Mink Changes Owners, Management Nearly Overnight
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.
Allison Wagoner Houston's The Energy at The Mink, July 2011
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."