That building must be cursed. It's been a bit of a revolving door with a new business every couple of years for the past decade.
OT-Packard Pub on the brink?
That building and the place under UTowers are both cursed it seems.
(Till someone can prove otherwise, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it).
justingoblue on the History Channel said it was aliens, FWIW.
Not just any aliens, ancient aliens that have been using that location as a parking spot for thousands of years before a pub went in. They are not happy.
Was the first Thanksgiving visted by Aliens?
Was the first Thanksgiving haunted?
Nothing can ever seem to stay in that location, at least for the past 20 years that I've been around. I never went to Packard Pub. Was it any good?
Only great thing about it was it was right by Yost, was able to grab a quick beer before the game. Other than that I would have no reason to go to it, the setup was not very good.
The only redeeming quality was that the food was CHEAP (probably because it was in low demand). $8 for a 16" pizza, $5 for a 1/2 pound burger, $4 for a quesadilla, etc.
Thursday meant dollar Buds/Bud Lights. Happy times. I was sitting down for a beer at the end of Spring term of 2011 and the manager started asking me some questions about how I liked the place. He also told me about how he was going to try and make it "the best cheap breakfast place in Ann Arbor" for the summer. I didn't think it was a great idea and I'm not sure if it came into fruition. The only thing I remember of the summer is that halfway into June or something like that it had signs saying "be back in the fall." I guess it's all my fault for not telling the manager that he was an idiot.
I think Babu Bhatt once ran a restaurant there.
Location is less than ideal, but it didn't help that the place was pretty terrible.
I saw the opening, and I saw the second ownership this past season. They still hadn't gotten it right for the kind of audience they could draw from that area, IMO. Pretty much just for whatever reason. I don't think I could succinctly name the things they would need to tweak to get it right and prosper.
If they could pull off replicating the South-U vibe, I think it would be a huge hit.
It's just a bad bar. I don't like drinking lukewarm draft beer out of red beer pong cups. At a kegger, sure, not when I'm paying for it at a bar.
i had okay experiences there but nothing spectacular. i'm not surprised it can't compete with the likes of charleys, blue lep, and of course, RICKS
The location wasn't that great, but the seating arrangements and the inside was pretty crappy, IMO. It needs to be a blue lep/charleys/jug type of bar I feel like.
Exactly. The seating arrangements and their ridiculously high price of alcohol doomed this place...they can't charge main street prices when students are looking for another Jug or Charlies. I think a pub could work there if those things were adjusted.
Think about the successful bars on campus... they're in blocks. When I was in undergrad we went out to a few different places, but there were options.
South U - Charlies, Jug, Rick's, etc.
State St. Area: Skeeps, Arena, Ashley's etc.
Main Street: Connors, Monkey Bar/Jolly Pumpkin, All kinds of restaurants where you could drink
Down by Packard Pub there is.... packard pub? All the other places on campus you could go and if the vibe was bad/line too long you could walk 15 feet to another bar. That spot on packard was an island.
Totally agree with this. Owners probably believe its good location because there is no competition over there, but i think it actually needs some competition around it to increase bar traffic in that area.
People like the different blocks because they can go from one bar to another if to meet friends or just get a change of scenary. Someone should scoop up the old sake bombs/video game store spot.
Agree completely. College kids for the most part want to hit a few bars each night in case 1 of them isn't fun on that particular night. For this reason, I don't think you want to duplicate the "south u vibe". I think this needs something completely different, attracting townies or make it higher scale. Something other than a college bar.
You live near the Packard Pub. It makes no sense to walk to the Pub and pay their prices when you can just walk in to the Packard Party Store, buy beer by the case, and leave. If just want to drink, I'd hit the party store. If I want to bar hop, I'd walk somewhere with more than one bar.
The last place to survive at that intersection was that sake bomb place and that was because they never carded.
It sucked. They had cheap bottle beer nights and decent looking bartenders but that's it. Charley's, Ricks, Blue Lep and Skeeps were all better UG options. There's nothing else to do there so if you get bored and you wanna walk to a different bar, you have to walk all the way to South U so you might as well start out over there.
Service was a disaster prior to the Ohio game.
