BY JILLIAN BERMAN
Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 7, 2008
Come June, students planning on spending their Saturday nights at the bar drinking beer over a game of Battleship may be disappointed.
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Main Street's Leopold Bros., a quirky bar known for its board games and popularity among graduate students has announced that it will leave Ann Arbor this summer.
Todd Leopold, who owns the bar with his brother Scott, said they had to shut down because the costs of running a business in Ann Arbor simply became too great.
"Our lease expires in the summer and, essentially, the rent that they're asking for is more than we can afford," he said.
Nick Easton, the owner of Millennium Club, said that he's lucky that he doesn't have to deal with the rising rent costs of Ann Arbor.
"I have an advantage in that I own the property because I don't have a monthly rent to pay," he said. "Obviously, in a town that has an upscale feel to it, and especially with the University here, you've got a built-in audience so naturally you can command more rent."
The Leopold brothers plan to continue distilling spirits in Denver. Rather than open another pub, though, they plan to wholesale their products to retail shops along the West Coast and in London.
Todd Leopold said Colorado is a better business location than Ann Arbor, because its unique laws allow distillers to sell their products directly to retail locations. Distillers in Ann Arbor are required to sell products through distributors.
Many of the bar's patrons said they will miss the quirky nature of Leopold Bros. The pub, which opened in the fall of 1999, offers typical bar games like darts and pool, but also features a variety of board games like UNO and Scrabble.
Rackham student Miles Putnam said the pub drew a very different crowd than most bars closer to campus do.
"It's just people who want to play a board game and drink at the same time," he said.
Andrew McIntyre, a senior in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, said he'll miss the bar's diverse environment.
"It's open to people of all ages," he said. "It was somewhere you could go to be with professors and people in the community."
Putnam said he thinks it will be hard to replace Leopold Bros. He said he understands why there might be more demand for a sports bar or a more mainstream pub in that location.
"I'm not totally surprised that they're closing down," he said.
Leopold originally announced that the bar was closing on the blog annarborisoverrated.com. In a post, he said, "Our lease expires in the summer, and shockingly (note heavy sarcasm), our landlords asked for an obscene amount per month in rent, so we're done."
Despite the fact that increasing costs are forcing him out, Leopold says he has no hard feelings.
"The rent that they're asking for is fair," he said. "We're not the only one - there are have been quite a few places that have been forced to close."
He also said he'll remember the Ann Arbor area.
"We're going to miss the University of Michigan and catching hockey games and field hockey games and seeing all the laptops during finals around our place," he said.