In January of 2000, Scott and I talked of opening a pub of our own while closing up shop at another local watering hole we worked at. It was a Tuesday, a busy night for the bar, and a game of pool always followed the evening before going home.
I knew we could do this, but, it was 3AM, and as talk goes, it was just that to me, talk. We left for our homes after that game and at 9AM that morning, just hours after that pool game, Scott was knocking at my door ready to place plans into effect
The original plan was to build a place in Novi, MI. A place close to our home towns. Novi is a nice city, and one where people can make a great living. I moved back to the Novi area as a Financial Consultant, looking for an area in my spare time where we could build the ultimate gathering place. Scott and I worked on our project mostly by phone at this point, because he was still living in Kalamazoo. Things were going well, but something didn’t feel right. We figured out, Novi didn’t feel like home to us. We wanted to be in Kalamazoo.
So our plans changed, and the search for a new home in Kalamazoo began. We knew we wanted to create a casual gathering place where everyone would feel welcome. A place where you could catch the big game, play pool, shuffleboard, darts, eat if you like, and have a great selection of beer to choose from. Downtown Kalamazoo seemed to be the most logical choice. A growing commercial area in our city, and one we were excited to be part of.
Scott found the Shakespeare’s Company building. It was in pieces. The back of the building had been blown out in a fire. There was no staircase, or a window without a crack. My initial reaction was, “NO WAY!” to the idea that this was our place. Scott was relentless about building our pub here. I have always trusted him, so I agreed to follow him on this journey. I remember going home to Angela and telling her, I just put us into certain bankruptcy. After that initial thought, we researched the history of the Shakespeare’s Company building and all that Shakespeare’s Rod and Reel meant to our community. Suddenly, my hesitance turned to excitement and I began to think, “This can work”. There could only be one name for our gathering place; Shakespeare’s Pub.
Scott knew more people would associate the name with the playwrite rather than the Rod and Reel maker. So his idea to combine a fishing pole hooking into an ink well for our original logo was drawn by our bartender, Glenn. His rough draft is the logo we have on our menu, amd most of the swag we sell to this day. It remains our favorite logo.
On July 19th, 2003, Shakespeare’s Pub opened its doors for the first time. We didn’t announce our opening date, We didn’t make a sign. We just opened the doors, and we were packed!