. .While it was crowded, it was much more difficult to get a drink than other crowded bars. The place was way understaffed.
i just graduated last year and i lived about a block away from packard pub. the only time that place was busy was thursday nights cause they had $1 bud and bud light bottles (luckily i didnt have class till 1:30 PM on fridays). Then they started charging $2 cover on thursdays, still a pretty good deal but it turned a lot of people off
It's a terrible bar. When I went there to watch football on a Sunday i served myself because the waitress was texting on the other side of the bar. I was one of about a dozen people there. If you're looking for a beer in that area, you're better off going to quickie burger.
...presumably prosperous position would prompt Packard Pub's protective posture"
other than that, i don't know.
For 3 years (one in undergrad, two in Law School), I was jealous when PP went in after I graduated and moved. I think the location is fine (though I agree that it's a better bet to be located within a "pocket" of bars). But having never been there myself, I did hear it kind of sucked.
But man, the curse thing is right. During my time around the corner, that place changed hands between something like 4 sandwich/cafe places.
And think it needed a bar badly. But it couldn't be a destination place...it had to attract the neighborhood there so people didn't have to walk so far to the bar. Be THE place to go during gamedays. And attract athletes, who would then attract everyone else, on non-gamedays.
But from what I've heard, they have had high prices, piss-poor service, and horrible food. (Someone told me they were even getting Bell's Pizza to upgrade their food...from ACROSS THE STREET...and it's not that good to begin with).
It should work. It just may be the most mismanaged place I've seen from start up in town.
I remember when it first opened, and I was pissed that the year I graduated someone put a bar so close to where I lived. I figured it would be a bonanza for those like me who liked to keep walking to a minimum, but I have heard nothing but bad things about the place. I'm still convinced that with the right idea that location can support a bar.
Crap service is why i, fwiw, haven't been back. last time i was there, they messed up some shots on my tab and when i questioned them about it, they got defensive. i pressed, wanting to know what they were going to do about it and the bartender and manager started yelling at me and told me to gtfo. it was surreal.
I have worked in a few bars/restaurnts in my day and I knew the place was doomed from the start.
1) The prices were waaaaay off base. They needed to check the prices of their competition and set them accordingly.
2) The service was shitty (some of the staff were easy on the eyes, but I dont want to wait 10 minutes for a beer)
3) The set up of the restaurant. Those large 10 person tables were very awkward and made it very difficult to have a conversation. They needed more "traditional" bar seating, such as booths and small tables.
the bar was also a weird shape. bars are almost always convex, not concave, so you can see other patrons and maybe even all the same tvs. sitting at the bar at PP had a weirdly isolating feel, where you're just staring at a wall during commercials with nothing else to look at.
That the Parthenon is going to close.
At least they might be around for a couple of months. Old Country Buffett closed overnight, and Papa Romano's Pizza gave like a week notice. Not a good time to be a restaurant in Ann Arbor lately. (Or in Cranbrook Village, apparently)
Took off in the middle of the night a few days ago I guess. Left food in freezers, etc.
The Parthenon was helped along by the fact that it's essentially the only Greek place in town. Other than that, it was mediocre at best. It's a bummer for sure, but it had a good enough run.
Cafeteria style to something a bit more upscale wasn't a great idea. Because it was better cheap eats than a lot of places in town.
The problem is the town has become so pretentious that they want to be snobs about the food they eat, but either don't have the money or loyalty (or either) to keep these trendy places open. So you get great turnover.
This place isn't closing in disgrace. They're selling for a lot of money, and probably retiring. But I'll take the town's only Greek place over another Yuppie hang-out any day.
Had a gyros at The Parthenon once a week for 15 years. Live in Alaska now and promised my son that if we ever made it back to Ann Arbor we'd go to a football game and then get the best gyros in the Midwest for dinner. Guess we will skip dinner.
Have you never been to Greektown in Detroit ? Or do you not count Detroit as part of the midwest? I am confused.
The Pathenon is closing for Cafe Havana to move in for a larger location than their current E. Washington location (which is being taken over by Blue Tractor).
And I'm not sure what makes Cafe Havana any different than the other half dozen generic "fancy" Main Street bars that have popped up. They're all the same, and pretty boring.
Suffice to say I am in a position where I get to see the shift in the restaurant business in Ann Arbor from an interesting angle, and we've had quite a few disconnects (I think I saw Champion House's order this morning actually), but almost as many new electric service requests to back them up - nearly all of them in or near downtown. It seems like all the new construction is creating a reconfiguration, if you will, of the restaurants and bars in Ann Arbor.
