Mink Changes Owners, Management Nearly Overnight

energy mink sept 4.jpg
Allison Wagoner
Houston's The Energy at The Mink, July 2011
White Mystery wasn't just the name of the band playing The Mink on Saturday night. There was a palpable feeling of tension and "weirdness," as one person put it, at the Midtown venue as word continued to spread across the Houston indie community that one of their favorite hangouts had been sold. Onstage, the show went on, albeit somewhat chaotically.

Danielle Wegner confirmed to Rocks Off that she and her partner, Synda, bought The Mink Thursday. She described herself as an entrepreneur, real-estate agent and small-business owner who moved to Houston from Michigan six years ago.

"It was dying," said Wegner, who was working behind the downstairs bar in the Backroom area. Still, "we like the place," she added. "We like the feel, we like the vibe - it's comfortable."

Wegner said she had been hanging out at the Mink for a while, and looking to buy a bar: "When the opportunity came, I seized it."

However, the change in ownership caught the Mink's employees by surprise, and many have since left the bar. "Nobody told us anything," said one staffer who was still working there Saturday - temporarily, he added, requesting Rocks Off not use his name.

The transition "could have been better, but we're working it out," Wegner admitted.

The Mink has been a popular gathering spot among young Houston hipsters for several years, beloved for its cheap drinks - especially on Tuesday, when the $1 well drinks turn the venue into a riot of facial hair, vintage clothing and Converse sneakers - and a local-friendly booking policy heavy on punk, metal, indie and hip-hop as well as regular DJ nights such as A Fistful of Soul.

The Mink also drew occasional big-name roadshows like Denmark goth-punks Iceage, ex-Minuteman Mike Watt and New York indie-poppers Vivian Girls.

"The Mink is that fun friend who never showers but you still keep hanging with him anyway," one Yelp! reviewer posted in July. "His bathroom is disastrous, but he occasionally plays good music in the back so you put up with it."


Location Info

Map

The Mink - CLOSED

3718 Main, Houston, TX

Category: Music


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29 comments
DJ NINE
DJ NINE

Pretty much the same bar as it was before.... a non-pretentious neighborhood bar type of atmosphere,shotgun style, in probably one of the few remaining older buildings in that area. The back patio is the same as before; part of it feels like a closed off back alleyway which is unique, especially in a city like Houston, where many historic areas have disappeared making room for newer construction and design. I like the new bartenders there and am glad that they didn't try to give the place a complete makeover. They intelligently repaired the bathrooms, and no more holes in the floor in the Backroom!  Their RECESSION tuesday nights have become a great new hotspot, with myself, DJ N9NE (soulargrooves, tx dub) as the selector bringin listeners a heavy bass driven soundsystem and special guest djs throughout the month..... and...... i can't forget to mention no cover and...1$ wells all night in BOTH bar areas. If you are looking for something new that has a bad ass vibe.... check out the Mink. Definitely am glad that this bar didn't disappear like one of my other favorite bars that had a very similar atmosphere, the Proletariat, or even Club Waxx which was an older and much missed favorite stomping grounds.

Audiogrrl2001
Audiogrrl2001

The women that own the place happen to be very oriented in excluding certain clientele. I would hate to wish this upon anyone but I hope it doesn't it work out for them. They don't deserve. I hope they go back to Michigan where they are from. I feel bad for the former employees who had to endure their wrath. I certainly wouldn't want to work with them the way they do business.

FcukDaMink
FcukDaMink

First thing that was said was "There's nothing changing about The Mink" The second thing that was said was "There are some changes we are going to be making about our agreement we made last week. If you can't meet them, then you should move your event" -New Management/Owners at the Mink reneging on an already booked show

Vadubadu
Vadubadu

Facial hair, vintage clothing and Converse sneakers are NOT hip if everybody is wearing them like a bunch of trendoids.

Thanks for playing.

Kiyoshi Matsutsuyu
Kiyoshi Matsutsuyu

the return of investment is so ridiculously high, you'd have to be insane not to put in 2-3k into the Mink and make it 10x better than it already is! a favorite venue of mine since 2004!

Kiyoshi Matsutsuyu
Kiyoshi Matsutsuyu

#1 - make the mink not STINK. buy industrial grade toilets, buy new doors, and get air fresheners. make more money.

#2 - make the mink not UGLY. pressure wash that entire place, inside and out. use paint. it's cheap. make more money.

