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  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2012

Spend the Night - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for nightlife in Metro Detroit

Limelight Sports Bar

30200 Van Dyke Ave., Warren; 586-751-7883; limelightsportsbar.com

The self-proclaimed "Home of Detroit's Longest Happy Hour" which extends from the utterly jubilant hours of 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Limelight is the kind of bar that wants to keep you once they get their hands on you. It's an easy enough task with tallboy mugs of cold brew for less than $3. While specials change daily, the clientele does not. Not really. The folks here are on a mission to let loose, and they've been known to belt out a song or two on their way to looseville every Wednesday and Friday from nine till close. 

Best Karaoke, 

Washtenaw County

Powell's Pub 

625 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti; 743-484-1484 

This is a dart league bar. If you're not sure what that means, leave now. Other than the dart thing, Powell's Pub is an everyman's drinking den, your home away from home. Domestic beers run you the price of a few hours in the parking meter. And each and every Wednesday and Saturday night, when strong Long Islands put you out just six bucks, Washtenaw revelers grab the microphone and sing like their lives depended on it. OK, that's a bit much. But fun — that is, overindulgence in fun — is had nonetheless. First guy to do "Free Bird" gets dick-punched. 

Best Happy Hour, 

Wayne County

Michael Symon's Roast

1128 Washington Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-2500; roastdetroit.com

Arrive for the spit-roasted beast-of-the-day tacos, or perhaps a "must eat this before you die" bacon-and-egg burger, before rubbing elbows with regional movers, shakers and midday bakers. What's that, Roast has the cure for mega-munchies, you say? We do say. But the beer doth flow at Roast, with Michigan-made pints being a fave among the happy hour crowd. But the real deal comes via the vino, with provocative red and whites from around the world. 

Best Happy Hour, 

Oakland County

Kona Grill

30 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-619-9060; konagrill.com

If the words "sushi," "martini," "beer" and "deal" elicit instantaneous positive biological reactions in your brain (and perhaps other body parts), then you are the sort who might discover your happiest hours inside the confines of the Kona Grill. Every single day of the week, Kona boasts two blocks of time dedicated to cheap indulging: from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 9 to 11 p.m. 

Best Happy Hour, 

Macomb County

Wiseguy's Bar & Grill

42305 Garfield Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-263-0300; wiseguysbarandgrill.com

Playing off the well-trod Italian stereotype of being connected to organized crime, the "wiseguys" are all about family; and when you walk through the door, you're welcomed in as such — unless you're a mook. Any time you spend here will likely be time well-spent, but those hours set aside for premier happiness are what put Wiseguys on the map. On Sunday nights, drinks are 50 cents off, on Wednesdays, ladies enjoy a dollar off their drinks, and on Thursdays, there are specials for both sexes on tallboy beers and top-shelf liquor. 

Best Happy Hour, Washtenaw County

Sidetrack Bar & Grill

56 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-1490; sidetrackbarandgrill.com 

There are all sorts of happy hours going on at Sidetracks. So many, in fact, that there's no surprise this place took home the gold. Dig it: From 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, pints of kind beer run $3.25 and all wine is half-off. Mmmm. Wine. It gets naughtier later in the night: The liquor is half-off from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sundays and Mondays, and from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, and from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. That's a whole lot of booze for not very little many bucks. Don't get sidetracked, get sloshed at Sidetracks. 

Best Bar for 

Sunday Funday

Dino's

22740 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-591-3466; dinoslounge.com

Abiding by the good ol' Wayne and Garth mantra, Dino's tries to deliver a "Party Time! ... Excellent!" experience every day of the week. And the crowd becomes increasingly boisterous for a Sunday. Fortified by a hearty brunch menu that includes a "French Toasted" breakfast quesadilla, a "Bacon Buttermilk" pancake, and a "Buffalo Chicken" frittata, Dino's customers are known to really indulge in their bottomless Bloody Mary deal. Dino delivers a bevy of ingredients that let you customize your Mary's makeup again and again. Or you might take advantage of the fleet of Mimosa pitchers.  

