Mickey Rats – Still up for sale?

Buffalo News, Thursday September 15, 2016

Mickey Rats Beach Club is still up for sale, despite one developer’s claim to have a signed agreement in place.

Longtime owner Richard J. Alberts confirmed Wednesday that he is seeking a buyer for the popular Southtowns waterfront entertainment destination, which has been in his family since the 1960s.

Alberts said he has had five potential buyers look at the property and sign confidentiality agreements, but has not yet completed a sale.

William A. Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development Co., said Wednesday that he had the Town of Evans club and its Captain Kidds Restaurant under contract to be acquired. He did not disclose the price or closing date.

Paladino said the firm is still evaluating its options for a future project, although there has been speculation since early summer among Mickey Rats patrons and fans that the developer planned to build apartments or condominiums on the 4.26-acre site at 8934 Lakeshore Road.

But Alberts said that the contract with Paladino and four other investors expired in early September after 90 days and was no longer valid. As a result, he said, it’s business as usual right now as the summer season comes to an end.

“I’m having a seasonal closing party this Saturday, as I usually do,” he said, adding that he currently plans to reopen the club next year, although it’s still for sale.

On Wednesday, Mickey Rats was closed, although it will be open for the Buffalo Bills home game Thursday night, as well as on Friday night.

And signs out front indicate that the closing party Saturday might not be its last. “Thank you for a great season, see you in the spring!” the sign states.

The sprawling Lake Erie property – actually several sites cobbled together in acquisitions years ago – has been a beachfront destination for generations of Western New Yorkers, dating from the 1940s, when more than a dozen beach bars and establishments operated in that area.

Alberts’ brother took possession of the current property in the late ’60s, and then Alberts himself took it over later, acquiring three other bars to add to the site and eventually building the current 20,000-square-foot complex, including the patio.

Captain Kidds opened almost 35 years ago.

“We’ve got a beautiful, beautiful sandy beach,” Alberts said. “People have been coming out here for years.”

Today, it remains one of the best-known bars in the country, citing a onetime listing in Reader’s Digest. In any given summer, he estimated, the business probably has about 100,000 people visit, including repeat customers. “It’s kind of the fiber of Western New York. It’s been around for so long,” Alberts said.

“That’s why it’s such a human interest story. We’re like the last man standing.”

But now, Alberts, who’s in his 60s, acknowledges that it’s time for a change.

“I’ve had enough,” Alberts said. “It’s a tough business. I don’t really want to sell it, but that damn thing with age.”

Buffalo News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro contributed to this report.

Buffalo News, Thursday September 15, 2016