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Stephen Goodfellow (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Friday, August 25, 2006 - 8:32 am:   

Steve Stewart wrote:

"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:

Dear Steve,

Sure - I fondly remember the Alcove Lounge. The tribe is now open. You'll find the web page inder "tribes" on the site.
Place has much history on this forum as you can possibly remember. I'll transfer the info to the site.

Stephen Stewart
Posted on Saturday, August 26, 2006 - 3:33 am:   

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 gradutated 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 "hambugers" 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
Stephen Goodfellow (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, August 27, 2006 - 8:35 pm:   

Thank you Steve,
I've made your excellent rememberance the cornerstone of the "Alcove Lounge" in the "Tribes" section.
Dick Ceyzyk
Posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 - 2:11 pm:   

Aug. 22, 2007, Dick Ceyzyk here......
Just checking in a year later after getting word of the site from Henry Kingswell. He's alive and well, splitting his time between the Detroit area and the family cottage on Torch Lake near Traverse City. As am I...Alive and well that is.

I now live in California near Monterey and have done for the last 11 years.

I'm retired after finishing a long stint as a Forensic Psychiatric Social Worker for the Ca. Dept of Corrections and the Ca. Dept. of Mental Health at their maximum security hospital in Atascadero, Ca. I get back to Detroit at least once or twice a year and usually try to check out the old stomping grounds of those many years ago.
I can report some updates to the list of names published by Steve earlier. Leonard (Lennie)Barcley died about 5 years ago...My Polish Princess left us in the late 70's, dying in Anchorage, Alaska of a stroke at a very young age. Last I heard from Jerry Dunn he was advising me to stop drinking so much and get straight...I think he was living in the southwest suburbs of Detroit at the time.
I wax nostalgic to myself about those days many times when alone. I started hitting the Alcove regularly in 1963-64 and continued off and on until 1988 when I moved to the far western Pacific to live on a tropical island...Saipan by name...and stayed there for about 7 years working for the local government and the World Health Organization/The U.S. Centers for Disease Control mainly setting up the first HIV/AIDS interdiction program. It was a great gig while it lasted, but eventually I got island fever and came back to the mainland.
I sorely miss the corner bar aspect of those days when you could walk into the Alcove, Verne's, the Decanter, the Bronx or any of a half dozen others in the area and run into someone you knew, sit down, order a shot and a beer and at the Alcove watch Paula's fine form moving behind the bar.
The small town I live in now has no corner or neighborhood bars as such unless you're Hispanic and I'm not. So I drink less frequently, mainly at home or with a fishing buddy when out on the water which I try to do that is.
Well I hope this will spur someone else to up & post something here that will stimulate some memories. Take care and have one for me.
Dick Ceyzyk 52 River Drive King City, Ca 93930 831-385-7518/831-320-3315...Give me a call or stop by if you happen to be in the area.
I don't pay much attention to my e-mail, so if you want my attention directly it's best to call me.

Posted on Friday, August 24, 2007 - 7:50 pm:   


In the "small world" dept, I used to hang with Harry Harlow (of Santa Margarita) when I lived in Cal. I believe he worked at that same hospital in Atascadero. I'm not sure if he took a retirement before you started there, though.
Dick Ceyzyk
Posted on Monday, August 27, 2007 - 8:26 am:   

Hey Gordon,
Henry mentions you often in our (these days) infrequent conversations, but I don't remember that we've ever met. Perhaps sometime in the distant past: I'd guess you'd remember better than I as you seem to have more frequent contact with Henry, and Henry seems to have become the social memory for a lot of people.
It looks increasingly as though I'll be returning to Detroit to spend a lovely winter there in slush and salt. Mt mother-in-law is quite ill and my wife (an RN) is taking care of her now. At this time she appears to be tolerating her chemo quite well and really doesn't need a nurse, but more of a watcher and companion for safety and household care.
My wife makes fairly big bucks working here and would need to take 'Family Leave' without pay to continue to remain with her mother. I'm retired. You can see the problem.
I think I recall that Henry said you now live in San Diego, spending a lot of time in Mexico. Is that correct? I had been spending some time down in San Felipe on the Baja where I have some land in a development nearby.
Perhaps we might meet sometime when I have future time to travel that way. Let me know.
Posted on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 - 2:01 am:   

Dick, I think we may have our wires crossed. The "G" is for George. I'm back in Michigan. I met The Harlows via Tim Lipinski who is still in Cal (Guernville).
Stephen Goodfellow (Admin)
Username: Admin

Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Monday, September 17, 2007 - 10:28 am:   


I have added Lennie Barcley to the obit section of the site. If there are more comments about Lennie, I will create a separate page for Lennie.

