Mitch's Place, South U. watering hole, closes in light of economic downturn

BY JILLIAN BERMAN
Managing News Editor
Published February 9, 2010

Mitch’s Place, a mainstay in the South University Avenue bar scene, known for its cheap beer and comfortable atmosphere, closed last night due to economic concerns, according to a bar employee.

Jody Thompson, who is listed as a contact on the bar's website, wrote in an e-mail to The Michigan Daily last night that the bar was forced to shutter.

"We have closed," Thompson wrote in the e-mail. "The economic downturn has forced us to close our doors, we could not get any relief from the landlord."

Though there was no information regarding the permanent closing of the bar on Mitch’s website last night, the website stated that the bar was closed yesterday.

Students on campus had mixed reactions upon hearing the news last night.

First-year Law student Maxine Manwell said she is sad to see the bar go. She added that during her time at the University as an undergraduate, she had heard the lore of Mitch’s from older students, who called it “the best bar on campus.”

“When I was an undergrad, like a freshman or a sophomore, seniors would talk about the old Mitch’s and how great it was,” she said. “When they opened it above ground it never really caught on, which was kind of a bummer.”

She added that the bar was a great place to take large groups, citing a celebration she had at Mitch’s with her friends on St. Patrick’s Day the morning after they pulled an all-nighter to complete their senior thesis papers.

“It was really easy to get in, there was never a line and if there was a line that was because it was shorter than all the other lines,” she said. “They have really, really cheap beer. It’s pretty much the only bar you can take a group of 15 people and walk right in.”

Though it’s difficult to get her Law School friends to go there, Manwell said she will miss the bar and hopes it will be replaced with a venue where she can “get a decent cocktail.”

“It’s hard to get grad students to go there because the beer is so bad and it’s kind of like a trashy atmosphere, but when you’re in the mood for it, it’s exactly the right fix,” she said. “There’s no where else on campus that was a trashy bar where you could get cheap beer.”

LSA senior Michael Joyce said he will definitely miss the bar, adding that he went there every Wednesday night for $2 pitchers of beer.

“It was my favorite bar to go to. Period,” he said. “Can’t really argue with $2 pitchers.”

He added that though he doesn’t think the closing will change the South U. bar scene much, Mitch’s had a “relaxing atmosphere” that will be hard to replace.

“You didn’t really feel like you had to dress up to go there,” he said.

Kinesiology senior Meghann Swiderek said she usually only went to Mitch’s on Wednesday nights, but with the closing of the bar she’ll probably have to end her nights earlier.

“It was usually a good spot to pre-game or end up,” she said. “Like at 1:30 (a.m.) if you wanted more beer before going home.”

LSA senior Danny Fries said he’s “kind of indifferent” about the closing of the bar, though he added that he will also miss its comfortable feel.

“It was a little more down-to-earth bar, it felt a little bit more local, a little bit more homey,” he said. “I guess it was one of those places where if you didn’t really want a super crazy bar night you could go there so it’ll be sad to lose that element of the bar scene.”

Fries added that the closing of the bar won’t really change his late night routine.

“It was never a ‘we’re all going to Mitch’s’ kind of a thing, it never happened like that,” he said.

School of Music, Theater & Dance senior Ben Stange, who’s only been to the bar once, said he doesn’t think the closing will be as big of a deal as it would be if other bars in the neighborhood closed.

“I don’t think it’s as big of an impact as if say (Good Time) Charley’s closed,” he said. “I think that’s more of a big name on campus.”

— Daily Staff Reporter Elyana Twiggs contributed to this report.