The big bar night
Places to drink - and refuel - on Turkey Day Eve
Published: November 17, 2010
Some of the best things about the Thanksgiving Eve drinking holiday are catching up with old high school and college friends, awkward run-ins with ex-boyfriends and -girlfriends, and late night debauchery on a weekday — all at your local watering hole. Not sure where to spend it? Don't sweat it. We're here to enhance all memorable moments on your Nov. 24 holiday with this list of places to grab locally brewed beers, sip martinis at trendy hot spots, or get your dance groove on into the wee hours of the night.
Amnesia 2901 Grand River Ave., inside the Motor City Casino, Detroit; 313-309-4605: It's more likely images of scantily clad models dancing to a thumping bass may fill your imagination of this Motor City Casino nightclub, but don't scratch it from your list of possible pre-Thanksgiving hot spots. On Nov. 24, expect DJ Mups and DJ IIB to be plugging away at the music inside this trendy techno-music club.
Arbor Brewing Company Pub & Eatery 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor: 734-213-1393: With beers made for the morning (Espresso Love Breakfast Stout uses 100 percent local fair-trade coffee) or for your taste buds (Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen pairs nicely with the barbecued ribs) what's there not to love? More than a beer-geek hangout, Arbor typifies everything you hope to find in a pub: a nice selection of well-prepared food that transcends pub grub, good local music and — oh, yes — beer, most of it brewed on-premises. You can expect around eight to 12 house-brewed beers on tap.
Armando's 4242 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-554-0666: Armando's stays open until 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays (until 2 a.m. the rest of the week), and the post-bar crowd that spills over from Dearborn and downtown Detroit's clubs can choose from the regular Mexican fare or Mexican breakfast selections. They roll in at 2-3 a.m., and, depending on what's happening in town, there can be a line outside at 3 a.m. The management approves of the late-night crowd, saying that watching buzzed patrons, churlish lovers and new friends can make it worth working late.
Bert's Marketplace 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030: It's the only late-night jazz club in Detroit where anyone can show up. It's not common to find a bar where everyone seems to know each other and yet newcomers don't feel excluded. In keeping with Bert's barebones, working-class atmosphere, their food is more down-home than much of the soul food you find in restaurants, which has often been upgraded from its humble origins.
The Biergarten 22184 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-561-7711: Part of a rapidly changing strip of Michigan Avenue on the west side of Dearborn, this family-style corner bar has a great beer selection for those brew mavens who investigate beyond what's on tap, including a good selection of bottles from Michigan. Expect beer specials and a chance to shoot some pool.
BlackFinn Restaurant & Saloon 530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460: Though we voted this Royal Oak hot spot "Best Pick-Up Bar" back in 2009, we weren't sure what to make of BlackFinn when its doors first opened; was it a sports bar or a family restaurant with a dance floor? Was it a swingers club? Though you may pick up something other than a drink, they?re having happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. for a clamorous Thanksgiving Eve celebration.
The Bosco 22930 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-8818: Expect scenesters, hipsters and young professionals at this Ferndale bar, no doubt drawn by the great music, cool atmosphere and a heated outdoor patio to escape crowd suffocation. If there's nowhere on earth you'd rather spend Thanksgiving Eve than in a too-cool Williamsburg bar, here's the next best thing.
Bookies Bar & Grill 2208 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-962-0319: This classy wine bar's decor gives off a '30s Chicago gangland feel, and has a killer rooftop patio, cozy VIP rooms and huge HD screen. There's a nice selection of drinks be sure to grab a "Bookies Top Shelf Tea" at a stiff $9. It's a cool, even graceful, place to hang, and the one thing it has in common with the old Bookie's is that it still hosts live music, although you're more likely to find a DJ or a sports bar throwdown.
Bray's Hamburger 22941 Dequindre Rd., Hazel Park; 248-542-8878: Anybody who's driven by this 24-hour Hazeltucky greasy spoon can recall its dramatic mascot, a braying donkey. And the bar crowd answers the donkey's call, soaking up the booze with cheapie hamburgers that come with mustard, ketchup, pickles and onions. Seats 16.
The Bronx Bar 4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464: This hip, student-packed venue, which was once an underappreciated dive bar, is a good place to hit up for Thanksgiving Eve. A good watering hole to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Expect to hear some early '80s post-punk, classic hip hop, deep soul, indie-rock favorites, and a slew of Detroit bands make up a dumbfounding roster of lovable non-hits. You might spend more on their two jukeboxes (yeah, there are two) than on drinks.
Cass Cafe 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400: If you're heading to Midtown, then might we suggest this artsy, hipster hot spot. Whether you have a penchant for windjammers, a hankering for food or a fondness for art, this place has the makings of a good night any night. Cass Cafe offers international and local beers — which means neighboring Motor City Brewing Works' Ghettoblaster is at your fingertips.
Cliff Bell's 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543: Stepping into the newly restored art deco live jazz bar with an even more recently opened kitchen is to arrive in another era. Neither cheap nor fast, mixed drinks are crafted old-school, more for taste than ease of production. Be sure to catch some of their drink specials (which are Tuesday through Friday 4-7), like their $2 domestic pints or $3 craft draft pints. For something stronger, try a $5 Hemingway (light rum, maraschino liquor fresh lime, grapefruit juice and a splash of soda).
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