With a rich legacy written about in song and spanning four decades, The Hamilton Street Pub is without doubt a pivotal jewel in the crown of the Old Town Saginaw Entertainment District. Since the mid-1970s it has served as a vital venue for featuring live original music, up and coming new artists emerging in the region, as well as significant national acts; and today it stands as the only venue left in Old Town that regularly showcases live entertainment.
But the Pub has always been about much more than music, featuring one of the broadest, tastiest, and most reasonably priced lunch & evening dining menus on the Hamilton Street corridor; while also serving as a central hub for darting enthusiasts, artistic bohemians, and those looking to enjoy local craft beers on tap and a broad selection of spirits.
Given the assets of its rich and formidable history, recently local entrepreneur and Saginaw native David Strouse engaged his commitment to advancing and securing the ongoing development and restoration of the Old Town Saginaw Historic District even further by purchasing the Hamilton St. Pub from long-time owner Mike Farrell, who is staying on-board to manage the transitioning and evolution of this important cultural resource into the near future.
When asked if he ever anticipated himself becoming a club & restaurant owner, Strouse smiles and offers several reasons for his recent acquisition of the Pub. “Since Mike was moving on and with our investment next door with the apartment complex, The Hamilton St. Pub is an important entity and I wanted to secure its future. As the bar evolves, my goal is to extend its original vision and shepherd it to its next level into the future.”
Unlike many developers that institute radical changes and attempt to reinvent the wheel, Strouse’s approach is to not mess with success but focus instead upon ways the strong-suits of this legendary venue can be enhanced upon into the future.
“We are working with our food vendor to add some real dinner entrees into our dining menu,” explains David. “We aren’t taking anything away from our menu, but want to expand it so people can come in for a fresh fish dinner, or steak, or chicken and potatoes. We’re also featuring hand-cut French Fries now and all of our carry-out flat-wear is now compostable, which costs a bit more; but we’re trying to get more green conscious.”
“Another improvement we are targeting is expanding our service area with a new sidewalk terrace, which hopefully we’ll have in place by late Summer,” he adds. “And while I love the old iconic and definitive classic nature of our interior, I’m also removing a lot of the old speaker wires and visual pollution from the ceiling.”
Given his awesome talent as a classical pianist, Strouse is also deeply committed to continuing, enhancing, and refining the venue’s live music schedule. “I feel the importance of offering a venue like the Pub to showcase live bands and live music, so on that front we may swap some things out and experiment with a few refinements.”
“On the weekends we still feature three different live bands each night and are the only place in Old Town doing live music right now,” states Strouse. “I believe its important, but feel we need to improve on Saturday nights a bit. We may decide to feature a headliner band on Saturday or might consider possibly doing Theme nights featuring different genres of music.”
“Mondays we have a big dart board group that comes in and have done very well with that, so we’ll be keeping that in our weekly rotation,” he continues. “Tuesdays we are experimenting with different DJ’s and are featuring Eliott Morse through July; and Wednesdays we are looking at developing an Acoustic Wednesday, where we can feature different singers and songwriters. We want to return to Open Mic on Sundays in August. Thursdays we feature Karaoke and plan to keep the Friday & Saturday bands going, because younger people need a venue where bands can play and it always brings a consistent crowd.”
“If the acoustic showcase works on Wednesdays, great; and we may experiment and try some different shows with headliners and DJ’s,” concludes Strouse. “All you can do is try out different things. I’m a musician and appreciate the work involved and know how important it is to provide local and regional musicians with venues, which makes it tough as a business man to decide what is best, so my goal is to tweak things here and there and see what works.
“We have a solid foundation and above all I want to improve upon that and make the overall experience more appealing to our customers.”
The Hamilton Street Pub is located at 308 S. Hamilton St. in Old Town Saginaw. Hours are Monday – Friday 11 am – 2 am; Saturday 3 pm – 2 am; and Sunday 4 pm – 2 am with the kitchen open until midnight. You can reach them by phoning 989-790-8199 and visit them at hamiltonstpub.com