“We’ve been looking for a while, but we couldn’t find anything in the Okemos area that worked,” said Travelers Club owner Will White. Last week, he started an online campaign at the restaurant’s website (travelerstuba.com) to raise the first $200,000 of the proposed $300,000 project. He’s seeking investors at all price levels, starting at $15 all the way up to the full amount.
The start date for construction depends on when (and if) the money is raised.
“We’ve been trying for six months,” White said. “If we don’t find enough (investors), we could also possibly go the nonprofit route, using a membership model. I’ve talked with MSU about partnering for some of that, maybe turning this into a teaching restaurant and brewpub.”
Terry Terry, president of Message Makers next door, owns the 6,000-square-foot building, which he said dates back to the 1860s. Terry said that White is one of several parties interested in the property, but nothing is official.
“I am committed to building that out this year,” Terry said, but wouldn’t elaborate.
The Travelers Club’s former location was foreclosed on in 2010. The project that was supposed to see the Douglas J salon expand to that corner and convert it into a $10 million commercial and retail center has yet to take off.
Last month, White moved his other business, White Bros. Music, which used to be situated near the Travelers Club, to a 1,600-square-foot location in Bath after being evicted.
“That was a surprise from my landlord, who wanted to lease the space,” he said. “After 38 years in Okemos, he pretty much forced me out.
"Okemos’ loss is Bath’s gain.”
Happy birthday, Mayfair Haslett’s Mayfair Bar is still humming after 80 years. This weekend the Lake Lansing hotspot celebrates its oak anniversary with giveaways and 80-cent drink and food specials.
“For our 75th anniversary, we had a bunch of 75-cent items, so we figured we’d rip everyone off and charge them a nickel more,” joked owner Bret Story. “We were wall-towall busy last time.”
Story said the Mayfair is the oldest bar in Ingham County, with a liquor license that dates back to 1934, the year after Prohibition was repealed. It’s gone through several owners, including a change of venue when the original location was demolished in the 1950s. Story bought it in 1996, and although he’s been self-employed for nearly 30 years — he started his other business, Spartan Painting, in 1987 — he had no prior restaurant experience.
“The first time I walked in I said I’d buy it,” Story said. “I liked the bar and I liked the history.”
In 2012, Story added a rooftop patio, but other than that, he’s left the bar largely unchanged. In fact, one piece of the old Mayfair is actually making a comeback.
“When I put in the stairwell, we had to remove the mural of the past Michigan State coaches,” he said. “I saved it, though, and I’m working to put it back up in the front of the bar. A lot of people have said they missed it. I’m just giving the people what they want.”
White Bros. Music 13630 Main St., Bath Township 10 a.m.-7 Monday, Tuesday, Friday; 10 a.m.-8 pm. Wednesday-Thursday; noon-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (517) 903-6040, whitebrosmusic.com
Mayfair Bar 1585 Lake Lansing Road, Haslett 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday- Friday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Saturday; noon-2 Sunday (Kitchen hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.- midnight Friday-Saturday; noon-8 p.m. Sunday) (517) 339-3880, mayfairbar.net