[ Pretzel Bell]
Photo by Mark Bialek-- download vcard
Popular campus hangout, where you went to drink when you turned 21. Closed.
A new set of investors is taking up the old Pretzel Bell name.
History of the Pretzel Bell
The Pretzel Bell or P-Bell was a popular campus restaurant, owned by Clint Castor and his family, from 1934 until it closed in December 1984. It was the bar of choice for the Men's Glee Club, for Michigan Daily staff, and for many other campus groups. A popular local Blue Grass band, the RFD Boys, played to a packed crowd on Saturday nights for many years. Much of the wall space was filled with U-M sports memorabilia. After the final closing, the restaurant contents were seized by the IRS for unpaid payroll taxes, and all were auctioned on April 17, 1985.
After it closed you would annually spot alums coming back for homecoming asking for directions to the P-Bell and you'd have to tell them it was closed.
The Castor family also owned the Village Bell on South University St. Most recently an Uno's Pizza restaurant.
- January 21, 2016. You can ring my (Pretzel) Bell, James Tobin, Michigan Today. "In early January a band of investors announced plans to open a new restaurant under the old name at the northwest corner of Main and Liberty, just a short block from the original, in the property long occupied by the Parthenon restaurant, more recently by a short-lived Latin-American place called Lena & Habana."
- Annarborisoverated, Pretzel Bell, Leopold Brothers, etc., and yet life goes on, Jim Carty, Paper Tiger No More, February 2009
This got me to thinking of the Pretzel Bell. Never has such a long-shuttered restaurant evoked such long-time mourning. To me, who moved to A2 in 2001, mourning the Pretzel Bell is part of what makes Ann Arbor, well, Ann Arbor. If you're of a certain age, you seem to mourn the Pretzel Bell. I like that. It's part of my A2 experience, even though I've never been to the Pretzel Bell.
- A salty story, The Michigan Daily, November 2007
The bar closed for good when the IRS seized its assets in the summer of 1985 after owner Clint Castor Jr. failed to pay more than $110,000 in employees' withholding taxes, dating back to 1982, The Detroit News reported.
- Rah, Rah, Rah, Time Magazine Oct 21, 1946 story on the return of college football post WWII mentioning the crowds at the Pretzel Bell.
- 1974 Pretzel Bell Demonstration protesting discrimination against lesbians and gays, from the Labadie Collection
- Confronting the racism in Michigan's History, 2007 Michigan Daily op-ed noting that the Pretzel Bell was off limits to blacks in the 1940s and 1950s
- Last Call Given at Ann Arbor's Pretzel Bell Bar, Toledo Blade, April 17, 1985.