Best Fetish Party 

or Fetish Night

The Dirty Show: International 

Erotic Art Exhibition

dirtydetroit.com

The Dirty Show is definitively sexy, subversive, and sublime. Every year they draw closet freaks and voyeurs into a private-public arena where exhibitionists mix it up with leashed lovers and suggestive aerial artists, deviant dominatrix and vintage vixen steam punk sluts. Masked faces. Naked bodies. The patrons mirror the art on display, and each year there's no shortage of either. Twelve years into it, and Dirty's eccentricity, its inherent evocativeness, continues to, um, dominate. 

Best Sexed-up Waitstaff 

TIE

Luna

1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344; 

lunaroyaloak.com

Hooter's

Novi, Roseville, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Troy; 

hooters.com

At Luna, you make your way to a table or bar and acclimate to your new environment — one that consists of lasers and dry ice, Portishead-Prince-Passion Pit mash-ups and stiff drinks — and you realize you're surrounded by a team of totally bangin' beauties. They're the kind that make you want to write a '90s slow jam, remix it, and dance until you're sweaty and hot. At Hooters, on the other hand, the sight of the signature white shirt pulled tight over her body, tucked into a pair of equally taut, high-hip orange short shorts is the brand. Lots of sexual tension for boys (and girls) too. Better than the menu. Sexy and saucy since 1983. 

Best Dance Club

 

Best Club Night, 

Oakland County

 

Best Dance Club 

in the Suburbs

Luna

1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344; 

lunaroyaloak.com

With a specific set of alluring and affordable music themes and drink specials running Wednesday through Sunday, Luna's wicked ways are fueled by a earnest proclivity for escapist, dance-floor fun. Uptempo electro pop — and up-tempo remixes of downtempo electro pop from yesteryear and yesterday — is at the core of what fuels frolic at Luna. And they've a squadron of sex kitten dancers that'll blow your dirty mind. 

Best Bar for a 

Last-Call Hookup

Boogie Fever

22901 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-1600; boogiefevercafe.com

A perennial, libidinal winner, Boogie Fever has defined itself as a place where mature women prowl for boytoys and a seemingly endless brigade of bachelorette parties swoop in wearing sashes, sucking out of penis straws, shaking their shit when Blondie drops. Some men hover, trying to get noticed or happen upon a dancing partner, a woman who just might be another kind of partner. Not to say there aren't well-intentioned dudes there too. But they're probably DTF just as well. 

Best Club Night, 

Wayne County 

L!V Resto

641 Beaubien St., Detroit; 313-962-9548; 

livrestolounge.com

Historic Bricktown is a neighborhood we know a thing or two about — and you know what? — it really needed a good kick in the ass. We're happy to see our readers agree that L!V has provided a welcome infusion of nuanced nightlife opportunities. A reputable rotation of DJs (Sicari, Equad) make their way through the week. We've seen DJ battles, one hell of a St. Patty's party, and who could forget the official Fela! afterparty? When the votes came in, it was clear that Thursday's weekly house series Life at L!V is a clear fave. One recent Thursday night, they put on a Prince Party, which was advertised as a mature kind of soiree, a night of debauchery dedicated to Prince. Women got a free "Purple Drink." 

Best Club Night, 

Macomb County

Score's Ultra Lounge

37722 Van Dyke Ave., Sterling Heights; 586-977-0123

Scores might be super casual, but that doesn't mean they don't get super crazy. They specialize in crazy. They've perfected their pleasure-providing capabilities into something that could be sold for a fortune if only its allusive down-home quality could be captured. Until then (or at least for one more year), it'll stand alone in Macomb as headquarters for the wildest and wisest late night freaks of the east side. 

Best Club Night, 

Washtenaw County

 

Best Dance Club, 

Washtenaw County 

Necto Nightclub

516 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-5436; necto.com

Necto's incredible drawing power when it comes to pulling in those from outside of Washtenaw County played a big part in this new round of wins for Necto, Ann Arbor's heathen haven. It's a veritable brothel full of DJs and insatiable dance music consumers. Gays, goths and house heads all get a designated night throughout out the week, and Saturday is still the biggest club night per capita in the region. Yo. Party house supreme. VIP services available. 

