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Posted on Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.

Elbow Room is the latest downtown Ypsilanti nightspot to close

By Tom Perkins

Another piece of downtown Ypsilanti’s nightlife closed its doors Friday, while several other former restaurants, bars and clubs remain on the market or preparing to reopen.

Jim Jackson, an attorney representing Elbow Room owner Marion Campbell, said the bar closed Friday and will remain closed until a new buyer is found. A potential sale recently fell through, Jackson said, and Campbell felt it was easier to close the bar than to keep it open while looking for a new owner.

Jackson said he didn’t know the listing price or if there was a listing agent. When contacted by, a man who posted the bar for sale in an Ann Arbor Craigslist classified ad declined to comment.

The bar, located at 6 South Washington Street, was listed for $250,000 including the liquor license, but the ad had been removed on Tuesday.

The Elbow Room came under new management last October. Jackson said the issue was not with the recent management of the bar, but rather with Campbell’s desire to keep it closed while looking for a new buyer. couldn’t reach the Elbow Room’s managers for comment.

Meanwhile, the owner of the former T.C.’s Speakeasy at 207-209 West Michigan Avenue said he is making slow but steady progress in remodeling the space for a new restaurant to be called Red Rock Barbecue. Shawn Cool said major renovations are complete, and much of the remaining work is cosmetic.

Cool said Red Rock could be open as early as August. Slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, pulled pork, and beef brisket will comprise the backbone of the menu from which other plates and sandwiches are built. Although the menu’s details are still being decided, Cool said diners can expect a variety of Southern-style sides.

The former Savoy and Pub 13 nightclubs at 23 and 13 North Washington Street remain for sale and are listed at $950,000 as a package by broker Jim Chaconas of Colliers International.

The buildings are a combined 21,000 square feet and share a liquor license. Chaconas said there has been more interest in Pub 13, but he is urging prospective buyers to consider purchasing both venues.

Both bars were operated by David Curtis, who closed them in late November amid what Curtis described as a dispute with DTE Energy over his utility billing. The businesses were $30,000 in arrears, according to DTE — though Curtis said a malfunctioning meter caused the problem.

Chaconas said his copy of the clubs’ financial books demonstrates the bars — especially Pub 13 — were profitable. He said no major renovations are required and only minor cleanup is needed to get the businesses open again.

“They ran a great operation,” Chaconas said. “This is a great opportunity for anyone who likes running nightclubs.”

Chaconas is also the listing agent for the former J Neil’s Mongolian Grill and Key Stone Underground at 200 W Michigan Avenue, which Curtis also ran. Those businesses also closed after a dispute over a DTE bill.

The building is owned and leased by Maurer Management, and Karen Maurer said there was no new interest in the properties. She said the building could potentially be converted to office space or another use instead of a restaurant.

The owner of Wayne’s US-12 Bar showed some interest in the property recently, but that deal fell through.


Gabriel Heiss

Tue, Jun 7, 2011 : 11:05 p.m.

A lot of their drinks were cheap as hell. As with the old article about Andy Garris's ER closing, people are missing the point! The point is to have a live music venue in Ypsi that doesn't just cater to Blues and R&B cats, and one in Washtenaw Co. that isn't the Pig. I am someone who supported the Elbow Room before, after, and during Andy's reign. Whether you like the fact that he brought in the hipster element is neither here nor there, but there was a decline in the hard rock 'n' roll which kept the place afloat and people like me supporting(as well as playing and DJing at) during Tina and Tony's management(we always thought they were the actual owners!). Then it closed...and after John, Ryan, and Ryan revived the high energy rock and anything goes feel to the ER, it is once closed again. I was really hoping someone like Leighton Mann would start booking again, so we could return to the days of touring national(Gaza Strippers, Texas Terri, Alabama Thunderpussy) and international(Orange Goblin, The Embrooks) acts with locals opening at the small bar. Mrs. Campbell has all but put the final nail in the coffin of punk rock, etc. in Ypsilanti. As for the Tap Room plugs, we need not just a rock bar, but a rock bar open to other genres and subcultures. Crossroads Bar & Grill at 517 Cross Street anyone?


Thu, Jun 2, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

It look`s like Marion Campbell is selling all the bar`s her and Art owned over the year`s.A couple yr`s back they sold the Wooden Nickel.I wonder how many more bar`s they have left I think they sold Arther`s bar on Mi.ave.

Tom Joad

Wed, Jun 1, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

I can see why it closed: Plenty of elbow room, no customers, even on a night when famed Woodstock drummer Maruga Booker was playing with a couple of fine musicians serving up some superlative blues guitar and bass. Well, you know it's the economy. Who in their right mind would go out and spend their precious cash on overpriced bar alcohol? You want to eat or do you want to drink?