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Miami Tribes 1940-present
"Miami Lounge/Ken's Lounge/New Miami /Old Miami"

The Old Miami - 2001

Michael Roper ( Hopleaf@mindspring .com ) - former owner of the New Miami says,

"There are certainly 4 very separate identities to 3130 Cass Avenue.

1. The Miami Lounge- In the 40's and 50's this was a very classy joint. There used to be a few new car dealerships along the corridor and from what I heard The Miami is where a lot of the salesmen hung out. I have a photo taken in front in 1949 with the Budweiser Clydesdales. It was a nice looking place.

2. Ken's Lounge- Sometime in the 60's The Miami became Kens Lounge, not a classy or a nice place.
The back room that later became the music area was originally a house. When Cass became commercial, a storefront was built onto the front. Many other
corridor buildings were like this, including HoHo's on 2nd. Anyway, the house part burned down.
The ruble was dumped into the basement and a flat roof was put on top of the surviving exterior walls. This was a separate space and at one time a machine shop operated there. Most likely from the 50s on it was vacant.
Ken was a very sleezy guy and his bar attracted a bad crowd. Many of the people who hung out at The West Detroiter on Woodward and The Golden Ducat on 3rd were also regulars there. There were several violent murders in Ken's. When I went in to check it out in 1976 to see what I might be in for the barmaids were turning tricks on mattresses laid out on the old machine shop floor in back. While I was there a pimp came in and dragged one of the girls out from behind the bar and beat her up, much to the delight of the crowd.
We bought it anyway.

3. The New Miami- As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I learned that Ken's was called The Miami in better days and thought The New Miami would be a cool name. We closed for three months and gutted the place. Tom Ford, Keith Schiller and others did a lot of the work. Keith had used some barn like wood to cover a section of the wall at Alvin's and I thought it would work in front part of the bar. Not knowing of a lot of barns near by, I went down near the Detroit Harbor Terminals and laying around in vacant lots down there were hundreds of huge shipping crates for shipping steel in from Europe. That January, with crowbar in hand I filled a couple truckloads of Swedish Steel Crate wall covering for the bar.
We opened with Shadowfax In February of 77. We had a great time for awhile but the neighborhood was changing and business was not always great.
Many of the apartment buildings around us including some nice ones like the Coronado on Selden and Cass burned down. However there was always the music. Cindy Laverty, John Kearny ,Bill Landlis, Dave Chambers and Willy Vreeland had a great band, The Vibes. The bluegrass band Harlin County, The Lords, The Rockabilly Cats, Bobby McDonald, Mitch Ryder, Steve Nardella with the great Mr. B on piano and George Bedard on guitar, Sonic's Rendevue, Wayne Kramer, Destroy All Monsters, of coarse all the variations of Shadowfax, and many many others. Like Cobb's we had a tight group of regulars. Toward the end I was largely absent while working nights at Chevrolet Detroit Gear and Axel. In February of 80 a group of losers who we had trouble with over the years poured gas into the exhaust fan opening and lit it on fire. Underinsured and lacking any sort of cash reserve, that was the end of The New Miami. Ken exercised his option and took the bar back.

4. The Old Miami- After remaining vacant for some time, Dan Overstreet fixed up and reopened the bar
It was over 10 years before I ever set foot in the bar again, so this is an era for others to describe."

Michael Roper