His solo act has turned into a four-piece band, but he’s always made sure to come back to one of his favorite venues.
“It’s got a great atmosphere, and you actually get good crowds,” Bartels said. “I remember playing on a Tuesday once and the place was just full of people. You really don’t see that too often.”
The music on display at The Public House is a direct reflection of its owner’s music tastes. Each band picked is one that Pease enjoys, and he takes a certain pride in hosting artists that he thinks one day will make it big.
“We had Travis Meadows playing with us before he got big,” Pease said. “I love that we get those types of artists that really are going places. They are artists that I believe in.”
Platteville resident Mitch Cooley has been coming to the Public House because of the music and the atmosphere. It’s a place at which he knows he’ll have a good time.
“I like the people that are here and the music that they play,” Cooley said. “It’s just a nice atmosphere to be in.”
So, while the visuals at the Public House aren’t particularly flashy, that’s mostly the point. Pease simply wants his patrons to be able to relax with friends and listen to great music.
“I want to share the music I like with everyone,” Pease said. “You can come to the Public House and sit outside and relax and have some beers and enjoy your day. You can just soak it all in.”