Eighty-five-year-old Raúl "Socio" Crespo Villardel, founder of Mike's Bar in Tijuana, died on March 8 of natural causes. In the '60s, members of Vanilla Fudge, Love, and Spirit could be found hanging out with Carlos Santana and Jim Morrison at the Avenida Revolución rock club. (Morrison had a roped-off private table next to the ladies' room.) For awhile, there were two Mike's Bars on the same block.
A Cuban expatriate born in Havana, Villardel hosted Hispanic groups who mimicked British rockers. Jorge de la Torre of Los Dug Dug's, who in the spring of 1965 played Mike's every Sunday afternoon, says, "George Harrison and Ringo Starr came in to see us one day.... We were doing Beatles songs, and they were dancing with all the girls." The original Mike's burned down in 1968. The rebuilt Mike's is now a disco that hosts drag shows.