Friday, January 23, 2009

The Mikatam

I have to confess I have never been to the Mikatam and don't even know where it was located. Was it way out on Clio Road, or was that The Embers? I remember hearing about it, but know next to nothing about the place. It apparently had some sort of 32 for 1 drink special, which seems hard to organize. And readers keep referencing it. So what's the story with this place? What was it like? Who went there? Where the hell was it? And what's with the goofy name? Were the owners a couple named Mike and Tammy or something?

39 comments:

  1. The Mikatam was a bar and dancing joint located on the corner of Stanley and Genesee Roads in Geneseeville. Tom Joubran owned it and it was closed down and converted into a bingo hall when it was found underage minors were being served alcohol.

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  2. The Mikatam, owned by Tom Joubran, was located at 4571 E. Stanley Road, on the corner of N. Genesee Road, in Genesee Township.

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  3. Bars can get closed down in Flint for serving minors?

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  4. I never went to Mikatam but my kids did. Embers was on Dort HWY. We went to Celebrations on Beecher Road before it was called that and was more middle class after work crowds than college or younger. And we kept the White Horse in business many a night. Then my kids went to Pontiac for the clubs when home from college. Where are the kids going now?

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  5. Gordon,
    It was a BIG deal to all the new wavers and punk rockers of Flint. I am surprised you never went there! I saw alot of bands there and slammed dance many times...Ah the good old days!

    roadsidedinerlover

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  6. Yeah, good old Tom. The Mikatam was a very popular spot in the day. He was indeed closed for serving minors but it wasn't like he did it just once. He was fined and warned about half a dozen times and closed once before the DA's office got sick of it and had him closed for good.

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  7. Yes, the Mikatam was owned by Tom Jourbran. It was a name he created from the names of his three children; Mike, Cathy and Tammy. The drinking age then was 18 and I began to sneak in at 16.

    Yes, he did to 32 for 1, but with a real dialed down shot. BUT, he collected a big cover charge at the door in CASH. The law in Michigan changed as a result of this policy. No more twofer's in Michigan.

    The Embers was owned by Pete Photieu (Greek) and was on Dort Hwy. near Atherton.

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  8. Mikatam was a name derived from the combined three names of Tom's kids; Mike, Kathy and Tammy.

    The 32 for 1 is true. However, Tom would cut back the amount of each shot. Plus, he scored a BIG cover at the door. Tom liked this because it was all in cash! Tammy would bring garbage bags full of money home each night. The MI law changed as a result of this promotion. No more 2fer's in MI regarding alcohol.

    The Embers was on Dort near Atherton and owned by a wonderful guy named Pete Photiou. He was a greek immigrant who made enough money to buy the bar by investing in the company who developed the birth control pill. He died in the 1980's and his daughter took over the club. His brother Andy, owned a bar (Andy's Lounge) on Pierson Road near Dort.

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  9. The Mikatam was a big deal when I was in high school (82-86). You could certainly get an under-age drink with a poorly made or borrowed I.D. I recall it was like a "meat market" and it felt like you had to walk the gauntlet to get past all the guys lined up near the bar. Quite intimidating! As I lived quite close, it wasn't a problem to get home before curfew and try to hide the booze smell from my parents.

    Does anybody remember "The Light" in the basement of the Small Mall? That was an interesting place to go as well.

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  10. In the 70's this was the place to be (along with the Sandtrap bar on Dort Hwy.) It was packed every night. A popular local band called Blackwatch used to play there regularly. They played a lot of Allman Brothers. One of their members went on to play with the band Kansas.

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  11. The Mikatam was also pretty hot during the "disco era" (or is that 'error') -- complete with the mirror ball, strobe lights and dance mixes. Tom also did some 'teen discos' on Sunday afternoons (with no alcohol served) for the underage kids who just wanted to party at the "Million Dollar Mikatam".

    Mentioning "The Embers" -- I think that it was destroyed in a fire a couple of years ago.