Best Lesbian Bar

Stiletto's

1641 Middlebelt Rd., Inkster; 734-729-8980

For several years, Saturday nights have been a draw for hundreds of women who make their way to mix, mingle and make out. But throughout the week, this absolutely fabulous bar offers male and female impersonators, gay and lesbian bands, singers and comedians. Yeah, this Stilletto is one-size-fits-all. 

Best Gay Bar

Menjo's

928 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-863-3934; 

menjosbar.com

Serving it up for Detroit's gay community for more than 35 years, Menjo's never takes a day off, always ensuring there's good space to grind, gallop, giddy-up and get down. The bar attracts more of a mature crowd on weekday nights, and on the weekend, or whenever there's a big dance night, the bar attracts more boys. There's a new sound system and dance floor, and a patio for when it gets too steamy indoors. Menjo's has a killer rep for good times, but given its location it comes with one catch: parking.  

Best Strip Club

Penthouse Club

20771 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-541-7000; penthousegentlemenclub.com 

The undisputed king of the Eight Mile strip, the brand-name power behind the Penthouse Club catapulted it to the throne shortly after it opened. Known for attentive service, cleanliness and very good food, it's really the roster of voluptuous and tempestuous women that maintain the club's excellent reputation. The Penthouse is more fancy than it is freaknik, but driven by primordial lust all the same. 

Best Burlesque 

Troupe

Detroit Dizzy Dames 

dizzydames.com

Lushes LaMoan, the Hardest Working Showgirl in Detroit, is the maven who leads the Detroit Dizzy Dames, a group known to pop up all over town with their fiery brand of attention-grabbing burlesque. The other seven or so dames do the damn thing with cutesy restraint and devilish satisfaction. What sets them apart is their respect for the tradition of the craft. Real burlesque ain't easy. But watching it is! That they prove every time the lights go low and these lovely ladies take to the stage. 

Best Jazz Club

Best Blues Club 

Cliff Bell's

2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com

Regular jazz had been conspicuously absent from downtown for years when new owners — Paul Howard, Scott Lowell and Carolyn Howard — restored and reopened this classy spot in 2005. (It had been dormant for three decades, and it was hard to tell whether the club had been transported to the present or you'd gone back in time.) They quickly found a winning synergy between a classy art deco setting, superior food and drink offerings ... and jazz. Not just any jazz — the quality stays high — but a wide variety of sounds finds a home here, from the sometimes twisted (next month, for instance, there's Imaginary Homeland out of New York, which bills itself as "African fiddles, talking drums and jazz") to the more straight ahead (RJ Spangler with an organ jam, saxophonist Mike Monford, singer Jarrod Champion and pianist-bandleader Scott Gwinnell are weekly-to-monthly roster names). We're guessing that the blues vote is driven mainly by the hip-factor of the jazz and club in general. That's not to discount Spangler's regular forays into various shades and derivations of blues for his organ jam nights, or a big blues shindig next month.  

Best Musical Open-Mic 

or Jam Session

Black Lotus Brewery

1 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-577-1878

When it comes to a good jam, our readers put the entertainment at this Clawson microbrewery over the top. Past acts on the stage have included the Brothers Groove, Black Bottom Collective, Sean Blackman and more. In addition to hosting various entertainers some Friday and Saturday nights, Black Lotus has a popular Monday Night open mic, run by local recording artist Nadir and audio guru Steve Szajna. Or drop in Tuesday nights around 9:30 for regular performances by "world groove project" Zap Toro.

Best Bottled Beer Selection in a Bar

 

Best Draft 

Selection in a Bar

One-Eyed Betty's

175 W. Troy Ave., Ferndale; 248-808-6633; oneyedbettys.com 

Congrats, Betty! What a momentous, game-changing award for One-Eyed Betty's, a fresh and welcome addition to Detroit's ever-evolving beer and live music scene: a tasteful and unpretentious beer house, where you can enjoy brews from around the state and around the world. The service is solid, and the food is a step above your average bar. Let's do the numbers: She carries 44 beers on draft, 74 in the bottle and two in the can. Betty is far from average. She's a total babe. 