Thanks for your contribution - makes for interesting reading.
Mike Tims
Posted on Saturday, January 10, 2009 - 4:26 am:   

I used to take afternoon 25 cent shells in the mid to late sixties here with Chris Mitchell, the late Mike Machowski, Ben Wolocko, Doug Aikenhead and sundry other Wayne State indolent undergrads. I know the whereabouts of some, but I never saw Chris again after he announced, sometime in the late sixties, that he was about to be drafted. I'm glad to know that he must have returned if he was a regular in the early seventies, but I had some rocky times myself then, finally got straightened out, did OK, and moved to Chicago in '77. I've gotten nostalgic as I near retirement, plan to move back from SF to Ann Arbor soon. Has anybody heard from Mitchell since those days?
Mike Tims
Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 3:29 am:   

I did return to the Alcove a number of weekend evenings in the mid seventies with some other film fans after we had just seen a screening at the DIA film series. It wasn't a regular thing - we just went home if the film didn't merit much discussion - but we usually saw a few others who had just been to the film series, so I guess the Alcove had another constituency besides its regulars. I guess they go to Verne's now.
Robert Ball
Posted on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 - 9:35 pm:   

Rackham Symphony Choir rehearsed across the street in the Rackham Building, and members after Tuesday night rehearsals went to the Alcove for beer and singing, usually at the tables nearest the door. We had a couple of guitar player and a sort-of harmonica player, me. Lots of fun.
And when Gloria was waiting tables, we'd sing a version of the Christmas song: "Glo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-ria, bring us another pitcher." I think we stayed there through the ownership change, but when Rackham moved rehearsals to Wayne's music department, we went to the 1881 on Cass.
Mike Redding
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2010 - 10:45 am:   

What memories of the Alcove and several places all but demolished when they widened Warren. I was just back from Vietnam in 1970 and lived with my friend, Jerry Savoy, in the Park Shelton hotel. He was helping me "adjust to the world" and Lou Walkers, Verne's, the Alcove, and the Belcrest were all stops during our nightly parole of the neighborhood. Still remember the peanut shells at Vernes and the Sunday "brunch" at Alvin's (when we could afford it). Steve's memory of names is much better than mine but Jack "Cork" Corchoran, Tom Fitzpatrick and Norm Wexler from The Big Bookstore were regulars wherever we happened to be. Terrific stories, impossible practical jokes like the VW in a downtown fountain, and the night I was tricked into believing Nana Lorca had posted a note on my door. When Jerry passed in 1978 so did much of my youth but I have remembered many of the stories including my favorite of his working for National Geographic magazine and the Humming Clam Flats off Garkley North Wales. I'm retired now, living half the year in Chile and the other half in Tucson AZ but reading these posts has brought a quiet smile and wonderful memories of memorable characters who will never be replaced.
Brenda Leja
Posted on Monday, December 20, 2010 - 7:02 am:   

I used to live with Lennie Barcley way back in the day and sorry to hear of his passing. Does anyone know what he died of? I remember the Alcove, Decanter, the Bronx and several other Cass Corridor hangouts. The last contact I had with Lennie he was living in an apartment over a bar on Jefferson and then was going to Germany to work for a company there. That was the last time we talked. I remember Dick Ceyzyk and the Polish Princess well, lots of memories came back during that time. I also remember Rodriguez,was a grand time until we all grew up.
Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2011 - 9:02 pm:   

Thanks guys, I just about lost it lokonig for this.
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2011 - 7:19 pm:   

Ppl like you get all the brains. I just get to say thanks for he awsner.
Posted on Monday, November 21, 2011 - 8:09 am:   

I don't even know what to say, this made things so much eaesir!
Posted on Monday, September 10, 2012 - 3:14 pm:   

Pretty nice post. I just came by your blog and wanted to saahytt I've really liked reading your posts. Any wayI'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!
Mike Tims
Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 7:35 pm:   

Some news on 60's and 70's Alcove regulars: Photographer Doug Aikenhead living in Ann Arbor now with wife Tracy and Ben Wolocko also living in Metro Detroit with wife Elizabeth. Mike Machowski became a Detroit Police sergeant, married in the summer of 1975, then took his life around Christmas of the same year. He was so proud of his new Corvette he probably never suspected he'd one day take it into the garage and turn on the engine. Chris Mitchell, who could almost always beat my butt at pool, seems to have died in 1998 according to an website which had only minimal details. Ben, Doug and I got together a while back trying to put together some more information about our friends' respective departures but had only sketchy info to pool. In anyone has any more to add about Chris and Mike we'd appreciate your post.
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 11:43 pm:   

Dear Steve,

Do you remember the bartender at The Alcove from around 1967 to 1970? His name is David Galloway. He is my father. The owner's last name was Al Burtenshaw.(sp). My mother met my father at The Alcove while he was bartending in 1969. My father has many fond memories of Al and your rumored stories about him winning the bar in a card game and his ties with the mob are correct. My dad told me Al used to set aside a 1/5th of Scotch and all the beer my dad wanted during his shift. Al kept a gun in a cigar box for my dad under the counter in case he ever needed it. My dad has some crazy stories about those days. My mother (Rita) and my dad are still married! My dad will be 70 years old this December. I was planning on booking a limo to take my mom and dad back to the place they met so many years ago for their anniversary present this January and I was very sad to find out it is no longer there. I will be seeing my dad this afternoon and will share this tribute forum to The Alcove with him! Hopefully he will sign up and share!
Thanks for reading!

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