ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Scorekeepers, or Skeeps, as it’s affectionately known, is a bar best suited for college game days in the fall and national title games the day after Easter.
But don’t mistake the sticky beer underfoot for adolescent neglect.
Fans don’t just flock to Scorekeepers for sports; Skeeps produces fans of its own. Two of them, Michigan grads Sarah Talgo and Abbas Husain, knew that they couldn’t enjoy the Michigan-Villanova national title game anywhere else, even though they’re older than the typical undergrad crowd that packs in from floor to ceiling in maize and blue.
“Football’s great, but [Michigan] basketball’s the best sport to watch at Skeeps,” said Husain, 32, a self-employed artist from Bloomfield. He should know: In addition to being a die-hard customer, Husain worked at Scorekeepers from 2004 to 2009 and again from 2013 to 2016. It’s also how he met Talgo, also 32, who worked there from 2006 to 2010.
In the years they worked there, they welcomed Michigan football alums Charles Woodson and Chad Henne, served two regulars with “skeeps” tattooed in black ink on the inside of their bottom lips and worked “Iron Man” shifts on fall Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. T
he only thing that’s changed in the 10-plus years since they started frequenting Scorekeepers?
“Flat-screen TVs,” said Talgo, a therapist originally from Chicago. “That’s literally it.”
But people don’t seem to get bored of that continuity. When Uber released a list in December of the top destination Uber-ed to in each state, Michigan’s was Scorekeepers.
Talgo and Husain managed to save their favorite seat at the bar, taking turns sitting throughout the game. Actually, it’s the only seat at a bar that’s supposed to be standing-room only, tucked away in a corner with its own TV, clear of the winding line for the bathroom and perfectly placed next to the air conditioner. Another of the perks that comes with calling the bartenders your friends: they always seem to spot your raised hand when you want another drink.
As Michigan’s time ticks away to the final minutes and Villanova’s lead balloons up, the final score 79-62, Talgo and Husain relinquish their plan for a Michigan victory: “Survive.” Instead, they become nostalgic, discussing what Michigan’s finals appearance means to them.
Husain calls it a “top two or three Michigan sports moment,” while Talgo decides that even with the loss in the championship game, “it’s still No. 1.” The key though, they both say, is the atmosphere at Scorekeepers. They’ll be back.