Cobo Joe’s at 422 W. Congress, right near Cobo Center and Joe Louis Arena, was one of a few bars downtown that was a magnet for Red Wings fans.
When the Wings moved last year about 1.5 miles to Little Caesars Arena, that hurt.
It shut two weeks ago after 37 years in business.
“It was a good run,” Richard Cadreau, 71, tells the Detroit Free Press. He owned the bar 13 years after buying it from Joe and Judy Kosky, who had it for 18 years.
Marc Daalder of the paper writes:
By 2018, however, getting people in the door proved a life or death issue for Cobo Joe’s.
The bar, alongside the Anchor and the Post Bar, was a center of Red Wings fan activity. “It was the biggest hockey bar in Detroit for 31 years,” he said. “In the metropolitan area here, this place had probably as much name recognition as Starbucks. Everybody’s been through here at one time or another…”
The loss of the hockey business “devastated everybody, everybody took a big hit on this end of the city” Cadreau said. “That was a pretty dirty trick Ilitch pulled on us.”
Cadreau tried to rebrand and bring in new business. He was moving in the right direction and tells the Freep he could have made it work if he stuck it out. He even produced a slick video promoting a bus shuttle from Cobo Joe’s to Little Caesars Arena.
Still, he ulimately decided to see if he could sell it. He had no luck and pulled the plug.