The scenery's interesting at George Brett's -- and we're not talking about old baseball gloves.

By George 

The scenery's interesting at George Brett's -- and we're not talking about old baseball gloves.

For a town that recently ranked high on ESPN the Magazine's sports enthuse-o-meter (No. 1 in Ultimate Cities, baby!), there's a sad dearth of sports celebrity-owned food drinkeries around here. Sure, Neil Smith has Copeland's, but it's part of a chain. And, of course, Marcus Allen has his cars, but what's the cachet of that, unless you do the John Elway thing of starring in your own goofy commercials? But now, George Brett has stepped up to the plate and filled this void, thanks to his eponymous new joint on the Plaza.

We decided to check it out mainly because Joe, one of our good friends from college, was in town for some sort of basketball tournament. So we played hooky from work to hang out with him and watch some games with brackets in hand (though the NR had to take notes on the back of hers), and we drafted our buddy to be our special Research Assistant for the day.

Not surprisingly, GBGB's (which we started calling it after a few drinks) wasn't too packed on a Thursday afternoon. The moms-who-lunch, with shrieking kids in tow, were joined by the backward-baseball-cap table ("They look like they're 14 and trying to fit in -- with each other," said RA Joe. "It's quite KC") as well as by several other bracketheads of various ages -- including our cool bartender, who was simultaneously watching everyone's drink situation, three different games on three flat-screen TVs over the bar and his own multiple brackets. We sidled up to the bar, where a phalanx of bar stools stood uncomfortably close to one another, leading to awkwardness when we tried to leave the enclosed stool area to go to the restroom. But they were amazingly comfortable; with their padded seats and deep backs, they were lumbar-rific for an afternoon of sittage.

Our reverie was broken, though, not only by the waitress who commented, "It's yummers!" about a drink (what are we, five?) but also by the one who asked, "Hey, when did George retire? A customer wants to know." The patrons started calling out various years. A woman behind us guessed 1985. Um, wasn't there this thing in '85 called the I-70 SERIES? Miss 1985 was wearing a string of green Mardi Gras beads around her neck that we presumed was a souvenir from St. Pat's the previous night. (Brett retired after the '93 season.)

We complemented our sedentary afternoon with drinks and got a greyhound and a scotch and water, both of which were pleasantly strong. "They're trying to get you drunk so you don't rip on the décor," said Joe, pointing out all the blond wood with red and yellow accents. It was very contempo IKEA. One other problem we noted was that the beer taps were at a level that blocked the view of the TVs above the bar for anyone slouching in the bar chairs, as we were.

However, the bar has these great, large windows that look out onto 47th Street. And on such a gorgeous day, they were open, letting in the breeze. Nonetheless, that one redeeming feature didn't stop us from flat-out mocking the great No. 5 and making up shit about him. "Known for his frugality and his legendary love of the daiquiri, George Brett has opened an establishment that pays tribute to both of these qualities," Joe intoned in a poncey faux-sportscaster voice. Trust us -- it sounded much funnier after a few greyhounds.

And we thought we were even more hilarious once happy hour -- which offered $2 domestic draws, $3 "George's Big & Tall" (a variety of froufrou drinks) and $4 martinis as well as half-price starters and appetizers -- started at 3:30. After wondering whether "Big & Tall" referred to the size of George's, er, bat and balls ("Oh, God, no!" said a shocked employee; the drinks are served in pint glasses), we ordered a Corona limeade, which sounded horribly intriguing.

"Can I tell you something?" asked our bartender. "It's half a beer and Sprite. I feel obligated to tell people that, especially when they pay six bucks for it."

Thank you, rockin' bartender. Made from Corona, Sprite, fresh lime and a dollop of lime sherbet, it was indeed Sprite, and it interrupted our wanton alcoholic spree. But we got back on track with a mojito, and let's face it: Any cocktail that's served in a pint glass is all right with us.

After the workday ended, the place started filling up with priapic middle-aged salarymen and young tanorexics decked out in fuck-me Plaza gear. "It has the feel of a martini cocktail lounge, but if you want to watch sports, don't come with a big group, since it's limited space," said Al, a guy we couldn't help but befriend because we were sitting butt-cheek-to-butt-cheek next to him at the bar. When we went back again on a Friday evening, same thing: packed, same type of crowd. ("There are no hot guys here," Cat sniffed. Added Goldie, "The bathrooms smell like Porta Potties. Two stalls? Fuck you, George Brett. Fuck you.")

Despite these factors, the GB experience wasn't too horrendous. And it is somewhat cool that we finally have a touristy, athlete-owned signature place. Just skip work and get there early for happy hour, then leave when people start coming in.

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