That being said, I was never sure about the location of the Packard Pub, although the fact that it is near a Jimmy John's and I could absorb the alochol for cheaper helped me get over the otherwise "blah" service a little bit.
It's just about the logistics. Students (and most people in general) prefer South U for drinking and then walking (stumbling) down to athetic events. That intersection is more of a before you start drinking (buying liquor from campus corner/bluefront) or after you are done drinking (BELLS.....MMMMMMMMMM) place. Athletic events only bring in a small amount of revenue, with rent being so high they need that nightly college business which they really dont get at State and Packard. I think they'll split the property up into 2 or 3 different units and then there will be some stability.
and only slightly less so for a restaurant. As others have pointed out, its isolation means that bar-hopping isn't really feasible, and parking is essentially non-existent. It's a very high traffic corner, so even if the sidewalks were wide enough, you wouldn't want to sit and eat outside. The buildings on the corner are uninteresting and are built out right to the sidewalk, and there's nothing inviting about them as structures.
If I were looking for a spot to put in my restaurant or bar, I wouldn't touch that corner with a 10-mile pole, unless I had ridiculously deep pockets to enable me to adequately staff it and get a good menu in place.
I don't know that the location is that bad, maybe the rent:location ratio is bad. There's a ton of student housing within 1/2 mile of that area, mostly houses for rent which usually have seniors and juniors living in them (i.e. people 21 yo or have fakes saying they are). They get tons of foot traffic on all athletic events. I used to live on Hill and Packard (nextdoor to Jimmy Johns) and would have loved having a bar that close, especially in the winter.
People that are saying this place failed are way off base I think. This place failed because it was over priced, had terrible service, was always dirty, and overall just sucked. When the opened everyone that lived in that area was pumped, but soon realized huge tables where you had to scream at your friends to hold a conversation were not that fun. On top of that, packpub just tried to hard, the waitresses would have "spontaneous" hula hoop contests on tables for example.
Many times I'd go in and the floor would be sticky from the night before, they would be out of beer, and every tv would be on a bears game when the lions were playing.
The only good thing they had was $1 buds (and then labatts for awhile) but then they started charging cover and I never went back.
Maybe the people who run Charlies will buy it and turn it around like they did cantina.
I've lived on Mary since the Pub opened, and even worked a couple shifts when they were undermanned.
- There were ~4 management changes in 2011.
- Last January/February, the Pub carved itself a Thursday night niche with $1 Labatt bottles, but the week the managers started charging $3 cover, the place became desolate.
- The bar would run out of beer some nights, and bartenders would then run to Campus Corner and pay for bottles out of their own pocket.
- This past fall, bartenders/bouncers/busboys never got their hourly wages, and this led to a lawsuit with ownership.
- A couple weeks before it closed down, pitchers of Bud Light were $10.
The bar was just not using its space well (the downstairs was always empty and those huge tables were inefficient). Packard Pub was doing okay for a couple months, but in my opinion, trying to cash in on those Thursdays by charging cover ultimately led to its downfall.
CUBS AC in Colonial Lanes is the closest bar to the athletic facilities. Not only that, but the U stands for "Ufer," though I think the Ufer family might have sold its piece.
When the Carver, Ufer, and Buhr bought in, they took great pains to separate the bar from the bowling part of the operation. You know you're in a bar that is attached to a bowling center, but plenty of customers never see the lanes or even pay any attention to them.
It's a great place to get tix on game day, too, without having to deal with the "scalping mafia."
thanks for the protip. there'll be at least a few more people there on gamedays next year now that i know.
Yep, Cubs AC is perhaps my favorite bar in the South Ann Arbor region. Cubs always takes care of their customers with great service, food, and beer prices. We always head over to Cubs after Michigan hockey games.
But PP is a short block from the athletic offices, and another half block from Canham. Cubs AC is through their lot, past CVS/Kroger, around the corner, across a closed bridge (or going back by the golf course that basically puts you at PP), and across the whole athletic parking lot.
But even if you want to mapquest it to an inch, the amount of foot traffic on Gameday is practically nil compared to what's headed back down State towards campus. The only place you'd get more is replacing that how-in-the-heck-do-they-stay-open phone place on the corner of Main and Stadium. That could be a crazy successful bar location.
Not many people are ever there at night for some reason. I have been there a few times and its always relatively dead.
