The big bar night
Places to drink - and refuel - on Turkey Day Eve
Published: November 17, 2010
The Corner Brewery 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739: Operating on the "reverse mullet" premise (i.e. party in the front, business in the back), CB's is a cozy microbrewery equipped with a beer garden and a special tasting room. They'll open at noon, and you can kick back with a pint of one of usually eight beers on tap, including Sacred Cow or Phat Abbot Tripel.
Dirty Dog Jazz Café 97 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms; 313-882-5299: On Nov. 24, Dirty Dog will be featuring After 5 — a band that combines the classics of swing, Latin, smooth jazz, bebop and more. Also noteworthy is their delectable menu, featuring dishes like calamari with charred tomato sauce, corn beef with house made chips, and a Kobe burger with duck fat fries. Seats vanish quickly so it's recommended that you arrive early. Better yet, make a reservation. Tickets are $25.
Elmhurst Tap Room 22057 Outer Dr., Dearborn; 313-277-4041: In this frosted-glass, track-lighting, martini-menu world, it's such a relief that the stained-glass-and-wood Elmhurst endures. Dark, cool, plush and anachronistic, this Outer Drive haunt is frequented by regulars who look as if they haven't relinquished their stools for a few generations, making it seem a likely bet for a quiet "bar night" evening.
Gusoline Alley 309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235: A classic dive bar, its regulars are as colorful as witty scribble on bathroom walls; and like any authentic dive, there's real storytelling floating in its narrow room, amid so much bumper-sticker artistry. Even old Buk might've been a regular — or maybe we're just romanticizing the hell out of this place.
Hard Luck Lounge 15410 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-884-5825; 10 W. Adams, Detroit; 313-974-7470: The real reason to frequent this high-class dive bar is for the candy-flavored cocktails. Of particular note is the Red Fish, which tastes exactly like Swedish Fish candy, those delectably chewy gummy fish with the off-putting motto "A Friend You Can Eat!" It has the flavor, but none of the teeth-sticking side effects. Plus, it's alcoholic! So popular are their sweet-tasting libations that Hard Luck recently launched its own brand of 70-proof, candy-infused vodka, Hard Luck Candy. Current flavors include Red Fish and Root Beer Barrel, which make for dandy candy booze, indeed.
Kennedy's Irish Pub 1055 W. Huron St., Waterford; 248-681-1050: Established in 1972, Kennedy's makes it feel like St. Patrick's Day year-round. We dare you to try not to fill up on their corned beef offerings the night before the big day. Beers galore, with pours that a co-worker says "will make you feel like you ordered a double."
Lefty's Lounge 5440 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-5338: It is a solid sports bar that contributes to the lively community around Wayne State, which, in recent years, has begun to attract more residential students. The place even sports a patio overlooking the Belcrest's renowned art-deco swimming pool. But it's definitely about the sports, with more than a dozen giant-screen TVs to prove it, and a menu replete with sports references.
Library Sports Pub & Grill 42100 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-349-9110: Aiming upscale, this comfortable and family-friendly sports bar has television — lots of it. How much TV? Why, more than two-dozen screens, three of them big ones. Other draws include pool, darts, food and live entertainment. Their draft beer special is pretty unusual: order a pitcher and you'll get two free full mugs of beer with it. Also, try their "chicken nachos."
Lions, Tigers and Beers 2929 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-282-1200: Spending your Thanksgiving Eve Downriver? Looking to entertain yourself in a sports club filled with lively, good-looking people? This Wyandotte bar is your place. They have surprisingly good food, gracious service and nice, cold beer. Need more incentives? Prizes are going to be given away, and DJ Money Mic is going to be performing all night.
LJ's Lounge 2114 Michigan Ave., Detroit, 313-962-0013: Though it's a quiet old-man bar on most days, the spill-over crowd from Slows Bar-BQ and the pre-party crowd from nearby dance shindigs makes it a memorable stop for bar-crawlers in the know. The brews are cheap, but be sure to get the price of that shot before you order it.
Luna 1815 Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344: If you plan on taking your pre-Thanksgiving partying to the next level, Luna is an excellent choice to show off those dancing moves and grooves. Need more incentive? From 9 to 10 p.m. there are going to be $1 drink specials and $2-$3 "you call it" from 11 to 12 p.m. Better yet: there's going to free pizza in the late night to help out with the drunken munchies.
Mon Jin Lau 1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-689-2332: This contemporary but casual Asian-Deco décor restaurant and bar is one of the hippest Asian restaurants in metro Detroit. They serve everything from saki bombs ($4) to mojitos ($5). Since this Wednesday is the big night, reservations will be highly recommended.
Motor City Brewing Works 470 W. Canfield, Detroit; 313-832-2700: First-timers of MCBW may want to try the generous beer-sample tray ($7) that usually includes five-ounce tastes of pale ale, lager, Ghettoblaster, nut brown and, sometimes, a dense porter or even a glass of cider. Ghettoblaster, akin to a mild English ale, is also the title of the CDs produced by the brewery that salute local musical talent. Have a hankering for some pizza? Their 10-inch brick-oven pizza is a real delight, and a steal at only $8-$9.
The Old Miami 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830: Though the Old Miami was once primarily a haven for Vietnam Veterans (the walls are still covered with era's history), everybody's welcome. The furnishings are quirky, as they've set down sofas, couches and barber's chairs chockablock. On a warm night, access permitting, their back yard is a Cass Corridor oasis. Better still, the characters help make this place the most charming dive along Cass Avenue.
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