ONE LAST LOOK back at 2023. Specifically, the last night of the year and the annual celebration in downtown Marquette.
First, let’s give a big shout-out to the Digneits and the crew at Double Trouble Entertainment. Without them, the ball-drop probably wouldn’t happen. At least not in the Times Square style it does. The DT gang spent their New Year’s Eve setting up for the event, which, this year, due in part to fairly mild weather, drew quite a crowd.
And for those who didn’t make it downtown, or cleared out to an indoor post shortly after midnight, all that staging and equipment that was set up earlier in the day, had to be taken down and the street returned to its usual state.
With attendance at the outdoor event being free, I’m not sure how the promoters made any money on it, so… good on ya, Double Trouble, and thanks again for another great party!
Dry Toast at Midnight
It seems more than a few people thought the new Social District rules would allow the champaign to flow as they watched the ball drop at midnight. Nope. The rules allow on-the-street consumption only until 10pm, and New Year’s Eve was no exception. The Downtown Development Authority, along with the City of Marquette, and the State of Michigan, determine those rules, and though it seemed New Year’s Eve could be an exception, sober heads prevailed and the status quo remained in place.
The DDA’s Tara Laase-McKinney says, “We like how the Social District has been going, have had little to no issues so far, and we want to keep it that way.” Seems reasonable.
For those who came down to the Social District packing a couple pocket beers,…well, sorry to disappoint you. The Social District rules are quite specific and require you to purchase your beverage for outside consumption only from a participating business. It’s not BYO!
As it turns out, the crowd was largely well-behaved and understanding of the restrictions on outdoor drinking. I guess being denied a cold beer on a cold night, while being jostled by hundreds of your closest friends, probably isn’t the worst thing.
Too Much New Year’s Eve
Have you heard the Vera Bar is now closed? Have you heard of the Vera Bar? Unless you’re one of our local twenty-somethings, you may not be familiar with the late night, last call, dance and drink destination.
It’s where the old Scarlett O’Hara’s was!
Okay, unless you’re one of our local sixty-somethings you may not be familiar with Scarlett O’Hara’s. It was the original late night, last call, dance and drink destination located in the middle floors of the old Knights of Columbus building, between where the Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery and the 906 Sports Bar are now.
After Scarlett O’Hara’s closed, the tradition was continued over the years with a number of other similar businesses, including, but not limited to… Muggsy’s, the Aurora, the Matrixx, and finally, the Vera Bar. (Some of my recollections could be a little cloudy, as I may have patronized one or more of those places myself.)
Anyway, the Vera Bar is closed. Apparently the owners, also the same who own the 906 Sports Bar, have had enough. Though owning a bar looks fun at times, those who have been through the late night wars will tell you… it’s not. It may be profitable, but it’s certainly not an easy gig.
Which brings us to New Year’s Eve, when, apparently some of the revelers who couldn’t drink outside made up for it inside, and did a little too much reveling at the Vera.
Word is there was some damage done and some of the guests… we’ll call them guests, misbehaved. At least that’s what I heard. So, with that, ownership decided to shut it down, for good.
A Blow to the Scene?
The impact of this likely means less employment for the service industry crowd, and one less option on the late night party circuit. Could it reopen somehow, maybe by somebody else? I suppose. I also heard it’s already being considered as an event venue. That’s a great idea!
Anyway… even though I haven’t been there in years, I’m sorry to see it go. I love that Marquette has a strong nightlife to go along with everything else which makes it a fun place to be. Fortunately, we still have a few pubs that stay open past the stroke of nine.
And there could be one more. Forgetting what I said earlier about owning a bar… want to own a bar? The old Kildare Irish Pub location, below WZMQ, is probably still available. I don’t know what the deal is, but I have to believe that, done right, that place could be a hotspot, especially in the summer months with the all the downtown traffic and that cozy patio.
And of course, we’re still waiting on Upfront. Eleven years and counting. For those still counting.
Okay… enough of that.
The Michigan Wolverines are National Champs and the Lions and Packers are both in the playoffs. What a great way to start 2024!