History of Old Town Tavern - Downtown Ann Arbor's Last Townie Bar
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The Old Town has continued the tradition of being a bar or saloon at the present location since 1898. In 1972 Jerry Pawlicki bought Merkel’s Friendly Corner and renamed it the Old Town Tavern. Jerry built the bar, bar cabinets, tables and booths. He laid the hardwood floor and preserved the original tin ceiling. In the early days of Old Town it was a blue collar bar, opening at 6am to accommodate the 3rd shift workers from area factories. For 40 years the Old Town has welcomed the Old West Side residents and all of Ann Arbor as well as University of Michigan students, faculty and staff.


In 1998, the business was passed to sons Chris and Steve. The Old Town is the last survivor of the of the “Townie” bars. Gone is the Del Rio, Mr. Flood’s Party, the Second Chance, and the Full Moon.


Buildings on the west side of Liberty Street were constructed by harness makers, Adam and Anton Schaeberle, along with German masons.

John G. Laubengayer opened a flour and feed store.

John Berger opened a saloon called “The Bismark.”

The business was sold to William Seagert, who dodged Prohibition by selling home brewing products, “near beer” and bitters.

The property was sold to Richard Kearns and became known as “The Union Bar.”

George Merkel sold the bar, named “Merkel’s Friendly Corner” to Jerry Pawlicki.


Jerry Pawlicki undertook an extensive renovation of the bar, building the bar, bar cabinets, tables and booths himself. He laid the hardwood floor and preserved the original tin ceiling. Upon reopening, the bar was christened the “Old Town Tavern.”

The business was passed to Jerry’s sons, Chris and Steve.