Mike Bickle, North Bar owner, memorial JamFest Sunday

Mike Bickle, right, July 2022 at North Bar/Facebook

Tributes continued to pour in this week for Mike Bickle, 53, well-known bass player and owner of Escondido’s iconic North Bar, who died in his sleep on Jan. 15, 2023. Cause of death is as-yet not known.

Friends and family will host a special, free with music and food as well as spoken word, Memorial Jam Fest from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26 at North Bar, 200 W El Norte Pkwy #7, Escondido. For more information, call the bar at 760-480-8228 or visit NorthBar.com .

Bickle, an Escondido native, was known throughout the area as a happening dude. He kept North Bar all in the family when his aunt Tonia Lee Martin died in 2012. Martin, a former American Airlines flight attendant who worked at the bar, along with husband Michael Martin, bought North Bar in 2004.

Bickle kept the bar going, rebounding again after closing for a wile during th Pandemic, turning it into the friendliest dive bar in North County San Diego.  The bar features  a big screen wall for Sports and DJ dance music at night. Karaoke and the occasional live music and brand new stage rounded out its weekly entertainment.

Bickle was “a great club owner, awesome bass player, and a damn fine human being,” said Jason Lee Beckwith, co-host at Musical Journeys, owner and founder at Villa Bonsall and drummer at Kissed Alive. “He was really supportive of the local scene, and he was a loyal guy in a time where that’s in very short supply. Nothing but respect for Mike Bickle, you will definitely be missed….and nothing but love & prayers to Amy Hooten Bickle– we are all in your corner.”

Beckwith added: “Life is short, people. Take a lesson from Mike…make the most of every day you are blessed with. Rest in peace, man. You earned it…”

Olivia Tosic, local music journalist, digital creator, artists relations and PR manager and founder of the Sky Alert Foundation to help find missing persons, regularly booked concerts at North Bar, said, “Our community is devastated and mourning our favorite local guy and musician. He is and will be greatly missed…a tremendous loss and shock for an amazing soul and mentor, friend to so many, a husband and father. We send our most sincere condolences to Mike’s wife and family at this extremely fragile time.”

“Back before the first Stand Down took place. Mike and Amy Hooten Bickle, the owners of the North Bar, in Escondido reached out and asked what they could do to help,” said Tom Cowan founder, North County San Diego Veterans Stand Down. “They held an October fest as a fundraiser and continued to support the Stand Down after that with donations…Please keep Amy and his daughters in your prayers. It’s because of people like Mike and Amy, the first Stand Down happened.”

“We were absolutely floored last night hearing this terrible news,” Sean Harris, . Mike was a great guy and always made me laugh. You will be sorely missed buddy. RIP Mike. My heart and prayers go out to his family,” Sean Harris, an Escondido tech company owner said.

Carlsbad drummer and lyrics writer Kurt Wilson said, “The time I spent on stage playing with Mike will always be incredibly special. He always treated me with great respect. I am deeply sorry for Mike’s family and may the Lord wrap his arms around them at this time. Adios my friend.”

Funeral arrangements are not known at this time. However, any and all are invited for a special day if tributes and remembrance at North Bar on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023.


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