Former Arthur's Bar on Michigan Avenue rebrands itself but wants to keep 'dive' feel
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Bob Roberts considers the former Arthur’s Bar in Ypsilanti Township a dive bar.
And he intends to keep the Regal Beagle - the East Michigan Avenue watering hole’s new name - “still kind of a dive bar.”
But, he explains, everyone seems to have a different definition of a good dive, and his isn’t a no-holds-barred, biker bar that Arthur’s had a reputation of being until recently.
“My interpretation of a dive bar is different. A lot of people think of it as a dirty, grungy hole-in-the-wall with three people hanging out in the dark,” Roberts said. “To me it’s a smaller, locally owned, locally operated kind of a place that is really rich in history and has character.”
He continues that his favorite dives always have something that will “drag you back in for more”, be it because of a quirky atmosphere or something unique and delicious on a menu.
The latter is Robert’s hook. While he and his partners, who have run McShane’s Pub in Detroit for 15 years, will offer standard bar fare like burgers, hoagies and fries, they will also offer something unique to Ypsilanti Township and eastern Washtenaw County - street food from around the world.
For example, the Regal Beagle will serve the Cuban sandwiches one finds for cheap in Miami. Poutine, a Canadian favorite composed of fries topped with gravy and cheese curd, also is on the list. And there isn’t anywhere else in the East Michigan Avenue corridor serving beef and pork empanadas, which are deep fried meat pastries found throughout Latin America that are a close cousin to the Upper Peninsula's pasty.
Roberts is banking on the menu to develop a customer base, especially with scant options for dining and drinking in that region of Ypsilanti Township.
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Gary Miller owned the bar for the past several years, and he remains a silent partner. Miller previously expressed his desire to clean up Arthur’s and change it from a biker hangout to a neighborhood bar. Roberts said Miller did an excellent job ridding the bar of its issues with its clientele, but he wasn’t successful establishing a new clientele.
Roberts believes the new menu will go a long way to help. He also is now offering five Michigan beers on tap. That small step is a big departure from Arthur’s, which only served bottles and cans for 35 years. There will also be the standard cocktails, and “retro” can beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hamm’s offered in koozies for $2.
Many of the beer memorabilia is gone from the wall and there is a new pinball machine, online trivia, televisions, electronic dart boards, pool tables and, in the coming months, Keno.
Roberts describes the Regal Beagle as a place where a "mature, 30 and up crowd" can come hang out at a 70s and 80s-style neighborhood bar, which is an atmosphere that is a far cry from the Arthur’s of 15 years ago.
“We want to take it to the next level, rebrand it and bring in the elements that will make it a comfortable place for anyone who wants to stop in,” Roberts said. Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.
Sat, Apr 13, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.
fpL Blessed by the Best ..! ----- Original Message ----- From: Pat To: pat the award winning handyman Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2013 6:26 PM Subject: Fw:
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.
With Bob Roberts at the helm, I'll have to stop in.
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.
Always great to hear about positive changes in the area. Excited to try it out!
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.
Having been in the Before and After , I can say the food , clientele, hostesses , lighting atmosphere and all in all , have changed dramatically ... The beer is Cold , the food is Hot , the people are friendly and the music is excellent . A grreat p[lace to hang out , talk, listen to music and have a great time ....
Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:44 p.m.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.
I haven't been there for several years but it's always been hillbilly bar ( I can say that I'm 50% backwoods Tennessee hillbilly ) The running joke was that if there weren't any women there they'd just fight.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 5:02 p.m.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.
Bob will do a great job I'm sure ! He has turned McShanes around he made Aubrees allot of what it is today ! I believe , and u like our President this is needed and welcome CHANGE ! Go to it Bob! I want that Cuban!
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.
Many years ago I used to do business with Arthurs and I still recall leaving the place and being approached by a haggard looking woman asking me if I wanted a good time. This was around 11 am. Glad I never had to go there in the evening.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.
I've never been in there. I always tought that place was a strip club. Oh well. My bad. But I guess the "dive" thing worked.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:42 p.m.
Do you think Jack, Janet, Chrissy and Larry will be there?
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.
The possible combination of hipsters and trailer park folk mingling is too good to pass up, will be attending. Oh yeah, the idea sounds cool too. Best of luck
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.
The food sounds good, especially the Cuban sandwiches. Too bad I don't live very close to the place.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.
Sounds like a great idea here. Not sure it's possible, given the area. Best of luck though.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.
Deep fried meat pastries "empanadas" are not like an upper peninsula pasty. Just saying. If you've had a pasty, don't be confused. Also, if you had and empanada, don't think that's what you're going to get when you make your way to the beautiful U.P. it's a completely different experience.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.
I wanna go where everybody knows your name.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.
Come and knock on my door...
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.
Will Jack, Crissy and Janet be there?
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.
Yeah as soon as Mr Roper can drive them up there.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.
I just hope they renovated the ladies room. It was the worst in Ypsi, and that's saying a lot. Best of luck in improving the bar's image.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.
Oh good. My father and I went to Bill's a couple days ago and noticed this had changed. It'd been Arthur's FOREVER so I was wondering what happened.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.
"Many of the beer memorabilia is gone from the wall . . . ."
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.
The puke in the corner is still there
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.
"And he intends to keep the Regal Beagle - the East Michigan Avenue watering hole's new name - 'still kind of a dive bar.' " It's good to have aspirations. I do like the menu proposed. NY Mayor Bloomberg would shut this place down in a minute if he only knew. Do you think they'll offer 32 oz beers with the Cuban sandwiches or do you have to buy two 16 oz? http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/soda_ban_to_sap_your_4t5pEK0hvo3PoNZEBOdZ2L
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.
http://mcshanespub.com/ Really good video of Bob Roberts on the McShane's website....food looks good!
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.
Alen, you are correct, the McShane's took over the old Hoots on the Avenue bar in Detroit just about a year ago. If the food at the new plaace is as good as it is at McShane's, then we are all in for a treat.
Mon, Feb 25, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.
" While he and his partners, who have run McShane's Pub in Detroit for 15 years...". "McShane's Pub hasn't been in business for 15 years.