Devon’s Detroit – Daily Detroit What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Sun, 25 Nov 2018 14:29:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 6 Bars Of The District Detroit & Little Caesars Arena, Ranked Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:00:39 +0000 One of the biggest issues plaguing both Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills was the lack of quality options for eating and boozing before and after games.

The Palace had well-documented struggles with this issue and the old Joe Louis Arena, while located in downtown Detroit, was nestled in a veritable concrete fortress of freeway ramps and parking structures.

Those issues are a thing of the past with the opening of The District Detroit and its crown jewel, Little Caesars Arena. The area now counts at least a half-dozen bars and restaurants in a few blocks.

With an interesting mix of old standbys and new offerings, this area is becoming a destination on game days and off nights alike.

After visiting each one, what else is there to do then but rank these establishments on a completely arbitrary scale based on my own preferences? Here we go — and feel free to tell me how you’d order them in the comments.

6. District Market Detroit

via Facebook

District Market Detroit is fully capable food court offering a variety of food and beverage options including coffee, beer, and desserts. As with its District siblings it has TVs to watch the game and easy access right into the arena. The problem is it has little else in terms of charm or uniqueness. District Market is simply “there,” which sometimes is all you need.

5. Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit

via Facebook

The atmosphere recalls a Hard Rock Café, if the only musician who ever existed was Kid Rock. I promise I didn’t set out to drop the self-proclaimed “pimp of the nation” to number five on this list, and if you enjoy the man and his music this may be your favorite spot of the bunch. However, evaluating this place objectively, it is decidedly the priciest, whether that be $11 beers or $16 sandwiches. You’ll basically be paying “stadium pricing” for any offering here. There’s a bonus for fans of the Kid — I hear he frequents the establishment and has even been known to play a few impromptu songs for the crowd lucky enough to be there.

4. Temple Bar

Temple Bar Detroit

The longest tenured bar in the area, Temple is THE best place to get cheap drinks and mingle with true locals to the area, most of whom will openly curse the Ilitches and lament the gentrification taking place in their old stomping grounds. Temple is a true dive bar that’s affectionate appeal comes in the interesting conversation and eclectic individuals you’ll meet there.

3. Harry’s Detroit

via Facebook

Harry’s is absolutely a “District Bar” whether they want the moniker or not. Nestled right in the heart of the shining gleaming new offerings, Harry’s has undergone a subtler transformation recently, painting the entire structure black. Inside is the same casual, no frills atmosphere and offerings they have always had. Nothing special to speak of but it is not the $8 Bud Lights and $18 pizzas as some the other new neighbors, which for many old-school patrons is more than enough incentive to go here.

2. Sports & Social Detroit

via Facebook

A quintessential “sports bar” this place has the requisite massive TV’s playing multiple games at a time, a decent menu selection of game day favorites, and a great outdoor bar that becomes a lively spot for drinks and conversation on the weekends and event days. The only downside here is a limited cocktail menu and poor wine selection, but hey if you’re coming here, it should be for the big game and a tall glass of beer.

1. Mike’s Pizza Bar

via Facebook

The eponymously named flagship of The Districts offerings, Mike’s Pizza takes the number on spot on this list because of a more than respectable cocktail and beer menu, and hand tossed pizzas that easily outdo the Hot ‘n Readys that made the Ilitch family a household name.

Mike’s also has a fantastic indoor/outdoor bar area when the weather is reasonable and ample big screen televisions to catch the action going on both inside the stadium and around sports world. To top it off, there’s also live music offerings most weekends just make sure to check their active Facebook page for updates on who’s playing and when.

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The Best Mayor In Detroit’s History And “Idol of the People” Deserves More Recognition Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:31:29 +0000 The city of Detroit is rife with nods and tributes to ghosts of its past, legendary and sometimes infamous individuals who have helped shape the city for hundreds of years. Names like Woodward, Lodge, Fisher, and Cass are so synonymous with the thoroughfares and buildings they represent that many people don’t even associate the names with the actual individuals they represent.

However, one name that doesn’t appear on any major road signs or building facades is that of a man who may be the greatest and most influential political figure in the city’s history.

In fact, Hazen S. Pingree was once ranked the four best Mayor in American History by a collection of scholars however the only major public recognition of him is a commanding statue that sits in Grand Circus Park and gazes proudly yet discerningly down Woodward Avenue.

A true “Idol of the People” (as the statues inscription reads) Hazen ran on the campaign slogan “Equal Rights to All, Special Privileges to None” and throughout his time as Mayor he embodied that mantra.

What interests and impresses me most about Hazen Pingree is how relevant his work and beliefs are in today’s political and social climate and so I’ve decided to share some of my favorite nuggets of Pingree lore in the hopes that you will be inspired to do your own digging at places like the Detroit Historical Museum and Detroit Public Library to learn more about Hazen and some of his peers and predecessors.

Hazen the Urban Farming Pioneer

Perhaps the most well known aspect of Mayor Pingree’s time in office was his encouragement and advocacy for farming within the city of Detroit. When the Panic of 1893 struck he opened up tracts of land to the public, including the poor, and encouraged them to use the land for farming and harvesting their own food. This initiative earned him perhaps his most endearing nickname; Potato Patch Pingree.

