The Fifth Quarter
McDonald owns the building, which formerly housed another nightclub, Oz. He's done a complete renovation since Oz closed last year. The back half of the space is a dance floor, complete with a mirrored wall, banquet seating, a DJ booth, and a full bar; the front is a more traditional sports bar, with dark wood and plasma TVs, "so the guys can catch the game while the girls dance," McDonald says. There's a DJ Thursday through Saturday and a mechanical bull on Friday.
McDonald got his start in the nightclub business working the door at Rick's American Cafe while attending the U-M in the early 1990s. Later, in law school at the University of Detroit Mercy, McDonald started making and selling his own brand of vodka called Zodiac; he'd rent a venue, hire entertainment, and serve Zodiac. When the party revenues far outstripped vodka sales, he sold the rights to Zodiac to a Texas distillery and used the profits to open Envy, a nightclub and restaurant in Detroit.
McDonald sold Envy in 2006 to come back to Ann Arbor. He says bars do well in college towns-and besides, "I loved the energy of college towns in general and Ann Arbor in particular. It's a more intelligent crowd. It's ever changing. It's more dynamic. It's cutting edge."