Brad Ruff, the former longtime owner of Kelly’s Bar in Hamtramck, has died, reportedly in a motorcycle accident caused by an alleged drunken driver.
Ruff was killed while riding a motorcycle in Eastpointe. Sunday’s crash also critically injured Ruff’s wife, Patti Banas, Fox 2 reported.
The charismatic Ruff, a former jobsetter with American Axle, purchased the funky dive bar in the mid-2000s, transforming it from a venue that attracted a younger crowd by featuring fish fries and periodic barbecues.
In a Facebook post, author, actor and former Kelly’s fixture Jimmy Doom wrote that Ruff liked making people happy. “No one was sad to see Brad coming, because he would make them laugh and smile ....
No matter where Brad was he was gonna have that personality, that joie de vivre. (Right now he is laughing at me for using some fancy foreign crap).”
Ruff sold the 100-year-old bar just days ago, to an owner of Detroit’s Marble Bar to retire. The new owner of Kelly’s, Garrett Ragsdale, reportedly has plans to turn it into a biker bar.
Doom wrote a recent tribute to Kelly’s for Eater upon news of the sale. In it, Ruff told Eater that his time at Kelly’s had “all been good memories, even the bad times. We have had bands from all over the world. How many shot and beer places can say that?”