About five months after it changed hands and changed names, an old College World Series hangout is headed down a new path.
Pauli's, the Leavenworth Street bar long known for its beer garden during the CWS, has settled into its new identity as The Recovery Room.
Dave Eckley, manager of the new bar along with John Steichen, said the name reflects the bar's new direction, targeting students from the nearby University of Nebraska Medical Center.
And, he said, expect less focus on the CWS.
"We're still a full-fledged sports bar and a neighborhood bar," Eckley said, "but we're not a College World Series bar anymore."
He said their new niche might be Creighton basketball: Game nights have been a huge success at the revamped bar. A neon Creighton Bluejay hangs on one wall.
The bar also has started offering a shuttle service to and from the CenturyLink Center for Creighton games. Only four people rode the first bus, but the service has become more popular, with over 60 riders for CU's last home game.
Eckley said the crowd includes new and old customers.
"I really like our older crowd," Eckley said. "We got a good mix of Pauli's regulars who have been coming the same night for years — people who might have quit going to Pauli's but have come back — and we're starting to get some students coming in after their exams."
Eckley and Steichen, loyal Pauli's customers, took over management of the bar from longtime owner Paul Griego. They gave it a new paint job and bought updated kitchen equipment.
Eckley has plans to draw in new customers. They've rented out the room next to the main bar for everything from sorority parties to baby showers, started fish fries every Friday night and hope to soon add live music. He also said they hope to be a hub for Chicago Cubs baseball fans once again as well as be the go-to place to watch Chicago Bears football.
"Paul was hoping to sell to someone who would keep it going," Eckley said of Griego. "We knew the bar, we knew the customers. We're just trying to maintain and grow what Pauli's had."
Although Eckley said they haven't come to an agreement with Greigo yet, they are in the process of purchasing the bar and hope to fully own it in about six months. And as for the CWS, Eckley said he hasn't given it much thought.
"We might adopt a team," Eckley said. "Maybe try and become the headquarters for that team's fans. We just need to make sure we pick one that lasts more than two games."