#3 - have a website with an up-to-date calendar. cross-promote via facebook + twitter. pay acts by 2:45 AM. ditch the asshole sound guy and find 1 person who knows how all the sound & lighting & power is distributed throughout the venue. make more money.  #4 - ignore all of the above advice and be like every other houston venue that changes hands or shuts down after 1-2 years, unlike professionally run venues that last 5+ years (see: chicago, miami, brooklyn, los angeles, san francisco, etc). get someone with an MBA or actual education/experience to help revitalize your venues instead of just WINGING IT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE HAS IN THE PAST. make money. make a profit. and yes, i am a pretentious know it all... ;p

Harry T. Watts
Harry T. Watts

So where the hell am I supposed to drink a Scott Doyle Something Special now? 

TJ
TJ

Yawn...

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Like April, I have been the beneficiary of a free drink now and then, but on other nights I would spend $40 at The Mink on an amount of alcohol I could have bought at at a liquor store and drank at home for $6 or less.  "One on the house" made me feel like a valued customer.  The fact that they remembered what drink I wanted before I ordered it made me feel like a FRIEND.  Like Ben, I have had complaints about the facilities there.  I will give it a wait and see attitude about returning.  But it will take awhile for the sting of this change to wear off.  Plus - myself and many of us "hipsters" have loyalty to our bartenders.  We may have a hard time seeing ourselves back there without them.  If the new owners are reading this post and really will continue The Mink as an originals music bar, here's what you need... Better stage lighting, a solid sound man (you had that in Jeoaf), good monitors and microphones, more advertising, air conditioning, and clean working bathrooms.  Do that and you've got a good club.  But you'll still have to have bartenders that customers like and identify with to take it over the top.

Marc Brubaker
Marc Brubaker

Brandon Lemons, who was doing all the booking at The Mink, has said that he's going to try to salvage as many shows as possible and move them to other locations.

I wouldn't expect shows on the calendar to stand.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

Good call on the sale!

Especially if they really did have a Tuesday $1 well drinks for the young Converse crowd.

If I owned that bar I'd want out from under that problem in a hurry and would take the money from the sale and run.

It is only a matter of time until H-Town Trauma Level # 1 Hospitals and the Harris County Coroner's Office will see to it that practice comes to a screeching halt.

Sometimes citizens have to protect their young Converse kids even if they don't want to be protected.

Just like is done all across the US of A.

Snidley
Snidley

What april5k said. The shows will still stand? Under whose terms? The new owners wanted to shaft a touring band out of a guarantee.

Sami @ Yelp
Sami @ Yelp

Hopefully they'll do something about that bathroom.

ben
ben

 its good and bad. the mink is nostslgic  but it's also a huge shit hole. delapidated floors that you could almost fall through. bathrooms that didnt work at all, the doors wouldnt even close. the overwhelming smell of sewage. but it was a good hang out spot cheap drinks and such with and aight sound system depending on who was working the boards. sad to see this era end..... well not really hopefully the new owners cn put some money into it to make it better cause the current owners obviously wernt gonna do it. i mean it seem like their idea of renovating was "lets throw some more ply wood over the holes in the ground." i wish the staff would of stayed though that was one of the only pluses to that place.

april5k
april5k

Last night was terrifying, the club wasn't honoring White Mystery's guarantee, and promised them 100% of the door (it came close enough to make them happy) but the show wasn't gonna happen if they couldn't find a back bartender, fortunately Tess Siegel stepped up and did us all a huge solid. A lot of people were saying "fuck the mink" but the scandal didn't keep everyone away and I'm thankful for the people that still came out. It shouldn't have been on the bands to bear the punishment of an unhappy change. I'm surprised that there's no mention of the fact that people got let go for taking money from the register and giving out too many free drinks (that I was a more than happy recipient of)

Mark W.
Mark W.

Seeing as the venue did not open until September of 2005 it is an impossibility that it venue could be a favorite of yours since 2004.

Brandon Lemons
Brandon Lemons

1.  Neighboring business provided the stink by overflowing/dumping their grease traps and backing up the drain. 

We had incense!  ;)

We had industrial grade toilets that you could flush 6 golf balls down and they wouldn't clog (the plumber showed us).  Apparently the patrons take shits that exceed the size of 6 golf balls.

2.  We painted, constantly.  Our loyal customer base provided the constant artwork (some of which was hilarious / Clockpole tags were boring at best).

3.  What wasn't up-to-date about the event listings?  I personally handled that and I assure you that everything was current.

I promoted.  That doesn't mean that I'm going to draft artwork for your band because you have no initiative to do it yourself.

What band are you in that the sound guy was an asshole to you?  I'm pretty sure I never booked you just looking at your picture.

We had an electrician take care of the upstairs a year ago (Thanks John D!)

4.  Put YOUR money where your mouth is.  Until you've worked within the parameters that any venue has allowed you to, you have no room to talk.  As a patron maybe, but as an insider absolutely not.

Cheers. 

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

Thanks for this info!  Brandon's a great guy and I want to support his efforts.

