5 O’Clock Sports Bar closes due to uptick in competition

5 O'Clock Bar and Restaurant closes after 10 years of service in the Stevensville area. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

5 O’Clock Sports Bar and Restaurant closes Sunday after 10 years of service in the Stevensville area. (Tony Wittkowski | HP Staff)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE – To a sports bar owner, competition is more than something that appears on the giant screen televisions.

And the competition is proving too much for the 5 O’Clock Sports Bar and Restaurant at 5000 Red Arrow Highway, its manager said. It will close Sunday after nearly a decade in business.

General Manager Michael Wittlieff said the decision came because it was a time for a change.

“The market has become flooded with sports bars and it has been difficult with the added competition in recent years,” he said. “We got a tentative offer that came at the right time.”

Wittlieff said he could not disclose who the potential buyer is, but the building would go on sale if the offer doesn’t come through.

Management made the announcement official Tuesday night in a post on its Facebook page.

Wittlieff said the sports bar has received many messages and emails with words of condolences and good-byes.

“I just want to thank all our great customers, regulars and staff for the years of joy they have brought to me and my family,” Wittlieff said. “This was not an easy decision, but life has taken our family in a different direction. We are saying good-bye to the restaurant, not our friends.”

While the decision to close was made late last week, Wittlieff spoke with staff members Sunday and called it a “heartbreaking decision.”

Wittlieff said the 15 workers should have a place to go afterward.

“We reached out to some of the area restaurants and let them know we were closing,” he said. “We talked to several managers about picking up our staff. Most of them have gone out and sent out applications to places we recommended.”

5 O’Clock Sports Bar and Restaurant is near Interstate 94, across the street from the Stevensville Meijer. The sports bar hosted large gatherings on Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day and is known for making everything from chicken wings to prime rib.

The restaurant, formerly known as Win Schuler’s, was closed by the Schuler family before opening again in January 2006 as 5 O’Clock.

Wittlieff said they bought the restaurant in June 2004, but had to wait 16 months to open due to licensing complications with Lincoln Township.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@thehp.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on May 29, 2015)

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