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Brothers debuts at Eddy Street

Megan Doyle | Monday, October 31, 2011

The new Brothers Bar & Grill opened at Eddy Street Commons this weekend, and given the success of the bar’s first few days of operation, company management said it expects greater success and popularity moving forward.

Scott Severson, vice president of franchising and development, said the company could not be happier with the bar’s first weekend.

“We were very happy with the weekend … I don’t think we’ve had a bigger or better opening than we’ve had in South Bend,” Severson said. “It was absolutely spectacular.”

Despite some small challenges associated with opening weekend, Severson said customers seemed pleased with their experience.

“The community has been incredibly welcoming to us,” Severson said. “I can’t tell you how many people came up to me … and said, ‘Thank you for coming to South Bend.’ … When we did run into service issues, everybody was incredibly patient and sympathetic and understanding.”

Severson said the new location offers 80 different tap handles with 37 different types of beer.

“What the students will see in our store in South Bend is a spectacular array of tap beers,” Severson said. “It is really the showcase of that store, and it is something we have gotten great feedback on.”

The bar also does not plan to have a cover charge, Severson said.

“It was a very, very simple business plan,” Severson said. “We wanted to offer our customers a really nice venue, and offer them food and beverage items that were competitively priced in the market.”

The entire menu, with only a few exceptions, offers food made from scratch, Severson said.

“At the end of the day, we are a bar that serves really good food,” Severson said.

The venue, built in just three months, will be a model for future locations.

“The food is great, the environment is great [and] it’s been very positive,” Severson said. “We’re very excited and very happy to be in the South Bend market.”

Students who visited the bar over the weekend said they were pleased with their experiences.

Senior John Heid said he was curious about Brothers before it opened a location in South Bend.

“I heard good things about it at other schools,” Heid said, “but it was also close to campus, and I didn’t need to call a cab to get there.”

Heid called Brothers a “pleasant change” from other local bars.

“I love the Backer and Finny’s, but I don’t want to be standing in an inch of spilled beer every Friday and Saturday,” Heid said. “I think the centrally located bar was a great idea; everybody wasn’t crowding in the same place. The only problem I had with Brothers was that the dance floor was too small.”

Senior Christina Kuklinski said she appreciated the lack of cover charge at the bar.

“Brothers has the potential to offer something a little different than your typical South Bend bar,” Kuklinski said. “It’s a lot more laid back than other places, and it’s within walking distance, which is a definite advantage. It was nice to just go and talk with people and not be drowned out by music.”

The environment at the bar was more relaxed earlier in the night, but became more busy and loud as everyone began to dance later at night, Kuklinski said.

No cover charge was also a draw for senior Tony Dang.

“Everywhere else in town has a cover on Saturday nights,” Dang said. “It was nice to just walk in.”

Even during the first weekend, Dang said the bar was busy.

“It was pretty lively, and they had good music going on,” he said. “What was interesting was that they have a lot of TVs in there, and they play the music videos to the songs they are playing, which is kind of cool. It reminded me of bars I’ve been to in Chicago … You haven’t seen that around here.”

Dang said he visited a Brothers location in West Lafayette, Ind., when he visited the city for the Notre Dame football game against Purdue earlier this year. He said he hopes Brothers continues to attract students and develop a similar college-town feel.

“That place was packed full of people,” Dang said. “That’s what makes it fun, when you can see a lot of people. Hopefully that’s going to be the case here as more people learn about the bar.”