    And -- the thing that surprised me during my last visit back to the ole mini-motor city of Flint -- was when I noticed that the Shorthorn (one of Detroit Tiger pitcher Denny McLain's favorite places) is no long there. The last thing that I had heard about the Shorthorn was that it was a "gay bar" -- but now it's completely gone. No building, no nothing!

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  12. The Light was the place to go for my high school years 78-81. Everybody was served at the Light. And we took full advantage of it. No one cared. You could smoke anything and just about do anything. If you made it to the back room thats where the real party was. It was a great time. Freedom to be young and enjoy it. I am glad I grew up then and not now. Oh to do it all over again.

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  13. As a moderately underage drinker in the late 70s/ early 80s, the Mikatam was definitely the place to head. If you had cash for the cover...go on in! The radio commercials on 105 were constant and unavoidable. I think just about everyone in my school who had a car went there at one time or another just to check it out.

    Oh yeah, the Light! It was everything mentioned including the wiring hanging from the ceiling, the gigantic disco ball and the Hot Tub in the Private Back Room for parties. Oh the decadence. The DJ there always rocked though....

    What about Wild Bill's out on Miller Rd? I had my bachelor party there back in 86. Despite that, I'm still married! Also, what was the name of the place out near Corunna and Linden? I remember it as "Aladdin's" or something like that, but it was something more well known before then. I have some vague memories involving too many tequila shots in the barber chair, paying the bartender to strip, etc. but it's kinda hazy.....

    And last but not least as far as bad "meat markets" go, how about Contos or a late night trawl of the Palace Gardens over on Dort(also soon to be demolished I hear).

    Clubs just aren't what they used to be back in the day. Come to mention it, maybe it's a good thing now that I have teenage daughters......

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  14. I don't think I ever went to the Mikatam. I did go to The Light once when they served their buckets of beer.... seriously... plastic buckets of beer. I think I vomited the first one, then kept my pace after that... ;) Nice.

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  15. Ah yes! The Light! I remember going to The Small Mall and standing outside the door and looking in when someone would go in or out. I could see people dressed up in their disco finery and thought that must be the coolest place on earth. I can remember someone telling me, "Don't even think about it, kid". I remember being shocked, it hadn't even occurred to me to try and sneak in, I would have been too scared to anyway. I was about 10 or 11 at the time so that would have been about 1979. That was Flint's very own version of Studio 54.

    Personally now I would rather go to The Torch but that's just me.

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  16. The Mikatam sounds like a bar notorious in the forties called "The Yellow Jacket" It was in the boonies...does anyone remember where?

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  17. A bit before my time, but I will say that "The Yellow Jacket" is one of the greatest bar names I've ever heard.

    And why is it that any post about a bar always gets at least a dozen comments?

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  18. I just noticed, no one mentioned Mr. G's. That place was hugely popular. It was on the corner of Bristol and Saginaw Streets. It was first owned by a Greek man whose last name started with a G, and then was sold to a guy named George.I can remember my older cousin taking me in there to visit a bartender friend of hers when I was about five years old. He freaked out and made her leave when he saw me. When I got older my cousin and friends and I often when there to party. It was a good place with good drinks. I was sad when they closed.

    I never heard of the Short Horn becoming a gay bar but Contos did for a while. They changed their name to The Pink Triangle, not exactly subtle but then it did get a lot of attention. There was also another gay bar on Dort around where Contos was, and I cannot remember the name. Anyone know it? Contos was just a heavy metal roadhouse in the late 80s, then it closed and became The Pink Triangle then it closed again and re-opened as Contos. I have no idea if it's still there.Upon further research apparently I'm either crazy and Contos never became Contos again or it went back to being Club Pink Triangle, or Club Triangle or whatever.

    I have gone to Jamins Lounge a lot. It's pretty much a dive but they have good drinks and specials and it's a fun place. It's out on Robert T. Longway, and I've had some really fun times there...and one time...well I'll have to tell it later.

    Also my best friend Tricia and I went to this gay bar on Saginaw St. right in downtown. I cannot remember the name but it was a really nice and a fancy place. It was all Art Deco and it was beautiful. It was also dead. There were maybe four other people there besides us. It closed soon after that which was sad, it looked like it would have been a really nice place.

