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Alcove Lounge 1970-1977
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Took in the old Lou Walker's and Verne's crowd when those places were remodeled beyond recognition or demolished.

The Alcove Lounge, 5019 Woodward 1970-1977?

I first went to the Alcove in the Spring of 1970
around the time of Kent State. Al (last name ?) owned the bar and it was believed he won the bar in a card game sometime before WW II. He was rumored to be "connected" and may well have been as he spent much time on the phone with lists of names, numbers, and horse races. Al also packed a pistol which he brandished once to quell an escalating dispute at the pool table. His manager was Paula; the waitress was, Gloria---an old woman who, in her youth, was a fan dancer at the old National Burlesque downtown.

The place was redecorated sometime in the mid fifties and had a kind of seedy "Jetsonian" feel about it. Occasionally, when a cockroach skittered across the back bar, patrons were assured it was old enough to drink. One legend had it that a yet, undiscovered Joni Mitchell pulled a few gigs there during her brief stay in Detroit.

The crowd was eclectic to say the least and could be divided into the following groups---the old Lou Walker's and Verne's crowd; the 5th Estate/Eat the Rich bunch; the Social Workers; Hustlers (pool, foosball, and otherwise), Street People off Woodward; Vietnam Vets; New Urbanists; Students; and a host of minor key players. Categorization is not what this is about and I do so only as a point of reference.

I graduated from Wayne, got a job with a bank and hung around for a few more years. Finally, started playing in the Pointes, met a lady, and the rest is...

True to my roots, I would occasionally sneak back to the "Corridor" and the Alcove. Al died, the and family sold it about '77 (?) to two hot shot bartenders from "Top O' the Pontch." The name was changed to "Z's," and totally remodeled with picnic tables and benches. The pool table went out as did the frozen "hamburgers" and "hotdogs." The last time I was in, one of the new owners boasted about all the regulars he'd banned. I never went back again.

On any given night in the early '70's the following people were in attendance---Tom Fitzpatrick, Indian Joe, Charles "Chuck/Skip" Strauss, Jerry Buch, Lennny "Lenin" Barclay, Carl Balcomb, David Anderson, Al and Anne Wells, Dick Cezyck and the "Polish Princess," Charles Hill, Charley Hale, Jerry Dunn, Dave Ruthenberg and Jerry Rozanski (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern), Chris Mitchell, Dennis Soper (claimed to be banned from Verne's for life), Tim Yahke, Barb Klont, Henry Kingswell, Jack "Cork" Corchoran, Bob Moore, Loell Prague, Lowell Cauffiel, John and Sharon ?, Aaron Washington (big time pool hustler), "White Rabbit" Tim (big time foosball hustler), Mr. Campbell, and those preferring to be known by first name only---Woody, Duke, and Major.

It was a great time in my life. If you've something to add please do so. Too busy? Forget it! Pull up a virtual bar stool, call Paula over for a shell of Stroh's, a Kessler's "Smooth as Silk" Whisky tall-wash back, light up a bummed Camel and let it roll.
Steve Stewart

I lived on W. Ferry from 1970 to 1980 so I am familiar with most of the bars that are mentioned and some of the people in their tribes. I primarily frequented the Alcove Lounge on Woodward, which took in the old Lou Walker's and Verne's crowd when those places were remodeled beyond recognition or demolished.

I realize that the 'Cove is not on Cass bit was close enough to catch much spillover. Would it be possible
to start an Alcove Tribe?
Steve Stewart

Members:

  • Steve Stewart
  • Tom Fitzpatrick
  • Indian Joe
  • Charles "Chuck/Skip" Strauss
  • Jerry Buch
  • Lennny "Lenin" Barclay
  • Carl Balcomb
  • David Anderson
  • Al and Anne Wells
  • Dick Cezyck and the "Polish Princess
  • Jerry Rozanski (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern)
  • Chris Mitchell
  • Dennis Soper
  • Tim Yahke
  • Barb Klont
  • Henry Kingswell
  • Jack "Cork" Corchoran
  • Bob Moore
  • Loell Prague
  • Lowell Cauffiel
  • John and Sharon ?
  • Aaron Washington
  • Mr. Campbell
  • "White Rabbit" Tim
  • Woody
  • Duke
  • Major
  • More