2011-12-08 / Business

Bourbon Street is back

Short-lived retirement ends as former owner reclaims tavern
BY AMANDA DURISH-COOK
810-452-2645  adurish@mihomepaper.com


Debra Bateman-Coolich (far left) and her employees at the newly renovated Bourbon Street Tavern on S. Saginaw Street. 
Photo by Amanda Durish-Cook Debra Bateman-Coolich (far left) and her employees at the newly renovated Bourbon Street Tavern on S. Saginaw Street. Photo by Amanda Durish-Cook BURTON — Debra Bateman-Coolich wants everyone to know she’s back in business.

The Burton native and 1973 Bendle graduate has reopened Bourbon Street Tavern on S. Saginaw Street after an eightmonth hiatus.

“I thought I had retired,” Bateman- Coolich said. “I really have to bang my head against walls sometimes to get this going again.”

She’s tackled a host of extensive repairs, not to mention the occasional rumor to reestablish the bar and nightclub after the previous owner defaulted on a land contract through non-payment.

“I got it back and I opened it,” she said. “My old customers are glad it’s opened back up and it’s back to the way it was before.”

Bateman-Coolich was granted ownership in March. The first time she walked back into the bar, she was greeted by cigarette burns and missing television sets, glasses and pool tables.

It was a far cry from the business she worked to create with her late husband since 2005. Bateman-Coolich had decided to sell Bourbon Street in 2008 after her husband’s death.

So she decided to avert a negative situation and got to work on overhauling the bar’s interior with her fianc√© Tom Morris. New lights were positioned overhead while a dance floor was replaced and new freezers were installed. New toilets and tables and chairs were also brought in.

Bateman-Coolich was also able to round up her previous behind the bar employees, many of them Bendle graduates themselves.

Earlier manager Vanessa Beck was brought back on board as well as DJ Joey Kiras.

“I’m really grateful for my employees because some of them left better paying jobs to come work for me again,” Bateman- Coolich comments. “They’re really good people. We’re like a family.”

A grand opening was held last Saturday while Bourbon Street will play host to a Bendle alumni party on Dec. 10 at 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve parties are also in the works.

In the meantime, Bateman-Coolich says she’s slowly seeing familiar faces again in her customer base.

“I don’t want to dwell on why I got it back, I just want to promote it as it is now,” said Bateman-Coolich who is again host- ing a bike night and plans to return as one of the original stops for Back to the Bricks next summer. She also says that she’s reinstating what the New Orleans-style bar is famous for — beads and Jell-O shots.

A live DJ is on hand Thursday through Saturday while euchre tournaments are held on Tuesdays and free pool is advertised on Monday nights.

Bourbon Street tavern is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. on Sundays and is located at 4225 S. Saginaw St. between Bristol and Maple roads. The bar can be reached by calling 810- 407-8136.

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