Best Bar for a Martini

Goodnite Gracie

222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; 248-544-7490; goodnitegracie-ro.com

Life is good at Gracie's. The martinis are imaginative and well-executed, rightly priced at happy hour and still worth every penny they charge at any time of day or night. The staff is just as attentive as the crowd is attractive, and when everyone's snugged tight inside this intimate Royal Oak drink spot, with a soundtrack provided by expert providers such as DJ Joshua Adams, you can really take a moment to reflect on how good life, and a really well-made martini, really is. 

Best Bar for 

Bloody Mary

Vivio's Food & Spirits

2460 Market St., Detroit; 313;393-1711; viviosbloodymary.com

Eastern Market's venerable dive bar, Vivio's takes booze just as seriously as they do burgers. But Bloody Marys are their booze-infused speciality. Is it the sidecar of cold pilsner accompaniment that makes it so good? Is it the spicy house-made mix? Is it the top-shelf vodka? It's all three and you know it. You love it! And you want more of it! 

Best Bar for a 

Classic Cocktail

The Oakland, Ferndale 

201 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-291-5295; 

facebook.com/artnoveltycompany

Classic cocktails in dimly lit, well-designed bars are all the rage right now, and while the Sugar House holds it down in Corktown, the Oakland in Ferndale is a nighttime favorite for the movers and shakers who like to mix it up in pre-Prohibition style. Don't let the sign on the door fool you, the Art Novelty Company is the Oakland, and their master craft is the highly complex and considerable cocktail we bet you'll come to love. 

Best Jukebox

Gusoline Alley

309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235

Dirty, gritty, goes-good-with-drinkin' jazz and blues gets mixed up with punk, funk, country and early grunge from the likes of Neil Young and Sonic Youth. Tom Waits lives next to Wilco and Howlin' Wolf, while Muddy Waters rubs elbows with Elvis Costello and James Brown. Feed the juke; you only get out of it what you put into it!

Best Bar for  Trivia Night

Woodbridge Pub

5169 Trumbull St., Detroit; 313-833-2701; woodbridgepub.com

If you thought handcrafted cocktails were a popular bar fad, you haven't been paying attention to the swarming, sloshing popularity of bar trivia. You bring your friends, we bring our friends, they bring their friends and we get together in small groups, drink copiously and compete against gangs of strangers, answering questions about music, film, history and sports. Drinking's fun. Drinking and racking your trivia-laden brain is funner. Woodbridge is your premier place for booze-infused trivia throwdowns.  

Best Casino

 

Best Casino Slots

 

Best Casino Craps

 

Best Casino Poker

MGM Detroit 

1777 3rd St., Detroit; 313-465-1777; mgmgranddetroit.com

Talk about a sure bet! Wow! Just about sweeping the casino categories, taking the top prize for guaranteed fun and potentially lucrative slots, craps, and poker tables, MGM Grand, with its amazing restaurants and dance clubs, is far and away Detroit's favorite casino. 

Best Casino to See a Show

Motor City Casino

2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-237-7711; motorcitycasino.com

Sound Board is an increasingly popular venue inside the Motor City Casino, hosting the likes of Hall and Oates, Boys II Men, Steve Martin, and epic throwback shows such as this summer's Summerland concert, which, for one night, will take us back to 1998 with Everclear, SugarRay, the Gin Blossoms, Lit and Marcy Playground sharing the stage. A big room with big sound, odds are a Sound Board show delivers icons you adore for prices you appreciate. 

Best Hip-Hop Venue

St. Andrew's Hall

431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-8137; standrewsdetroit.com

The Shelter is the bunker beneath St. Andrew's Hall where, at one point or another, every emcee and DJ in Detroit gets the chance to prove themselves in front of a bunch of rap-devoted Detroiters, many of whom help recognize the hip-hop elite and then do whatever it takes to support and grow a greater rap community. Rap battles still go down on the regular. If you don't know, know you know. It's bigger than hip-hop. It's an institution. 

Best Hip-Hop Night 

Blue Collar Gentleman, Old Miami

3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830

All kinds of rhyme-prone characters show up to Blue Collar Gentlemen parties. It's an event where the underground rears its ugly head and everyone who's paying attention pays their respects. From time to time, there's some unexpected cameo, and the night gets becomes fleeting folklore. You never know who's going to bless the Blue Collar microphone, but you can bet your blunt that multiple rappers rapping in multiple styles will go toe to toe until someone lights that mic da fuck up. If you're looking for solid, non-shiesty-ass dudes in regional rap, this is where you need to be. It's like that. 

