News & Views » Columns

Mercury rising


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.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail

Check out all of our Abandoned Shelters of the Week

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.