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City shuts down Benchwarmer’s

Angela Saoud | Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Benchwarmer’s Sports Lounge closed its doors for good Oct. 18, after the city of South Bend agreed to purchase the bar for $55,640. The bar, which has been the scene for numerous instances of underage drinking and fights as of late, sold the entire facility, including all items in Benchwarmer’s, along with the lounge’s liquor license to South Bend, according to the South Bend Tribune. The city also agreed to drop a 2003 nuisance lawsuit against owner Stephen Mitchell alleging that underage drinking and fighting had occurred.Mitchell owned the bar for 10 years and told the Tribune that he plans to move to the Atlanta area as health problems motivated him to sell.Neither Mitchell nor his lawyers could be reached for comment. Fighting and unruly behavior at the bar had become a nuisance to the city and police officers. On Saturdays, four officers were usually assigned to patrol Benchwarmer’s in addition to the regular officers working downtown, causing officers to work overtime, according to the Tribune. In January 2001, 50-60 Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students were cited for underage drinking in a police raid on the bar.Last May, a young woman’s arm was broken during an arrest outside the bar. Saint Mary’s senior Erin Korreck said the bar closing will not affect her weekend entertainment. “It doesn’t change anything for me because I’ve never been there, and hadn’t really ever planned on going,” she said. “I don’t really think it was much of a college hangout for the recent classes, even if it used to be.”The city has no immediate plans for the building or its contents, according to the Tribune.