Best Rock Club 

PJ's Lager House

1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668; 

pjslagerhouse.com

Spending regular time at PJ's Lager House would lead you to believe that upstanding and locally focused American rock clubs are alive and well. We're spoiled and we know it: It's one of the few perks of being a Detoiter. And PJ has done one hell of a job making sure that the Lager's legacy remains intact. Knowing they had to be as badass as any of Detroit's badass rock 'n' roll bands, the Black Keys used to travel up from Akron just to cut their teeth on that stage. Here's to Detroit! 

Best Comedy Club

 

Best Comedy Open-Mic

Go! Comedy Improv 

261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-327-0575;

 gocomedy.net

The entire Go! Comedy team meshes in a way that makes for the potentially gut-busting funny times that sardonic siblings often provide. To re-create that magic, metro Detroiters make their way to Ferndale's Go! Comedy, the new home of improv around these here parts. Go! also offers programs and workshops through the Improv Academy. Each week, two improv teams go head-to-head in an improv battle; the audience decides which team moves on. And the Soapbox events blend improv and storytelling. There's a lot going on. All of it awesome. 

Best Folk Venue

The Ark

316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1800; theark.org

The Ark has to be one of the most intimate of all internationally known music venues. It's like the folk version of the Apollo. Not only does everyone play here, but everyone plays better. The Ark is a nonprofit organization that has set out to enrich our spirits through the preservation, education and presentation of folk, roots and culturally ethnic music and arts. And the venue succeeds with organic grace and folkie panache. 

Best Sports Bar

Rosie O' Grady's

Chesterfield, Ferndale, Sterling Heights; rosieogradysirishpub.com

Finally, a sports bar that presents every game from every sport around the world on at least one of their fleet of TVs (the televisions at the Ferndale location numbers in the hundreds; each booth comes with its own built-in flat-screen). Grady's has become quite the spot to gather as many friends as you'd ever want to, throw back pitchers of beer, split nachos, pizzas, wings or whatever else you might want to consume, and watch the home team kick ass. Arrrgh! Sports!

Best Local Beer

Atwater Block Brewery

237 Joseph Campau St., Detroit; 313-877-9205; atwaterbeer.com

Offering all sorts of provocative yet well-balanced beers that finish incredibly clean every time, Atwater offers quality in an era where craft beer can be ... overhyped? More than a handful of their beers approach perfection. Their cornerstone beer is the Vanilla Java Porter, and new eye-wideners include the Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale and the Voodoo Vator Doppelbock.

Best Microbrew

 

Best Beer 

Bell's Brewery / Bell's Oberon

8938 Krum Ave., Galesburg; 269-382-2338; bellsbeer.com

When Larry Bell got his brewery up and running in the '80s, did he know what an institution it would become? How many beer drinkers thought Blue Moon, Killian's and Newcastle were as far outside the vast landscape of domestic lager we were allowed to travel? Then someone introduced you to a bottle or bought you a pint of Oberon, Two Hearted, or Third Coast Old Ale. We cannot get enough of Two Hearted's crisp cascade of hoppy IPA perfection, and the profile of the Third Coast barley wine still blows our mind. But as Detroiters and Michiganders, the adoration out there for the cloudy golden nectar that is Oberon makes it the undisputed favorite. 

Best Local Liquor

 

Best Vodka 

Valentine Vodka

161 Vester St., Ferndale; 248-629-9951; valentinevodka.com

Who would've guessed that vodka would have turned out to be such a lucrative venture in a down economy? A guy who worked on Wall Street and then moved back to his native state with the mission of perfecting the ancient art of vodka distillation, a process he feels the big booze corporations have lost sight of. Straight outta Ferndale, he's reminding us just how smooth a vodka drink is. Visit their tasting room and learn how Valentine's natural friendship with McClure's pickles makes for an out-of-this-world Motor City Mary. 