Vadubadu
Vadubadu

I like the way you think.  $1 well young converse crowd sounds like being a glutton for punishment.

The Mahas
The Mahas

You obviously haven't been there in over a year in a half if you think there's still plywood floors being covered up. They ripped those out and the floor is concrete, thank you very much.

Michaelpaulhardin
Michaelpaulhardin

I can't believe you would throw out accusations of thievery. What evidence do you have that anybody stole from registers at the mink. You do understand that it isn't possible to do right? I dont have to go in to the logistics of how paperwork is used to prevent such things from happening or go into the fact that doing something like that is immature and out of character for any of the former employees. Your accusations are unfounded and pretty irritating considering the current circumstances. I would hope that anyone who cares enough to wonder what has happened at the mink take some time to consider what and who you are talking about before you run out and throw people names in the mud. I personally don't have any intention of drawing people away from the shows that they may still have there but if behind the scenes I have a new owner telling me and the sound guy for that matter that they aren't sure if there is work BC they aren't planning on honoring the agreements made to the bands booked before they arrived then I become a little skeptical about their intentions and that is why I am no longer employed by them. You can believe what you want but without great pressure from Jeoaf that show last night wouldn't have even happened. They had every intention of shutting it down before I walked out last night. They have no intention of running te same type of music venue we have all loved and I am telling you, BC I have fact, that the only thing they care about is money. Now all of that is fine. Myself or any former employees do not care that they are wanting to fix the place up and move it forward. That is just great but don't be foole into believing this place is the same and please don't believe that any of us deserve to be seen in a negative light. Everyone should know that we all cared about the mink AND the people that frequented it. I have been known to give local an touring musicians "deals" and that's BC I thought we all had a community and an understanding. For that to now be thrown back in my face is a shame.

bellini
bellini

don't front as if you have some inside scoop, april5k. keep the bs in your burger.

iamkiyoshi
iamkiyoshi

ok, 2005 then.

my points are still valid.

iamkiyoshi
iamkiyoshi

1. okay

 

2. the "backroom" upstairs looked junky and needed help.

 

3. website wasn't updated; promotion needs to be consistent and methodical, across the board. facebook+twitter+website+newsletter, etc - when artists are too lazy to provide artwork, that still shouldn't stop whoever is in charge of Promotion from posting to all the different areas before the day of the show & the day of the show.

 

affiliated acts i worked with? glasnost, boys & girl club, grrrlparts, but 1 night was especially bad when the subwoofer was blown for several days before the talent event arrived (mom&dad) -- the sound guy should set a hard limiter on the entire system and allow all bands & DJs to fiddle with their own gear however they want... as someone who is Protools HD certified and installed systems for a living, i do have room to talk on this issue: there should be a solid front of house mixer with everything configured so as not to damage the amps and speakers. the equipment's settings can be locked into place via software or via "hardware" locking the cabinet to settings. it is not appropriate for "sound guy" to come fiddle with  band & DJ gear.  and yes, the venue's "official" sound guy should be present to assist in soundcheck (if ever there were floor monitors at back room?).

 

4. insider, sure - i did the DMX lighting for multiple venues, sound systems, and recording & mastering for several performances. worked with any parameters? i'm a financial analyst. mink has a lot of potential, but it's not living up to it what it could be doing, at least not yet.

 

- kiyoshi

april5k
april5k

I was like why's everyone so mad? But I reread what I wrote. I regret using the word "fact", to be clear on what I meant: the new owner kept saying this (I heard it 4x). I was surprised it wasn't mentioned in the article. I have no idea what happened and I didn't mean for it to be taken the wrong way. And yes, Jeoaf and Zach were champs last night, too. I'm stoked on all the people that helped this show not get sunk, and made lemonade outta the lemons. That's all. The shows and staff were mishandled, the new owner didn't seem to understand the vibe of the bar. But yeah, I'm with you, I was just unclear in how I said that and didn't mean any harm.

april5k
april5k

Awwwwww, right after I posted that I was like "I hope Brandon doesn't think he was the lemons in question!" <3

Brandon Lemons
Brandon Lemons

" I'm stoked on all the people that helped this show not get sunk, and made lemonade outta the lemons."  Ouch!  I'm glad it happened too.  White Mystery are super nice/cool people. 

Stuff is getting ironed out for show relocating.  The ship is in flames but you don't sink it to put out the fire.

Michaelpaulhardin
Michaelpaulhardin

Thank you now my butt doesn't hurt so bad ;( I'll Step down from my pedestal and go back to playing video games or whatever it is that I do. Further more Stephen and I are both sorry about not being there and having to miss the show last night. It was one of the shows we were both most looking forward to. I'm glad it all still worked out.

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