Kelly's Pub to close amid market district revitalization by City of South Bend

NOW: Kelly’s Pub to close amid market district revitalization by City of South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A long-time South Bend bar is closing its doors. The city of South Bend is looking to buy Kelly's Pub on Mishawaka Avenue.

Friday, ABC57 confirmed the city plans to eventually demolish and redevelop the entire lot in South Bend's Market District.

"There won't be another Kelly's, I'll tell you that," said bartender Santrice Rae Adams.

"It's just like, our go-to after a hard day of work, you know," said long-time patron Dede Perriguery.

"That's big news for the community, that's kind of massive news for the market district. This is a thriving area, especially on weekends," said owner of Oh Mamma's on the Avenue, Jody Klinedinst, whose business is directly across the street from Kelly's Pub.

The city is offering $275,000 for the property, claiming there have been numerous safety concerns. 

"Shootings and disagreements that happen outside of the bar, not inside the bar, but still happening on Kelly's property," Adams said.

A letter to the common council reads in part, "The property has been a point of neighborhood concern due to multiple shootings occurring at or near the property in recent years and a history of frequent police calls to the pub."

"There's people who are great patrons, who come here and care about Don and appreciate the business that he has, and I'm sorry that it was ruined by people who were immature, just bringing badness to a good place," Adams said.

The worst of the shootings, 11 people were shot outside the pub in 2019. A plaque inside the establishment plus multiple "no weapons" signs serve as reminders for current customers.

"The style of that business, at times can be problematic," Klinedinst said. "I would say with the poorly lit area here and that kind of desolate dilapidated parking lot, that probably doesn't help."

Its owner, Don Kelly is turning 75, and said he's happy the city wants to take it off his hands after 18 years. In fact, he says he gets salvage rights, and will strip the building for parts, and maybe have a nice payday.

"He's absolutely amazing to work for, kind, caring," Adams said.

"We've known them for a long time, they have always been gracious, they've always kept their property up," Klinedinst said.

It's the end of an era for Kelly's Pub and the start of a new era for South Bend's Market District and all the future revitalization to come.

"Everything good comes to an end, you know? We're like family here and stuff, and I'll miss all the people," Perriguey said.

South Bend Common Council will vote on the resolution to purchase Kelly's on Monday, March 11.

The last day Kelly's Pub will be open is March 26.

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