Island visitors may not recognize who the father and son duo are when they set foot into one of their establishments. But, one can be as certain as a Mojito sweating in your hand from April through Fantasy Fest—the locals are familiar with the faces of this dynamic dad and son. Mike and Chance Blatt are the co-owners of Bare Assets and Old Town Wine & Spirits. An entertainment venue nestled smack dab on the middle of Key West’s Truman Avenue. The Key West Weekly ducked under the red velvet rope and asked for the VIP insight when it comes to integrating high-class family values and what can be mistaken as, well … an establishment which often isn’t held in such high regard.
“I went down to Durty Hairy’s one night to pick up some cash and he looked up at me and said, ‘It costs a lot of money to go out to eat,’ and I said, ‘Yes it does. You need to work hard and go to college so you can provide for your own family,’” Mike Blatt reminisces about the lessons he instilled in his son Chance at an early age.
As a former Duval Street bar owner, and son of a Navy man, Mike Blatt is firm to this day, and has always stressed education and determination to all of his children.
“Go to college; pick up a sport to participate in for a lifetime. There wasn’t a choice to quit,” describes the owner and operator of Old Town Wine & Spirits.
Chance, who chose soccer to be his lifelong sport of choice; that and, rallying fans at KWHS football games, exhibited signs of a sound businessman at a young age.
“He demonstrated leadership and determination.” recalls the elder Blatt. He’s also phenomenal with money.”
Owner of a premier gentlemen’s club, is not what Mike had envisioned for his son’s profession. But, Chance was set on opening Bare Assets after graduating from Florida State University with a marketing degree.
“The most common misconception,” Chance says quite candidly, “women get jealous when their husbands and boyfriends come in here, thinking they’re getting more than they are. I’ve told some of my friends’ wives, ‘He has a better chance of picking up a woman downtown at a club or a bar because my employees can’t leave with them.’”
Chance, who speaks with enough affirmation to make anyone’s eyes water at the sound of the tone, is now deep in the mix of exercising his own parental values. The same stepping-stones he was encouraged to conquer via his own father.
Chance is the dutiful dad to his first boy, six-month old Ty, a tike who shares an unmistaken resemblance to his grandfather when he flashes his bright blue eyes, then smiles, setting off a set of genetic positive dimples.
“I can’t tell you enough, how much I enjoy seeing Chance interacting with him,” beams the proud new Grandpa, “because I’m thinking back to when Chance was just a little tike, and I think, ‘Where has the time gone.’”
Perhaps a thought on the mind of many fathers and grandfathers this weekend.
Chance tells The Key West Weekly, he takes great strides to ensure he doesn’t have to do any parenting at work.
“The dancers, my employees, they do try to come to the boss with their problems. But, I make it a point when they begin employment; they are to leave their personal lives and personal problems at home. This is a business,” states Chance.
The family businesses, (Chance also owns Category 5 Designs), emphasize honesty and hard work.
Chance remembers his childhood vividly, “Growing up, my dad owned Durty Hairy’s. He left at seven- thirty to go to work and wasn’t there to put me to bed, and it’s the same with me, I leave at night. This place doesn’t run itself.”
“The hours don’t matter,” offers Mike. “Parenting, being a father, is about the quality time you put in with your child.”
This Father’s Day 2009, Mike and Chance will forget about the misconceptions some of the community members have about them.
“Some people who look down on what we do, Chance says with an awareness only a small-town businessman possesses. “We know what we’re doing is not acceptable to a lot of women, or wives. I don’t have a lot of softball and baseball teams asking for sponsorship. But we aren’t in the ‘strip club’ business for the same reason a lot of entrepreneurs would choose to open up a strip bar. We’re doing this to provide for our families.”
Mike, Chance & family will spend Father’s Day relaxing out on the boat. Mike runs Old Town Wine & Spirits & Chance is in charge of Bare Assets; because, “the rules are the rules”. Employees can’t have two bosses.
All photos by Josie Koler
Ty, who shares a striking resemblance to his Grandpa, is 6 months old this Father’s Day. Chance’s hopes are Ty emerges as a “happy, healthy, nice kid”. Grandpa wants him to develop a sense of responsibility.
Mike stresses the two family values he and son Chance try to channel through Bare Assets & Old Town Wine & Spirits, honesty and hard work.
Bare Assets was est. in 2001. Preceding the gentlemen’s club was the adjacent Old Town Wine & Spirits est. in 1991. The entertainment complex is situated on Key West’s busy Truman Avenue.
“I’m excited to see him grow,” exclaims Mike Blatt of his six-month old Grandson Ty. “I can’t wait to see him walk and swim, and to see Chance interact with him brings me an indescribable amount of pride.”