There used to be a nightclub on Willow Knolls Drive called “Second Chance” and it was a real hotspot for a while in the late 70's and early 80's. I spent many drunken evenings in that place causing all kinds of mayhem and mischief. Well, recently I found out that the building that housed that nightclub is still there, but now it’s a church. And the name of the church is...Second Chance! Okay, we’ve gotta go check this one out...to the MBIP Mobile!
Off we go, the Second Hand Church is right down the road from MBIP Headquarters here on Willow Knolls Drive.
Signpost ahead...Second Chance Church! Hey, there's also an Oliver's Pizza here...hmm, we may be returning here next week, stay tuned!
Here's how the Second Chance looked back when it was a nightclub a few decades ago...
And here it is today as a church. I think it's so cool they kept the name, Second Chance, how perfect of a name is that for a church?
Here's the office doors and they are open, let's go inside and see what's going on in here.
After wandering around I found the main office that houses Mark Doebler, who's in charge of the church. Normally his title would be, "Pastor" Mark, but he prefers, "Coach" Mark, as in a spiritual Coach. Mark's not your typical church leader and Second Chance isn't your typical church. Mark told me when they bought the building, he was told he'd have to do a lot of work to make it look like a church, to which he countered, "I don't want it to look like a church." Does this mean the old Second Chance still looks the same? Well, follow along because Mark said he'd take us on a tour!
And here's JoElle Allen and Angie, who's going to join us on the tour. Angie works for Second Chance and you avid MBIP readers might remember JoElle from a Cheeseburger Saturday Night at Castle's Patio Inn a few months ago. JoElle was the manager of Second Chance back in the day and I thought it would be fun for her to come along for this tour and here she is. See how things just fall into place here at MBIP?
The tour begins here and Mark told us that the office space and this social area for the church used to be O'Leary's restaurant and bar which is cool, but we're here to see the Second Chance so...
Let's go through these doors and let the Second Chance tour begin!
Wow, even before I go in, memories are flooding back to me of this place! I was probably here at least a couple nights of every week from 1978 to the early '80's.
Mark had a great story he told in the lobby. Mark moved here about six years ago from South Carolina and was looking at this building to buy for a church. He said he stood here in the front lobby area, looked up...
And saw some stained glass windows that had been here since the beginning when the building was first designed as the Second Chance nightclub. As he looked closer he saw...
The letters SC, which originally stood for, "Second Chance," but Mark thought how it could also stand for, "South Carolina," and took it as a sign that this was the place for his church.
While this structure looks somewhat church-like, JoElle pointed out that this was a phone booth back in the pre-cell phone days of Second Chance.
Wow, there's the original Second Chance sign that used to hang outside. I'm getting a memory overload here!
And as we enter the church's main area, it's almost exactly as I remember it, this is too cool!
That's the original bar, it's been moved over to the side wall, but it's the same bar that was here all those beers...I mean years ago.
There's the stage area where bands used to play. Music is still part of the action in here when church services are held every Sunday at 10AM. Everyone is invited to stop by, so if you want to come and check it out, you're more than welcome. As Bluto Blutarsky once said, "It don't cost nothin.'"
JoElle's showing Mark where the old dance floor used to be in front of the stage area here.
Here's a shot of the front of the room from on top of the stage.
There's two tiers of wooden rafters overhead and they haven't changed a bit either.
And here we go up into those aforementioned rafters!
The bar up here is the same one that was here from back in the nightclub days.
Drinks used to line the railings up here and now bibles have taken their place.
I remember leaning over the railings and pouring beer on people below. Oh the fun we had back in the day!
As you can imagine, JoElle has some great stories about managing the Second Chance and it was very entertaining to listen to them. One of them involved a drunken Joe Cocker on stage and it prompted Mark into doing a spot-on Joe Cocker imitation that was better than the one John Belushi used to do!
A birds-eye-view of the front stage area from the third tier.
Back on the main floor, Mark pointed out a piece of art on the wall that's a collective work of art from the members of the church that pretty much spells out what the Second Chance is all about these days.
Very nice! One thing I thought was interesting was that before Mark bought the building for the Second Chance Church, the city was going to tear it down. So Mark and the church gave the Second Chance building its very own second chance. How cool is that? If you'd like to learn more about the Second Chance Church you can visit their website right here.
And just for old times sake, here's JoEll, throwing me out the door just like back in the day when I used to pour beer all over everyone from up in the rafters. Thanks to Mark, Angie and JoEll for a great time and tour of the Second Chance Church!
JoEll Allen was the manager of Second Chance nightclub from 1978 to 1983. As you can imagine, she saw a lot of wild shenanigans in that time, including me crawling around the club in a booze/drug-induced state of horribleness. I asked JoEll to work up a list of some memories from back in the day...or perhaps I should say night, and here they are—thanks JoEll!
• The Second Chance opened in 1978.
• The maximum capacity licensed for the club was 729, but many nights it went over 1,000. The biggest night ever we had was 2300 people! Wall to wall craziness and thankfully nothing bad happened!
• People loved the beer garden, especially on the “free beer” nights.
• Another big night was “nickel beer night” inside of the club.
• Music was a major draw for the Second Chance and some of the local and regional bands included:
Pork and the Havana Ducks
Dave Chastain Band
Greg Clemons and Colors
Ready Steady Go—With Craig Moore and Bob “The Whale” Miller
The Elvis Brothers
• Some of the bigger names either on their way up or on the way down included:
Cheap Trick (Pre-Budokan)
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
Ricky Nelson (Just prior to his plane crash)
Chubby Checker (He had nothing to do, so we hung out all day and he even went on some errands with me, including going to the bank.)
John Mayall (Joe Cocker showed up unannounced for this show and went onstage after drinking a pitcher of vodka!)
Spirit (Rumor had it that there was a lot of acid in town around the time of this show and the audience was very sedated and mellow, so that may have been true.)
•The Second Chance closed in 1983.
Second Chance Church
3300 W Willow Knolls Dr.
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Bonus Art by Jaws the Cabbie!
Jaws the Cabbie sent in the “Bedeviled” art of me returning to the scene of the Second Chance. Ha! Great work, thanks, Jaws!