Most Read
  • 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.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



Search thousands of events in our database.


Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.


Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

MT on Twitter
MT on Facebook

Print Email


Last chance saloon

Maybe the last bar at the end of the world

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

The Dyer family inside their bar.

There are three drinkers on the barstools. Here at Dyer's Bar and Grill, that's a packed house. All three live in the apartments in this building, so this is literally their home bar. Besides, along this rough span of Gratiot Avenue between Connor and East McNichols, few strangers ever drop in anyway.

"Every now and then," says Jimmy Dyer, the 48-year-old owner and bartender. "They see a bar sign and there's no bars on Gratiot, so you have somebody going to a game downtown and they're like, 'What the hell is this? We didn't know you were here.'"

Dyer's is as barebones as it gets. If you want a beer you've got few choices. Apart from the Milwaukee's Best on tap for $1.25 a glass, there's Bud and Bud Light, and Miller and Miller Lite. That's it. Cans only, for $1.75. "They're safer," Dyer jokes. "You get hit in the head with a bottle, it hurts a little more."

There's no cable or satellite on the lone TV, so viewing rotates among a handful of meager options. Today it's Antiques Roadshow on PBS, which the drinkers eye with a resigned weariness, the kind you get from years of watching shows you'd rather not watch. The lights are kept dim, so it's hard to see the wall rug portraying dogs playing poker, or the vintage jukebox collecting dust in a dark corner, or the out-of-tune piano people played years ago. A beam of daylight pours in through the open door at the back, shining hard on the faces of the old-timers occupying stools along the bar.

This is the world Dyer supervises, day after day. "It's pretty much not tending bar, it's taking care of the old guys," he says of his job here. "It's kind of like adult foster care, in all honesty."

Dyer's is like the last outpost in a dying place. Bars once lined this stretch of Gratiot before their owners bailed for the suburbs and the drinkers followed.

Now this block is like an island. "We're kind of like a little pie in the middle of Detroit, like another Hamtramck or Highland Park," Dyer says, and then adds his bar is "kind of like the Wild West saloon where everybody meets up and does their thing."

The surrounding neighborhood is a mess — empty homes whose lawns have grown high after the spring rains, front-porch drug sales in plain sight, and groups of unemployed men loitering on street corners during working hours.

The family planted flowers out back and they keep their grass cut, making the property stand out. "You can actually tell when you come through, it's different here," Dyer says. He owns the whole building. The bar shares an address with a used appliance store and 10 apartments he rents to an odd assortment of mostly white, mostly poor, mostly older folks, many of whom grew up in the neighborhood and are the last holdouts, relieved they don't have to wander away from their island to have a beer in a bar.

For years, the family owned a restaurant across the street, then bought this bar in the late '70s, when it was called the Snow Owl and featured German-themed decor, including personal beer steins that hung on the wall for each regular.

Back then, crowds of nearby factory workers who wanted a burger and beer filled the place every day. Those workers, and their workplaces, are now long gone. So is the grill. A few years ago, city inspector demanded they put in an expensive ventilation system. That was the end of the meals.

It's a family bar in the truest sense. Dyer and his wife, nicknamed Snoopy, serve the drinks. Her father, known as Pops, spends his days on a stool at one end of the bar.

Their niece Debbie works here too sometimes, putting her 10-month-old son in the playpen that sits by the cooler. And the customers, usually the same faces they see going up and down the stairs to the apartments, are like family by virtue of familiarity.

Though the place hasn't turned a real profit in years, Dyer keeps the bar open year after year, because almost all his customers are his tenants, and he knows those customers have nowhere else to go. He's become their caretaker in a way.

"I've grown up with most of these guys, so you kind of feel like, what are you going to do, shut down? These guys are pretty much all landlocked in this area anyway. Most of them don't drive. They've been around in this neighborhood probably all their life. Everybody else died, packed up or ran, and they're still here."

Tom Crunk's the exception. He's a suburbanite whose circumstances forced him to move into the inner city, the wrong way along the crowded path of migration out from Detroit. "It's a culture shock, let me tell you," he says, pouring beer from a can into his glass. "I'm starting to learn my way around, but as a norm you don't come down here."

Dyer loves to make fun of him for moving to the area.

Crunk lives in one of the ground-floor apartments. A few years ago he was an engineer at an auto supplier in the suburbs. But the economy crumbled, and he lost his job, then his house, then his health as he underwent knee surgery, which required him to stay with someone who could help him as he recovered. His sister lives in this building, so he moved in with her last year. Thus began his introduction to inner-city neighborhood life in Detroit.

"Had a few problems, had a few discussions with people. They know not to discuss it with me anymore," the stocky 54-year-old says with a menacing confidence. "I might be an old man, but I'm not a shy old man."

He's got a steel door for his apartment to make it harder for burglars to get in, but things still happen. Not long ago, he was lying on the couch when several guys from the neighborhood walked in after admiring his TV from outside.

"I left my front door open," he explains. "Don't do that."

Regardless, he's armed and ready. "If you wanna come in I'm gonna blow you right back out into Gratiot," the Army vet says. "That's the one thing the Army taught me — how to kill."

We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus