AVON LAKE — Cyndi Klosterman said she grew up in her parents’ bar, so it felt more like a home than anything else. No bar compares to Mickey’s Hideaway, she said, except maybe in TV shows.
“It was like ‘Cheers,’” she said. “Everybody knew everybody.”
During all that time her parents spent in the bar, they developed a strong relationship with their patrons, Klosterman said. The bar was a popular stop for newlyweds’ first drink, and a place where fishermen could catch fish and have it cooked for them the same day.
“We were considered family,” she said. “They were a big part of our lives.”
The bar, which her parents owned for more than 35 years, is slated to be razed. Avon Lake City Council voted to approve the building’s demolition, and the property soon will be part of Kowalski Ford’s parking lot.
Klosterman’s parents, Mickey and Joyce Kulik, bought the neighborhood watering hole in 1966 and ran it together as Mickey’s Hideaway until 1996, when Mickey Kulik died. Joyce Kulik continued to run the bar until she sold it in 2003, and it became Sally’s West Shore Pub soon after.
One of only a few bars in the city at the time, the Hideaway had a friendlier and more local atmosphere that would make it stand out from most bars today, Klosterman said.
“It was the local bar,” she said. “It’s not like it is now. There are bars on every corner.”
No stranger to hard work, Klosterman’s parents worked long days. She remembers helping around the bar even as a child.
Since everything they sold was cooked by her mother, she helped in the kitchen. Klosterman said she cut potatoes for 75 cents an hour. While she hated it, she said it was a lesson on how to have a work ethic.
“My parents taught us that you stand on your own two feet,” she said. “They were hardworking people.”
The Hideaway may be one of the oldest bars in the city. Heritage Avon Lake President Tony Tomanek said old directories show the building’s been a bar since at least 1939, when it was owned and run by Chris Snyder as Snyder’s Bar. Lorain County Auditor’s records show the building was built in 1920.
One of its contenders for oldest bar is Close Quarters Pub on Lake Road. According to information provided by owner Tom Murphy, his bar has been around since the 1930s as well, although it started as a fruit stand.
Tomanek’s dad owned Close Quarters (Ted’s Place) in the 1950s, but that didn’t stop him from going to Mickey’s Hideaway. Describing it as a little pub around the corner from a gas station, he remembers the bar as a local hangout.
“It was just a great neighborhood bar,” Tomanek said.
Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said the bar has been vacant for about five years. Zilka said there was no interest from anyone to turn it back into a bar, which is why Kowalski Ford bought the property.
“It had a lot of charm to it, but there was no interest in it,” he said.
While there’s no timeline for the building’s demolition, Zilka said he expects Kowalski Ford to raze the building relatively quickly, saying they wanted to do it last fall but still were working on plans. While the building is going, Zilka said the city is happy Kowalski Ford is expanding its space.
“We’re excited about it from the standpoint that Kowalski Ford is continuing to do a really good business there,” Zilka said.