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Michael Roper

Michael Roper, 2001

In 1971 I had a friend going to Montieth College at Wayne who told me to check out what was going on in the corridor. I soon discovered Alvin's and started coming down on Sundays to here music, bringing wood for the fireplace as my admission. Often the wood came from the "riot fences "on the other side of the Lodge. Once I drove through the gate at a Wayne lot and brought it as my firewood contribution. When I turned 18 in January of 72 I started to visit to bars, including Our Place, Cobbs, Del Rio, The Bronx, Decanter, Vernes, The Song Shop and others. A bit later I moved into the "sunshine mural building" on 3rd and Antionette. There was a great diner on 3rd called Volcov's Bulkan run by Sofie Volcov and her son. There, the Majestic, Georges on Seldon, Alvins and a bit further a field Radio Lunch on Chene were my mainstays for local eats. I got a job at The Traffic Jam. Then I got a job at Cobbs about a year later. Worked with George Rupert, Donna Saffiotti, Charlie McCord, Patti Radisco,John Thompson, and others. Dave Opatic, Bobby McDonald, George Korinak, Bill Hodgeson, Cindy Laverty ( what ever happened to that talented woman?), Pete Zangaras, Rod Hicks and Frank Isola were some of the musicians playing there at the time. I loved Thursday nights when Bobby played with Shadowfax and afterwards a bunch of us would go over to his place and drink and sing "hillbilly weepers". I also worked at the Bronx and The Belcrest Hotel Bar. In 1976 George Rupert ,who was working at the Ponchetrain asked if I would be interested in going in on purchasing Ken lounge at 3130 Cass. I did and learning of its glory days in the 40s and 50s as the Miami Lounge I suggested calling it The New Miami. We opened In February of 1977 I believe. Much of the old Cobbs scene moved down the street. I have a million stories from the first couple of years at the Miami and had a great time. However we didn't run the tightest ship and some of our free pouring habits followed us from Cobbs. So I got a job nights at Chevrolet Detroit Gear and Axel on Holbrook. During my year and a half there I sort of vanished from the face of the earth. I was living in a house on the east side with Carole Sobocinski and not to involved in the bar. In December of 80 I got laid off at Chevy and in February The Miami was firebombed. We tried to revive it but ran out of money. I took My piano out and that was it. About a year later at Alvins one night George K had me go back to his office and gave me two Miami Bar mirrors that I thought had been destroyed. He had snuck them out one night when Shadowfax played intending to fix and frame them as a surprise gift for the bars upcoming anniversary. I still have them. In 1982 I moved to Chicago. My wife Louise and I own a little neighborhood tavern on the north side. I have a few old Miami customers as regulars. George Rupert, Dave Opatic, Peter Werbe, Barney Surowitz, Mike Mikolowski and Frank Mannarino have stopped in over the years also. John VanAmerongen ex of the 3rd and Canfield glass blowing shop and foundry helped build our bar. A very handy fellow! I'd love to hear from or about folks from the Corridor. I'm back in Detroit often. My E mail address is:
. My bar is the Hopleaf Bar 5148 N. Clark Chicago 60640. The beautiful sign out front is by friend and ex Corridor singer and guitar picker, Dave Opatic. Stop by.