The Alcove Lounge, 5019 Woodward
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
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.
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?
- 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
- Jerry Rozanski (Rosencrantz and
- 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