Slip 45 (We-Are-Not-Mako’s) Open for Business

It’s easy to ride on the coattails of a good reputation; tough to get shut of a bad one.

The new owners of the establishment that used to be Mako’s may one day (hopefully soon) be able to talk about Slip 45 and the Shipwreck Lounge without having to explain that they’re working hard to distance themselves the bar that drew more than 200 police calls last year. On Saturday night, at a private “soft opening,” the focus was still on who they aren’t as well as who they are.

Slip 45 officially opened today. The Web site, slip45.com, is up but very skimpy. Check it later for a schedule of events.

Dee Johnson, who was at the soft opening, said she came to check out the place with just a tad of skepticism.
“I had my doubts,” said Johnson. “I thought, ‘It was the same place. It’s going to have the same energy.'”
Johnson was pleasantly wowed. She complimented owners Mike Gold and Kim and Erick Houg on the $120,000 remodel of the place that Houg said took mostly a lot of elbow grease. She called the staff “professional” and said she and her husband felt welcomed from the moment they stepped through the door.

Gary Johnson also gave props to the place, especially the entertainment. Johnson and his carefully waxed signature handlebar mustache (he’s won competitions with it) took considerable roasting from headliner, comedian Mike “Wally” Walter. Walter’s Web site advertises his “high energy, politically incorrect” humor and his appearance – “a cross between Don Rickles and Johnathan Winters.”

Walters skewered South Kitsap, referencing “Port Orchard, Gateway to Gorst.” He mentioned Toys Topless and did a pole dance with the microphone. And at one point, he took one of his props, a laser tag gun and said, “We thought this was Mako’s. We’re still packing heat.”

The crowd ate it up.

Earlier in the night, the Jazz Ambassadors played (didn’t find a Web site for you guys – where are you?) and Christina Lopez, a Texas comedienne who recently played a USO show in Iraq, warmed up the audience.

“I thought it was great as far as the club goes,” said Johnson. “I think it’s about time. The area needs a place like that, especially for the older crowd.”

Houg said, as far as entertainment goes, they’re going to mix it up – some line dancing, some classic rock, some comedy, who knows? They’ll try out different things to see what sticks.

Port Orchard Police Sgt. Dennis McCarthy and three of his fellow officers stopped in to check the place out.

“It looks like a very nice, clean place,” said McCarthy. “They definitely cleaned it up.. It looks upscale. If we have a nice night club in Port Orchard, more power to them.”

McCarthy cited “over-serving,” unwillingness to ban troublesome customers and the negative culture the particular type of hip hop that was promoted at Mako’s for its unsavory ambiance.

I mentioned that some of the comments on the previous story about Slip 45, dealt with the perception that hip hop and the negative connotations that sometimes accompany it are a black thing. McCarthy said it’s more of an age + genre issue.
“The people my people arrested were, the majority of them, Caucasian,” he said. “I would say it’s more of the younger crowd. Not even all young people in hip hop are bad.”
The problem, said McCarthy, is the kind of hip hop that denigrates women, authority, the police, society in general. Add liquor, stir, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

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