Local bar feels love from celebrities
Professional athletes routinely visit Brick Street Bar and Grill
Published: Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2011 22:09
Over the years, Brick Street Bar and Grill has become a beloved entertainment venue. From live concerts to themed nights, Brick Street provides the type of entertainment college students crave. Owned by Mark and Will Weisman, who also own 45 East Bar and Grill and Will's Pizza, Brick Street's popularity reaches much further than Oxford.
Throughout the past two decades, and with the help of social media, Brick Street has gained a faithful following of professional athletes who, whether in Oxford for the night or a weekend, always seem to end up at the bar they all love.
This high-profile group of followers has only served to further enhance Brick Street's reputation in the Midwest.
"It's good publicity when professional athletes or other celebrities choose to come in your establishments," Will Weisman said. "With Twitter and texting, word gets out pretty quick and students get a kick out of taking pictures and getting a chance to meet these guys. Fortunately, the Miami [University] students are respectful and the athletes enjoy the interaction."
A member of almost every major professional league in the United States has stopped by Brick Street at one time or another.
However, it is former Miami student-athletes that return the most to their old bar.
Athletes like Ron Harper, Wally Szczerbiak and Jake Bell have all returned more than once to Brick Street (and each have a signed jersey on the wall of the bar). The most famous professional athlete to come out of Miami, Ben Roethlisberger, has visited the bar many times and has remained good friends with the Weismans since his time as a student.
"Of course, there are many former Miami hockey players who are now in the NHL that come back and visit us on an annual basis," Weisman said.
Non-alumni professional athletes have been to Brick Street as well. Former Ohio State University athletes Anthony Gonzalez and Ted Nugent (both currently in the NFL) have stopped in according to Weisman, along with Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots and UFC champion Rich Franklin. Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds has been to Brick Street twice, with his last appearance happening Sept. 16.
"It was really neat when he tweeted to his 150,000 followers that he was heading to Brick Street for the night," Weisman said of Phillips' appearance.
Asked if Brick Street has ever paid a player to come, Weisman said, "We have never paid a professional athlete as it cheapens the impact. We are proud that [when] these folks choose to come to Brick Street they know they will be treated in a first class way."
Weisman said his favorite memory with a professional athlete over the years involved Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"One night me and Ben were intentionally getting rough with each other because Ben said to me the ‘I want to get officially thrown out by Will Weisman.' We were both laughing about it but it was dark and employees and customers could not see that we were joking and thought that a fight was brewing," Weisman said. "Once they saw us laughing, they knew that it was a joke but for a short period they had no idea what to do."
Even with all of these high-profile athletes in such an intimate place, Weisman said there have never been any security issues due to students being respectful and mindful of the presence of these celebrities.
One of those celebrities visited Brick Street again a few weeks ago. Gordon Hayward of the NBA's Utah Jazz came to Miami to visit his good friend and high school teammate Julian Mavunga of the RedHawks basketball team. They both attended Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Ind. This was not his first time in Oxford, as he visited earlier in 2011.
"During the summer, we work out together a lot, sometimes five days a week," Mavunga said.
During this trip, Hayward played pick-up basketball at the Student Recreational Center and eventually made his second trip to Brick Street.
"It was fun, a real good time and they were all friendly and took care of me well," Hayward said.
"For the most part, I felt comfortable. I would be a senior in college this year had I not left for the NBA, and being at Brick Street felt like I was kicking it right back in school," Hayward said. "I would definitely go back (to Brick Street) after the fun times I've had."
Hayward's visit is only one of the many made by athletes in the past two decades.