Hayloft Returns?

By Mitch Hotts, The Macomb Daily

Tattoo artist plans to revive the Hayloft rock bar in Mount Clemens
Heather Hayes and Amy Campa worked at the Hayloft before it closed in 2011. Hayes will return as a social media manager, while Campa will be a bartender. RAY SKOWRONEK — THE MACOMB DAILY

The front patio needs extensive repairs before the club can re-open. The large rear patio also needs to be cleaned up. RAY SKOWRONEK — THE MACOMB DAILY
A former landmark saloon in downtown Mount Clemens may be resurrected later this month with the return of live music.

The Hayloft, which has roots in the city dating back to the 1970s but closed in 2011 due to money problems, will host rock bands when it opens around Halloween, said Robert Adams, a tattoo artist who has worked in the entertainment industry.

He has plenty to do — the 12,000-square-foot building was left in shambles by the previous owner. There’s a hole in the roof in the rear and a persistent squatter who camps out overnight on the patio, but Adams is optimistic about the future.

“I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting the word out — everyone we’ve heard from is pretty excited,” he said.

Adams, 42, looked at a number of potential sites including Harpo’s in Detroit, the I-Rock Club in Detroit and old churches in Detroit for an electronic dance club concept he was considering. When someone brought the Hayloft to his attention, along with its storied past of hosting national bands, he decided to head over to Mount Clemens.

“We looked at quite a few places, but I feel this one has real potential,” said Adams, who has operated a tattoo studio and a rock club in Ludington, Mich.

The Hayloft was initially opened as a country bar in 1974 by Colin Trainor and his father, Neil, who created a thriving country music bar hosting stars such as Carl Perkins, John Anderson and Larry Atkins. After 25 years in the business, they sold it in 1988 to Ron Masters and Dale Malinowski. Masters later bought out Malinowski.

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Over the years, the bar became known for its rock bands. In mid-2011, the bar underwent remodeling and was expected to headline Bret Michaels for a grand opening but was shut down by Macomb County in October 2011 due to foreclosure after Masters failed to keep up with his payments.

Talmer Bank, which held the bar’s mortgage, bid $647,000 for the property, according to court records. In addition, the bank’s attorneys said the past owners left the building badly damaged.

Brian Kramer, owner of several Rosie O’Grady’s pubs, is now the owner of the building. He is leasing it to Adams.

The bar has several building code violations that will have to be addressed before a certificate of occupancy can be secured.

On Wednesday, Adams said he plans to bring in a work crew to begin a massive cleanup with plans to open with three-day celebration Oct. 30-Nov. 1. He wants to install LED-illuminated panels throughout the interior to give it a dance-club vibe.

“We’re already hearing from some pretty big bands, like Alien Ant Farm, who want to play here,” he said. “The word is getting out.”

Mike Mitchell, who formerly ran the Hayloft when Masters was the owner and is a guitarist in the band Critical Bill, said he hopes the revival works. He may come on board as the talent booker.

“This place is a landmark for the east side,” Mitchell said. “People in the Mount Clemens are dying for it to come back and have live shows again.”

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