The old Central Train Station has cast a shadow of emptiness down the stretch of Michigan Avenue for years. But, as the city revives hopes that the old station may be resurrected, renewed interest is being taken in the buildings that lie in its shadow. Such is the case at 2163 Michigan Ave., better known as home to what was once the Mercury Bar.
Empty since 1980, the Mercury provided the neighborhood with a friendly watering hole. You can almost hear the roar of Tigers fans stopping in after a big game or the din of regulars just in for a beer or two after work. An employee from the nearby Duncan Speedometer Service told the Abandoned Structure Squad (known widely by its acronym, ASS) that he walked through the bar way back in ’83. He described what must have once been a grand interior, with a huge mahogany bar and a picture of the Mercury train (the bar’s namesake) etched into the large mirror on the wall. While those remnants are gone to who knows where now, owner Bryan Brincat hopes to recapture the building’s former glory. By turning the upper floors into spiffy apartments and allowing the old Mercury on the first floor to be leased out for retail, perhaps Corktown will get the long-awaited coffee shop the residents have been asking for. Brincat acquired the building in May 2003 and plans to have it ready for use within 90 days. “It would have been done sooner,” according to Brincat, “but all of the paperwork hindered the progress.” When speaking of the project, the enthusiasm in Brincat’s voice is undeniable. As for the ghosts hanging around downstairs, it’s time to drink up and go haunt someplace else.
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