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'Every great music club ends up getting plowed under': Mikey’s on 12th latest live music club to announce that it’s closing soon

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As the late, great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once observed, it was a little like déjà vu all over again for the owner of Mikey’s on 12th Wednesday.

“Unfortunately I have unsettling news regarding the future of Mikey's on 12th Ave.,” wrote Mike Clark, who owns the bar, one of the few remaining in the city that features live music, on the club's Facebook page.

“Yesterday I received a phone call from the building owner (Strategic Group), giving me the unofficial news, that we will be evicted from our space within the next two months, to make way for a 14th-storey development of the existing annex of our building.”

Clark said he didn’t have the “means to fight them on this, as tenants have very little recourse in Alberta.”

A development permit application has been submitted to the city for the address, at 906 12th Avenue S.W. for a multi-residential development that will add 12 storeys to the existing nine-storey tower, turning it into a 21-storey building.

Strategic Group statement

Thursday, a spokesperson for Strategic Group provided CTV News with a statement.

"We, at Strategic Group, are proud to have had Mikey's on 12 Avenue as a tenant for a number of years," it said. "They are an important contributor to Calgary's music scene, and we are working with them to support a smooth transition to another location.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to offer further extensions to their month-to-month tenancy as we prepare for a major project that involves the growth of a Calgary-based non-profit organization. We will share more information about that project in the coming months."

Juke Joint closes

In 2018, Clark was forced to close his other bar, Mikey’s Juke Joint, when a combination of high rent, wages, taxes and soft weekend crowds made it economically unfeasible to remain open.

In 2021, a fire damaged Clark’s Turner Valley home, but fans of the bar raised over $10,000 to help repair the damage done to the upper floor of the home.

Clark said in his Facebook posting that he’s not sure what comes next.

“I’m unsure of what the future holds, but as it stands, it appears that we will no longer be here in the very near future,” he said.

“Understandably, I am devastated by this news for my wonderful team, my business partner Alli, my direct family and the amazing music scene collective that we have fostered (in Calgary),” he said. “So many great memories right from our beginnings at the Juke Joint…until now…friends laughing, songs being sung, the multitudes of friendships made and the outstanding music made daily!

“From people starting their careers, to those who are no longer with us; their place on stage and in the seats. It’s always been my great pleasure to bring this magical place in to being. We are all part of a really, really good thing!”

The closing is the latest in a series of blows to Calgary’s live music venues, including Mikey’s Juke Joint and The Blues Can on 9th Avenue S.E., which is also slated to close in the fall of 2024.

The redevelopment won't only impact Mikey's either. The Annex, where the club is located, is also home to a nail shop, a tattoo parlour, an East African restaurant and the second floor is home to the Alberta Ballet School.

One of Mikey's main musical acts over the years was Tom Phillips, who has been a mainstay on Calgary's live music scene for decades.

When contacted by CTV News for comment, Phillips said the following.

"In my experience...every great music club ends up getting plowed under," he said. "Sad but true...hopefully a phoenix rises from the ashes because in my experience that sometimes happens too."

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