Parker: Mikey's on 12th finds new home for live music at Bowness Hotel

It is great news for lovers of grassroots, country and western, original blues and jazz, plus the people of Bowness

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When Mike Clark was given 35 days’ notice by his landlord to move out of Mikey’s on 12th Avenue, he was naturally devastated — but so were a host of music-loving people who had become fans of the seven-days-a-week live music venue, bar and restaurant.

The singer-songwriter and saxophone virtuoso was too nonplussed to react to questions about the future of his company and the hard-working people that helped keep Mikey’s such a popular part of the Calgary music scene.

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But, thanks to help from mortgage broker and longtime friend Gerry Garvey — who ran the King Eddy and also suffered a frustrating eviction — Mikey’s has found a new home and within a couple of months will reopen in the Bowness Hotel.

It is great news for lovers of grassroots, country and western, original blues and jazz, plus the people of Bowness, who have been looking at a large empty space since Hexters Pub closed on the main floor of what was called Hextall Place before becoming better known as the Bowness Hotel.

Michael Evans, president of the hotel’s owner, Atlas Development Corp., is delighted to welcome Clark to Bowness and give him the opportunity to revive Mikey’s, helping a hurting small Calgary business.

Clark has lived in Calgary for a long time but was born and brought up in the Vancouver area, graduating from the University of British Columbia with a degree in music, where he mixed his love of classical music with his talent as a saxophonist. In 1989 he taught band in a high school but soon moved to Calgary as a performer; he can boast of six full-length CDs of his original songs.

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In 2007 he ventured into opening his own music hub in a former pub in Sunalta, at the corner of 10th Avenue and 19th Street S.W., and had opened Mikey’s on 12th before that space was closed for redevelopment.

Having to close that location really hurts as Clark will lose all his Stampede income there, as well as his annual Stampede catering revenue. Too bad his lease couldn’t have been extended for a couple of months, especially since the renovations forcing him out are for another part of the city’s creative industry, Alberta Ballet.

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However, he is a get-up-and-go guy, full of optimism, who says the location and space at the former Hexters pub is ideal. Not a lot of changes need to be made, but he’s taking the copper bar top and a lot of his treasured memorabilia. He plans to incorporate many of the photos into a memorial wall for Calgary musicians who have passed away. Garvey has also promised him lots of those he rescued from the King Eddy.

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The opening will give a new lease on life to a building that forms a big part of the history of Bowness, It was built by John Hextall, who started his huge Bowness Ranch on the banks of the Bow in 1908 and donated the two islands that form Bowness Park to Calgary.

For several years the Bowness hotel had a rather shady history, but since owning it, Atlas has done a remarkable job with two major renovations that has attracted good commercial tenants, including Servus Credit Union, along with the 24 bachelor suites on the second floor.

Atlas is working to revive another historic building, the Hudson’s Bay store in Banff. It is raising the roof to accommodate a 6,000-square-foot Lululemon store. And farther along Banff Avenue it is renovating the lower level of its Cascade Shops to welcome a 12,000-square-foot Dollarama store.

A Dollarama will also open in another Atlas property. It owns Chinook Station on Macleod Trail, where Dollarama will occupy 9,000 square feet in the building vacated by Canadian Western Bank.


The music world has recognized Calgarian Peter Kurczaba, who, after Winston Churchill High School was accepted into the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Now living in Los Angeles and senior director at Creative Sync, a track by his team won an Emmy Award last year and he has just been named Top 40 Under 40 by Billboard magazine.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at He can be reached at 403-830-4622.

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