Mike’s Club Goes Down

And from an unforgettable man to an unforgettable Belizean landmark, another loss today is that of the iconic yet seedy locale called Mike's Club.

The building was torn down today after being sold some time ago.

And for many in the city, patrons who frequented the club, and even the starry-eyed admirer of old buildings, witnessing the demolition of Mike's Club is a loss.

It's a loss because the four walls that engendered countless memories will be just that, a memory.

But it's also another instance of a building from Belize's bygone eras lost to modernity. Cherisse Halsall reports:

If you've spent any time in Belize city you may have gotten at least a glimpse of Mike's Club on East Canal.

It's a rundown southside landmark perched precariously on the edge of the Haulover Creek at its junction with East Canal. If these walls could talk, they would tell you of endless bingo nights, dominoes and carom games, marinated in cigarette smoke and drinks that always kept coming, as small fortunes were won and lost.

And observing it all t least for the last forty years was Glenford Diamond. He said he moved in at 22 and never left.

Glenford Diamond, Former watchman
"I've been living here for about 35-40 years. My father was the proprietor of this place about 43 to 44 years ago, his name was Alvin Diamond. He died and turned over the place to a guy named Brown."

"Anyway the place continued to go on and things went on for a long time for another 40 years you know. A lot of good guys used to come through here, Simmons, the guy that is demolishing the building's father, Mr. Canto all those guys used to pass through here right, they were members of this club about 40 year's ago."

"On Sunday nights we used to have karaoke and we used to sing and have fun and then sometimes after Karaoke we have danced and did things, those were the good old memories and fun times. I'm gonna miss all those."

"It was a bar, a club, everything. Dominoes play every day, you play recreation games and things we play and things went on but in 2019 the whole world got stuck with COVID-19. And that was the downfall of the place. The place died, just died."

And when the long time proprietor Alvin Diamond died, the rightful owner took charge of property- and has undisclosed plans for it:

"So, what has happened now that someone has bought this property?"

Glenford Diamond, Former Security Guard
"I don't know I couldn't tell you if I say anything out of the way then I'm a fool."

So now, all he and the many patrons have are these shingles as a remembrance:

Glenford Diamond, Former Security Guard
"You can all come along and take a snap of the place and have memories about it. We should take these things into museums. You know, these things business in museum's these are museum stuff, man. You don't break down everything just like you put them in a museum. Make people always remember the good old times and these older buildings we have in the country. It just goes to waste. Sad."

And while it's sad enough that Belize City is losing yet another iconic landmark it's doubly so because it doubled as a home for at least 5 people. Among them, this woman referred to in this Facebook video only as Gran.

A week ago Facebook do-gooder Albert Magdaleno of Ladyville highlights introduced her to his audience as she explained that the teardown would leave her with nowhere to go.

Albert Magdaleno, Ladyville Highlights
"A lady who lives downstairs is saying that the building will eventually be torn down and she has to move and she lives downstairs of this building."

"You pay rent or not?"

"I used to pay rent but when the old man died I would give the watchman money because I know I lived here and I didn't want them to kick us out."

"Only you live here, aren't you afraid that this thing might fall down on you. You're laughing but this thing is serious, I know babe but if I cry I still can't fix it."

"I have a daughter but she has lots of children and I don't want to have any more weight, I don't want her to have weight."

But, that visit took place over a week ago. Our team also went to look for the woman that but when we visited we only found the dog. You might think she got into a shelter but here's how she responded to that possibility last week.

Albert Magdaleno, Ladyville Highlights
"You have Raymond Parks shelter, would you go there?"

"Santa Purisima Maria I need a little room papa, I really can't live with a lot of people. I'm not used to that."

But she's not the only one in a tough situation, Mike's club's long-standing watchman is also being evicted.

Glenford Diamond, Former Security Guard
"We all have to move because they are demolishing the place. I'm sad, I'm messed up because I don't have another home that I'm going to."

He does however have a treasure, one of Mike's Club's iconic games that he's hoping to exchange for a future.

Glenford Diamond, Former Security Guard
"My plan is to sell this pool table, this Carom table. and pay for a room, ok. I want $2000 for my Carom table. As soon as I get that then I can rent a room. Life goes on from there."

And this teetering landmark - is still defiant, even in its dismantling, it holds the histories of late nights and early mornings, that seem to ooze from beneath the dilapidated wood - and only the patrons now can remember the secrets of the Club at the Canal's edge.

Channel 7

The Famous Mike's Club Is No More

One of the oldest buildings in Belize City that once housed the popular Mike’s Club, also popularly known as “gambler’s paradise” is being demolished and some city residents aren’t too happy about it. The landmark is said to have been built almost two hundred years ago and has weathered many storms but, in recent years it fell into decay. The building located at the corner of what was formally known as Regent Street West and Richard Street is home to history. But, for the owners of the plot of land that sits upon the run-down structure is a nuisance that needs to be destroyed. Reporter Vejea Alvarez went downtown to take a look at the history and future of Mike’s Club. Here is his report.