Best Scotch

Johnnie Walker Black

johnniewalker.com

Selling more than 130 million bottles of Johnnie Walker a year, this isn't only Detroit's favorite scotch, but the entire world's as well. An 80-proof blend of 40 whiskies aged for 12 years, the recipe is doctrine for blended scotch since 1909. It's smoky, classy and just complicated enough to love.  

Best Bourbon

Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon

makersmark.com

The first bottle of Maker's Mark featured the brand's distinctive red wax seal when it was produced in 1958. Every bottle since gets the dip so you know it's legit. No other liquor is allowed by law of copyright. It's that handcrafted quality, too, that makes Maker's Mark such a special bourbon. The original is a regional favorite, but if you ever have the opportunity to try Maker's Mark 46, do so! It's aged longer than normal along with toasted French Oak staves.  

Best Gin

Tanqueray Ultra Premium London Dry Gin

tanqueray.com

Drinkers love a good story. And obviously they appreciate a good drink. When the two come together, it's brilliant. The Tanqueray London Dry Gin made today is absolutely the same as the original product launched in 1830. Made from a signature blend of botanicals (juniper, coriander and angelica root) its well-matched with tonic or in a martini, but we suggest a gimlet. 

Best Tequila

Patrón Tequila 

patronspirits.com

What do contemporary country singers and rappers (and Sammy Hagar) have in common? They absolutely love tequila. Can you really blame them? So sweet and spicy, that stuff really puts a kick in your night. In the last few years, Patrón has become a favorite party-inducer and broken-heart bandage.  

 

 

Elektricity

15 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac; 248-599-2212; elektricitymusic.com

There's simply no denying that Amir Daiza knows how to run a good club and make it successful. The dude has his finger on the pulse of what's happening musically in Detroit at any given time, and he's mad skilled at creating prime venues for those genres. In the early '80s, Daiza owned the notorious Bookies club, Detroit's own answer to CBGB. He was also responsible for bringing such punk and new wave legends as the Police, Ultravox, the Damned, John Cale and Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers to the Midwest for the first time, while local bands like the Romantics, Destroy All Monsters and Sonic's Rendezvous Band were all Bookies regulars. Daiza went on to have more success with Clutch Cargo's at the City Club, and later still with St. Andrew's. He still owns Clutch Cargo's, and his latest project is Elektricity, best electronic club, both located in Pontiac.

Elektricity — an all-electronic music venue that's already an international stop for top DJs — opened Nov. 18 last year, a kind of visionary move when one considers the sudden rise in the popularity of electronic music. 

Daiza says that, since '81, his forte has been developing new music in the city, discovering new artists and developing them in this market. "That same philosophy we took with electronic dance music," he says. "That genre of music is, to me, the newest and probably the fastest-growing type of music out there. I'm basically using the same philosophy that we had with rock bands to DJs and electronic music. We're featuring the best of electronic music here at Elektricity."

Despite being widely known for his rock 'n' roll clubs, Daiza is no stranger to electronic music. 

"I was there when it first happened," he says. "Richie Hawtin [aka Plastikman] I found when he was 17 years old. He won a DJ contest that we put together. ... By winning the contest, he became my intern for about three years at the Shelter. I used to have a club on Broadway called the Asylum. Directly across the street, a new club opened called the Music Institute. That was started by Derek May and Kevin Saunderson. The English artists I had playing at St. Andrew's would hang out, and they would see this club across the street, playing techno. They'd go back to Europe and tell people about it. The NME and Melody Maker sent writers over. That was kind of the springboard. So I was there at the beginning. I've always had a liking for that type of music."

Music is one thing, running a club is another. Daiza says that there are many elements to making a good club. "It's not one thing," he says. "Really, to have a good club, the people that come there are most important. They come together and bond because of the music. Music is the key ingredient."

After more than 30 years and many different clubs and events, what keeps Daiza going? What drives him to want to open yet another club with all of the attendant headaches and sleepless nights that inevitably come with it, especially in this town and in this economic climate? 

"The evolution of new ideas and new music," he says. "It excites me. New creative ideas and new music — that's really my inspiration. I get bored of things real easy, so that's the extent of it. I'm always looking for new things."