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    1. The State Bar was a gay bar near Contos back in the mid-late 80's

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  19. Wow! Mikatam sponsored my little league team in elementary school. I graduated in 97 and as long as I can remember that place has been a bingo hall. Now minors can be served in another Joubran owned establishment. I can't remember the name, it's been changed so often. Sub Zero, Bugsy's, etc.

    Another nice little piece of trivia is whenever you order pizza at the bar you pay a premium but the pizza is actually delivered to the back door by Huckleberry, another Joubran owned business.

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  20. ahh Velvet always has a knack for making me feel like a really old man.....Jammins on Robt T used to be the Lamplighter....talk about a meat market.....Rockin Ron was the DJ....that place used to pack in the people.....it's interesting hearing the talk of the old watering holes.....the gay bar on Dort is the State Bar....it's been there probably longer than any bar on Dort.....how about the Ad-Lib on Grand Traverse....payed the light bill in there a few times

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  21. there was also a place named "Baby Jane's Locker" or something like that. And that's going way back...

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  22. I'm about ready to post a great interview I did with some of Flint's earliest punks at www.takenoprisoners.info who mention the Mikitam on more than a dozen occasions.

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  23. Tom Joubran! He and/or his family ran Joubran's, a little store in the Welch Blvd Plaza where you could frequently find "specials" that you would swear had fallen off the back of a truck.

    Oh, the memories! I went to the Mikatam only infrequently, and scolded my friends for going a LOT more often. Plus I danced at The Light, I sure did.

    And I went to a club in Pontiac, but I can't remember its name for the life of me. Bob Seger frequented it. The Cadillac Kidz played regular gigs.

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  24. And let's not forget "The T-Bird Lounge" on Lippincott just across the railroad tracks between South Dort and Center Road. I loved THAT bar!


    Peter C. Cavanaugh
    Oakhurst, California

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  25. I went to the Mikatam a few times in the late 70s when I was underage for those Sunday disco days...I remember the spinning mirrored ball and the floor that lit up. No booze though, just lots of dancing and cokes!

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  26. The band "Heart" played the Mikatam when they were still an unknown act. Whatever the # of beers, when they were brought to your table the waitress would open every one. I used to go there in the afternoon for a quick buzz when I lived above the Crossroads cafe in Geneseeville. My sister inlaw tended bar there in 1978. My brother inlaw lost his life trying to out run the police after a night of partying there. The general layout was a big "L" and everything was painted black back in the 70's. Tom Jobran had a meat market north of town back then. It was a good place to get drunk cheap.

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  27. I think it was the Mikatam where Bob Seger played with Teagarden and VanWinkle as a threesome in the early 70s. I was in an "altered state" when I witnessed this so my memory is a bit foggy.

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  28. Wow!!, Looks I found this blog a little late. Great subject. The Mikatam was located in Genesee and indeed the place to be when searching for party excitement. I was a proud member of "The Pranks" one of the earliest new wave and power punk bands from the area. Tom Joubran hired us to play many times as his house band. Always had a full house. Tom was great to book hot rock acts like "Tantrum", "Toby Red", "Canned Heat".
    Also played many a gig at Mr. G's, for owner Gus. Many good parties there as well. Mr. G also brought in sot hot groups of the day, Like The Romantics. "The Pranks" and "Nick Garvey" band often played alternate weeks. Someone mentioned a popular Gay bar on Dort hwy, And I think the name was "Lafayette"s". Economy was in recession , much like today, and all the Hot bars in town kept many a youth happy in a depressed environment! Does anyone out there remember a great guy who went by the name "Lurch", he could sing the song "Head Kicked In"?. How about a fun and wild band named "The Rub"?

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  29. Anyone remember a band called "Skin" that played at the Mikatam in the mid-70s? Great band... crazy on stage.

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  30. Which is now recognized as Shamrocks. Which still serves to minors, (trust me i know.) and Tom Joubran still owns it.

