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Embattled Ann Arbor Sports Bar Featured on ‘Bar Rescue’ Sold, Temporarily Rebranding

The Arena will transform into a new, renovated concept in 2017

The Arena sign Facebook/The Arena
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

The story of ill-fated Ann Arbor sports bar The Arena is coming to a close. The downtown Ann Arbor watering hole, which was featured on an episode of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue last October, has sold to new ownership and is scheduled to reopen under a new moniker, The Curtain Call (seemingly a metaphor for the history of the business).

The Arena’s future has been uncertain, since the bar’s former owner Brian Michael Flore was sentenced to prison and fined $1.5 million by the state attorney general for tax evasion. Auditors found that Flore had pocketed some $700,000 in unreported sales tax over a period of 10 years.

The new owner — real estate investment firm Douglas Capital Partners — has leased the space to operator Tavern Project Michigan, which plans to temporarily reopen the bar as The Curtain Call later this year. The 3,750-square-foot venue located at the corner of Washington Street and 4th Avenue will then undergo a full renovation before relaunching as an entirely new concept in fall 2017.

"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,” Tavern Project Michigan operating partner Mark Adams, says in a release. "We know Ann Arbor. Many of us grew up here. And we are truly excited about our final concept coming next year." Pending licensing approval, The Curtain Call is expected to begin hiring staff.

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