Music » Wayward Son

Wanna Like Mike’s

New ownership brings hope for sound entertainment at the famous Troost tavern.

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For the past year or so, Mike's Tavern was like a bad suburb of the midtown music scene. "LIVE. LOUD," the bar's logo boasted. Sure, bands were booked there most nights of the week. There's probably something going on in Raytown most nights of the week, too. In a word: LOUSY.

As a bar, Mike's is great. The place has brought the good vibe to Troost since 1964, and its owner for the past decade, Mike Devine, held it down well. Until all those bands from God-knows-where started showing up.

OK, not all of the bands that played there sucked, but there's a difference between a music venue and a bar with bands. A venue serves the bigger scene around it. A bar that books crap music serves no one.

"I'll take nothing over a shitty band," says Kurt Wirkin, Mike's brand-new general manager.

Wirkin's family bought the bar at the beginning of June and put the self-described "black sheep" in charge. You may know Wirkin from his six and a half years at Mike's or his time behind the taps at Harling's. The cool 28-year-old Rockhurst philosophy major doesn't want his bar to be lame.

I dropped by Mike's and hung out with Wirkin and his longtime friend and new employee, Derek "D-Rock" Eichelberger, whoo co-founded Hip-Hop & Hot Wings at the Peanut downtown.

Wirkin knows his bars but is largely a stranger to the local scene. All he has right now are heaps of good intentions. But mostly, he has a business that he wants to succeed.

And even if, God forbid, the place ends up going down the tubes, at least it won't sink while a shitty band's playing. Wanna Like Mike¹s New ownership brings hope for sound entertainment at the famous Troost tavern.

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