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  31. I saw this blog and want to know if anyone that I might know is still in Flint, I went to St Mary's on Franklin, lived on the east side of the city and my grandfather owned the Contos Bar. I am looking for anyone that might have attened St Mary's in the late 70's. My grandmother died in 1999 and I went back for the funeral. The building that the school was in was still there but it was no longer a school.

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  32. Anonymous, I graduated from 8th grade at St. Mary's in 1979. I'm still in touch with lots of kids in my class, although almost none of them live in Flint but a few are still in the area. Email me at gordieyoung(at)sbcglobal(dot)net.

    The St. Mary's School building is still there, although not a school. The grotto is gone, replaced by what looks like bathrooms for the church. If you hunt around and put "St. Mary's" in the search engine you'll find lots of stuff on the blog.

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  33. For anyone who may be interested; Tom Joubran passed away last night at Henry Ford Medical Center. He was 86.

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  34. Tom Joubran was a controversial man. Certainly brave and definitely not perfect in terms of the human condition. However, who isn't part of that description. I liked Mr. Joubran!. Tom loved working with people, he loved the possibilities of free enterprise and was not afraid to take a chance when there was the potential to profit. I was a musician looking for "gigs' in the depressed economy of the late 70's & early 80's. Tom was easy to approach and generous with a hand shake. In return our band delivered the crowds and Mr. Joubran filled his tills with money. He was a family man, he cherished not only his children , but graciously employed foreign relatives with a dream to help support them. Despite some negative press, I witnessed a tolerant Tom Joubran often times verbally abused by the relatives he financially helped. There were some phenomenal - almost magical nights during the late 70's when the economy was so depressed it was difficult for any of the youth in the surrounding Flint communities to find a place to ease their boredom. Tom's Mikatam lounge was the answer to a prayer. I swear everyone who was anybody in the county was there over a weekend night!. The atmosphere was so upbeat, the crowd so familiar, one would swear it was a family reunion!. The evening would begin around 7 pm for the best seats, after that it was all up to you. Tom hired the hottest rock and blues acts and made sure during the evening that the lights stayed bright enough to encourage animal attraction. I vividly recall one summer Mikatam evening where Mr. Joubran remained the entire 7 pm - 2 pm period and before the night was complete he announced that last call was on the house!. The place was still packed at 2 am!. After receiving their final cocktails, the entire bar crowd gathered to LIFT Mr. Joubran above their heads much like a mosh pit. A shout of thanks went to him as he sat upon the patron's shoulders. He laughed and held onto his famous "stress beads", and thanked us all! The crowd believed him and as here, the tale can still be told today. The point in this long winded comment is that, despite all the negative press about Mr. Joubran, aside from his purported wealth. He provided fun and freedom for the youth in surrounding areas, an opportunity to let loose and grow up. Tom was a consummate business man that provided employment and economic growth in a depressed economy. Never as big and bad as the press portrayed him!. R.I.P. Tom, you were one of the best in my eyes. MRB

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    1. I have so many memories of The Mikatam. I remember one of the first times I went there with my cousin and our friend that was 18, we were 16 and 17. We sat at a table on the edge of the dance floor to see Brownsville Station preform the Martian Boogie. That was late 1976 or early 1977 as I turned 18 in mid 1977. Remember it was 18 to drink then. There were too many great bands that performed there to list. I do remember Jacobs-Kelly was a regular local band and so many more. Tom and his family always treated my friends and I great.

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  35. I am so extremely grateful for Gordon's blog right now. There's tons of great info here to add to our book on the history of the Flint underground music scene.

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  36. Anyone recall a band called "FLIGHT" they played at CONTOS bar ?

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  37. I met my late husband, who was a keyboard and trombone player for Great Lakes Express and then Great Lakes Music Box, at the Mikatam in the early and mid 70's. I remember Tom Joubran's son flicking the lights on and off announcing last call with "Her place or yours?". He went on to play with Joe Freyre and was in The People's Jazz Band in the early 80's. Joe Freyre and Method played Mr. G's, Rusty Nail and many other bars back then. Ali Baba's was at Pierson and Clio, set back behind the pawn shop.

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