Bartender threw me out once for literally no reason. Glad to see this place gone
I lived on Monroe St. (meaning we had the cul-de-sac and PPub was feet away) when PPub opened, and I remember at first being jealous of my friends that were 21 at the time because of our proximity to a new bar. From the few times I went, the jealousy was unfounded.
The location precludes it from being a "skeeps/ricks/charleys/jug" caliber bar, but the huge amount of students in the area gives the place some potential.
However, as others said, the layout was terrible. No one likes to be in a bar where they couldn't move, but I don't think PPub ever would've gotten there if they drastically increased their seating. With booth and small tables, they could've pulled of the "Mitch's" (RIP) paradigm of "chill bar where you can generally get away with doing whatever you want" but targeted the "bro" portion of the population that lives in the area. Instead, they seem to have targeted the non-existent portion of the student population that watches re-runs of Wings games on FSDetroit while overpaying for mediocre booze.
I went during a round of Bar Golf. The place was dead empty, and we still took 15 minutes to get a simple shot. This shot tasted like terpentine and the inside of the Brutus mascott's head. The bartender was very attractive, granted; that didn't make up for all of the shortcomings.
I went there once and seriously have never had a worse experience in my life. Servers didn't have zones and basically were grabbing each table as they came in. I had to stand in the middle of door back to the kitchens to even get someone to notice me. Once I did order, they ignored the order and I eventually had to go get my own drinks.
Honestly it isn't the location. Scorekeepers is in a relatively bad location but they always do all right. I think if you get the people who run BTB/Charlies to run it you would have something. Needs a major food/service upgrade, and needs to become THE bar for sporting events. I think someone will pick this place up and turn it into something good.
That place honestly had the worst service I've ever seen at a bar. Prior to the Western game it was an unmitigated disaster. The waiters/waitresses were openly complaining about how understaffed they were and how bad management was. If anyone bothered to put in the time/effort for a bar at this location it would be a raging success. I lived right by that corner for 3 years and kids in that area definitely would've appreciated the opportunity to go to a decent bar that didn't require a walk all the way to South U or Church. I wouldn't have minded a once a week change of pace from going to Rick's.
...but timing. If there had been a bar there when I was living in the neighborhood, they would have made a fortune off of me. All of those freezing-ass cold nights I passed that intersection on my way to bars on Main St, State St, or South U., I would have gladly preferred the shorter walk.
Having said that, it sounds like from those of you with first hand experience, that it's biggest problem was poor management.
From a Daily article:
"Bommarito said he plans to keep making additions and changes to the bar in order to establish it as a campus hot spot.
'We're doing a lot of fun things ... music really loud and dancing on top of the tables,' he said. 'We're installing a slide so you can slide down to the downstairs.'"
They probably went out of business based on general liability premiums alone.
I am an alumnus who goes to one game a year. One year we went to the Packard Pub and the waitresses were all half naked and pretty good looking; we thought it was a pretty good bar. The next year we went back expecting the same, but it was totally different; the waitresses were not good looking and pretty inattentive to boot, even though the place was dead.
I rather enjoyed Packard Pub at times. When I wanted to just drink a beer and talk to friends before a hockey game, the basement of Packard Pub was a perfect place. No one ever sat in that table down there and we were able to go to Spot's or BTB and grab some food and eat it down there. Perfect. Maybe multiple bars need to open up at the same time on that corner.
is better anyway. I'm not even kidding.
Arbor st. for two years and went there often due to convenience alone. The pitchers were always more expensive than charlies/blue lep/jug and the service was pretty slow when it was busy. If their market was college students, the price point was definitely their biggest downfall. If though it was so convenient for me and my housemates, we still ended up going to charlies for the pitcher specials.
Ever since going to last year's Big 10 basketball tournament when Michigan was playing, I have been convinced that this place is a money launderer for drug money. Hear me out:
They TRY not to make money. No matter how big the crowd, they will have one waitress, one cook, and the turkish dude who does nothing. While being cheap can be advantageous, it never is when you're selling things with 1,000% mark up. So I think Packard shows income on their tax return in line with the other Ann Arbor bars, so the IRS doesn't think twice. Meanwhile, 90% of that money came from shady sources for purposes of laundering.
I'm sure this is not the case, but I swear to god, I've never seen a business do such a great job at making as little money as humanly possible, even when crowded.