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Mickey Finn selling pub at historic site

Owner says Vistula District’s reputation for crime not reality

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Mickey Finn’s, a pub and entertainment venue in the historic Vistula District, has at least two potential buyers, Mr. Finn said.

THE BLADE
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After 15 years in the bar business, Mickey Finn is officially stepping aside and selling his namesake pub on Lagrange Street.

The decision comes 13 months after the 68-year-old Toledo businessman stopped being involved in the day-to-day business of the bar. It was managed the last year by Jamie Deen and Innovation Concerts, a promotion firm founded by Broc Curry. Mr. Finn still owned the liquor license and the historic building at 602 Lagrange St.

He announced Monday the bar is for sale and said in a phone interview at least two potential buyers are “kicking the tires.” The asking price is $95,000 for the business and $200,000 for the building. They are being marketed by Germano Bressan of Signature Associates.

The pub is in a 148-year-old building in a North Toledo neighborhood that has a reputation for being crime-ridden, but Mr. Finn said perception about the area’s safety does not match reality.

“That’s the bogeyman under the bed — it’s not really there,” he said. “It’s the same thing about downtown and people said that about downtown. If you provide good entertainment, good food, 24 beers on tap, and it’s managed well and publicized, it will work well.”

Mr. Curry said Tuesday he was interested in operating Mickey Finn’s beyond the year-long agreement, but was not ready to buy it because of the location.

“With that venue it was kind of a labor of love,” he said. “The location made it very difficult for us. People didn’t want to come to that part of town.”

He said no shows have been booked there since May 1 and Innovation is focusing its efforts on bringing music acts to Frankie’s Inner City and Mainstreet, both of which are in East Toledo.

Mickey Finn’s held 450 to 500 people for concerts. Some shows, such as the Foxy Shazam concert last summer, were packed while others that should have done better were sparsely attended, Mr. Curry said.

For his part, Mr. Finn said “management was lacking” from Mr. Curry and Innovation Concerts, although he praised Mr. Deen. He said Innovation Concerts did not manage the pub properly, which was the source of its problems, not the location.

Mr. Finn lives in the historic Vistula neighborhood just two blocks from the pub, and he recalled fondly renovating the old building after buying it in 1996. The building had been a general store and Bouton’s Cafe before Mr. Finn purchased it and began a major overhaul that was unveiled in 1998.

Over the years it was a popular place for St. Patrick’s Day events, independent film showings, art exhibitions, and of course, concerts, drawing national acts but also providing a venue for local bands, including alternative acts that other bars might not book.

Mr. Finn said he is most proud of the way the bar “put Vistula on the map. It’s the only residential neighborhood next to downtown” and “Mickey Finn’s gave a lot of pride to the neighborhood and it highlighted that North Toledo is not a scary place to go.”

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.

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