I've walked by, but never been inside "The Arena" bar in downtown Ann Arbor. BUT, I did see the episode last year of Bar Rescue, on Spike TV, where they "rescued" The Arena. Apparently, that rescue did them some good, and business picked up, for a while. They brought in over $200,000 in the six weeks after the show aired.

The problem is - it's tough to rescue a bar that didn't pay sales tax to the State of Michigan for 10 years.


According to the Detroit News, in 10 years, The Arena took in about $9 MILLION in sales and charged customers sales tax, but "failed to ever pay any of that to the state". That's about $700,000 in sales tax. And the state charged a 100% penalty - so they owed around $1.5 million. The state set up a payment plan with the owner, Brian Flore (not the friendliest guy, if what we saw on the show was real). But Brian missed some payments. And this was all BEFORE the TV show swooped in to "save" things. They had to know and (I think) it would have made the episode more interesting if they'd discussed it on the show.

So, now he's going to jail. Brian was sentenced to two to five years in prison on Wednesday on 120 counts of failure to file taxes (one for each month of not paying taxes).

So, if you'd like to own a bar in downtown Ann Arbor, I think I know where you can get one cheap.

And (just my opinion) when you buy it, change the name. They should have done it during the Bar Rescue show. A football-themed bar named "The Arena" doesn't make sense.

Here's the story.


Banana Don and Stephanie McCoy amuse and thrill you every weekday morning from 5:30 – 10AM on the radio at 100.7 WITL.

Banana Don can be reached via email at don.jefferson@townsquaremedia.com and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.