The Arena, the Ann Arbor sports bar once featured on the Spike TV show “Bar Rescue,” will be having a curtain call, of sorts, the new owners of the building announced this week.
The downtown Ann Arbor bar closed earlier this year after its owner, Brian Michael Flore, was sentenced to prison for tax evasion. The bar had a small but loyal year-round following in Ann Arbor but did a good amount of its business during football season.
Sometime before the end of the year, the property at 203 E. Washington will re-open briefly as “The Curtain Call.” Its owner is Douglas Capital Partners and the bar itself will be run by Tavern Project Michigan, according to a release.
As its name states, the re-opening under the “curtain call” moniker is an homage to The Arena’s followers, who had a favored watering hole close abruptly.
“We are thrilled to open The Curtain Call as an homage to The Arena, which was an important bar in Ann Arbor’s history. We’ll respectfully say goodbye to the past, while testing menu items and ideas for the new concept, and we’ll give the Ann Arbor community a chance to have a say,” said Tavern Project Michigan operating partner Mark Adams in the statement. “We know Ann Arbor. Many of us grew up here. And we are truly excited about our final concept coming next year.”
Once the bar gets licensing approval, Tavern Project Michigan will start hiring wait staff and managers. It has signed a “long-term lease,” according to the statement. The exact timing of The Curtain Call’s opening has not been announced.
Come next fall, however, the bar will relaunch in an entirely different concept, whose name has not been released.
Bill Vogel, founder and managing partner of Third Coast Commercial Real Estate, brokered the transaction for both sides, and describes it as “a good deal for both sides.” Douglas Capital got space in the downtown Ann Arbor market it had coveted and the seller got to avoid foreclosure.
Flore, 43, was sentenced in July to two to five years in prison for 120 counts of failure to file taxes, resulting from not paying sales taxes for more than a decade, Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. The Brighton man also was ordered to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution, more than double what the state said he hadn’t paid.
During the Bar Rescue episode, host Jon Taffer was critical of Flore for his intimidating demeanor, which he said drove off customers.