The genuine pain and hurt in manager Jimmy Dritt’s voice was undeniable as he expressed his concern on the business of Cobo Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill in Detroit.
The National Hockey League has been in a lockout since October and many Detroit bars are worried for what the winter months will bring in as far as finances are concerned.
“It’s already affecting our business; it is really hurting us. We have already lost the preseason games,” Dritt said. “We are a sports-event-driven bar and without this season, we are barely surviving.”
This is the third NHL lockout since 1994 and Anchor Bar manager Vaughn Derderian said during the last lockout. there were three bars in his neighborhood that had to close down because of the lack of income.
“Hockey as a part of our business is essentially irreplaceable,” Derderian said.
Derderian said he isn’t only affected by the lockout financially, but he feels it personally, too. The lockout has made him disappointed by the NHL .
“At this point, I don’t feel like the league even deserves a season. They have let it torpedo instead of saving it. It’s comparable to killing your kids to try and save them from being kidnapped,” Derderian said.
Dritt wishes that the league would settle on a 50/50 agreement.
Dritt said he wants to try and compensate for the hockey fans in Detroit, but the companies that provide them with their products are affected by the lockout, too.
Derderian said they will be trying some live music nights or developing a new relationship with the Pistons games in order to get by and provide new opportunities for their customers.
It would be putting it lightly to say that the city of Detroit is struggling with the lockout, but Mount Pleasant bars are not worried for their winter business numbers.
“My customers don’t care, they just want to come and have a good time,” owner of The Bird Bar & Grill, 223 S. Main St, Lois Briendenstein said. “T.V. on or off, they will show up.”
Bartender Christy Balewski has worked at the Blue Gator Sports Pub and Grill, 106 Court St., for about a year now and was reflecting back to last hockey season.
The Canton native said people come out to the bars and bring great business during the playoff season.
“Students will come regardless, but we get an older crowd during the championship games that will definitely be less this year during the lockout,” she said.
Manager of Nemo’s Bar in Detroit Pat Osman said he has already noticed a change in the atmosphere of the bar.
“Certain customers that always come out during the games, I haven’t seen them yet and it’s sad because I probably won’t,” he said.
Derderian said hockey is the most unique sport that sets fans apart.
“I’m not a basketball fan, I’m a hockey fan. It’s that niche sport that is different. Customers come in from out-of-town and you already have that in common,” he said.