Bartender made art and music with the same dexterity and measure of whimsy he brought to his bartending
By Frederick N. Rasmussen (The Baltimore Sun, 3/10/2012)
Michael Edward “Mick” King, a longtime Mount Royal Tavern bartender who in addition to pumping beer and pouring shots was an accomplished artist and sometime musician, died March 3 of a heart attack at the venerable Bolton Hill bar. The Govans resident was 47.
Mr. King, the day bartender, had reported for his shift last Saturday morning when he suddenly felt ill.
He told owners Chris Kozak and Ron Carback he wasn’t feeling well and went upstairs to a spare bedroom to rest.
“He later asked if we could get a replacement for him,” Mr. Carback said.
“When we went upstairs a little while later to check on him, he was gone. The paramedics came and worked on him for half an hour, but they pronounced him dead,” Mr. Kozak said.
“He was the heart and soul of the place,” said Mr. Carback. “When word got out about Mick, people were so overwhelmed and came here, where we held an impromptu wake. He was so well-loved.”
“The Mount Royal Tavern was his living room,” Mr. Kozak said. “He was even here when he wasn’t working.”
“Mick was your typical crusty and curmudgeonly bartender type who loved everybody. He sometimes portrayed a gruff exterior, but he was probably the sweetest most sincere and genuinely affectionate guy in the place,” said Charlie Vascellaro, a Bolton Hill writer and tavern regular.
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