Hazen the Entrepreneur

An advertisement for Pingree & Smith.


It’s still highly debatable whether great businessmen make great politicians but this was certainly true in Mayor Pingree’s case. Before becoming Mayor, Hazen was in the shoe and boot making business and he was damn good at it. By 1886 he was running a million-dollar company that was the second largest shoe manufacturer in the United States.

Anti-Corruption & Monopoly

Hazen despised corruption and monopolies and notably took on the Electric, Telephone, and Railroad lobbies to expose their corruption and bribery and sought to give control of those services to the public, successfully doing so with the Public Lighting Commission which was formed under his administration.

Big Fan of Public Works

We love to talk about placemaking and investment in public projects these days in Detroit, and rightfully so. Hazen recognized the importance of this over 100 years ago and invested heavily in schools, parks, and public baths (the “urban beaches” early 1900’s).

He Looked the Part

Hazen Pingree. Photo via Library of Congress.

Finally, Hazen was a trendsetter for his time not only civically in appearance as well. He was known to get the “last word on fashion” amongst his peers in the city and bore a striking resemblance to England’s King Edward VII, so much so that when he was fatally ill the King himself sent his own physicians to assist in his recovery.

Still want more Pingree bits? I’ve only scratched the surface on what a fascinating individual “Potato Patch” was; did you know he was present at the Appomattox Court House for the Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Confederate Army, or that he was also elected Governor while he was Mayor and attempted to serve both positions?

If you want to get the full story of Hazen S. Pingree and all of his amazing anecdotes and accomplishments I suggest you check out these sources:

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Pedaling To The Pints: A Tested Road Map For A Detroit Bike Share Bar Crawl Thu, 06 Jul 2017 19:32:25 +0000 Although bike-sharing initially arrived in downtown Detroit several years ago for members of the locally notorious “Family of Companies” in the Gilbert empire via Zagster, it was not widely available to the masses until the launch of MoGo last month.

MoGo is Detroit’s first widely available bike sharing service with 43 stations across the city. All early indications are that it is a success, with the court of public opinion deeming it a much more customer friendly and viable option (at least for now) than the mixed bag of emotions that is the QLINE.

Bikes before the MoGo bike share launch. Daily Detroit photo.

The MoGo stations are strategically placed throughout the greater downtown area to allow riders to be able to dock and “share” bikes at points of interest and centers of activity. The pricing structure is straightforward, however one wrinkle in the MoGo system requires some strategic planning for any would-be rider.

Under the current pricing model riders can make unlimited trips of 30 minutes of less. Meaning once you grab a bike from any station, you must dock that bike at one of the 42 other stations within 30 minutes and grab another one to continue use, otherwise additional costs arise after each 30 minute interval.

Although this may seem like a tedious money grab by the designers it serves a very practical purpose. It ensures that riders are not taking the bikes out and parking them somewhere for hours at a time and therefore defeating the “share” portion this program.

Although many practical functions exist for this type of service my immediate thought upon learning about the program was “Can I make this a bar crawl?”

So with a printed station map directly from the MoGo website in hand and my favorite adventure companion by my side I sketched out what would be a comprehensive but efficient jaunt around my beloved city. Mapping the route was not necessarily difficult however ensuring I wouldn’t be out on the bike for more than 30 minutes at a time made for some important logistical calculations.

I won’t spoil the ending and reveal if I was successful in my maiden voyage “bike share bar crawl” but my hope is that you’ll follow along with my days itinerary and be inspired follow in my tread marks or create your own path.

Stop 1: Capitol Park Station:

Avalon Bakery: Crucial to get some fuel in your system for the day and Avalon’s fresh and hearty offerings are the perfect base for your trek. My drink suggestion? Start your breakfast off with a coffee and finish with one of their several local beers on tap.

Other potential stops: Calexico, La Lanterna

Stop 2: Jos Campau & Guoin: approx. 25 minute ride:

Atwater Brewery: A scenic ride down Woodward and along the riverfront takes you to this Rivertown standby. If you haven’t been recently you’ll want to note that they have now added a rooftop beer garden, perfect for sipping on a Dirty Blonde or Locals Light as you soak up some sun and prepare for your next leg of the journey.

Other potential stops: Andrew’s on the Corner, They Say, Rattlesnake Club

Stop 3: Gratiot & Russell Station (Eastern Market) approx. 18 minute ride:

Gather: Several very respectable spots to check out near Eastern Market but we decided to go with one of the newbie’s in town and was happy we did. The temperature was rising so the colder the drink, the better which meant the Rose’ slushy that was on the menu was just about the perfect drink for the situation. If I had the time to stay for one more beverage the Bloody Mary looked tantalizing, but we had to be on our way.

Other potential stops: Detroit City Distillery, Vivio’s, Stache International

Stop 4: Second Avenue & Prentis Station: approx. 17 minute ride:

Royale With Cheese: Making our way into Midtown it was due time in the journey for another stop to fuel up, and decided on another relative newcomer to the scene in Royale With Cheese, the decadent burger establishment on Cass. The Kruncher and its jalapeno potato chips and green chili queso proved to be a winning choice.

Other potential stops: Bronx Bar, Motor City Brew Works, Traffic Jam & Snug

Devon O’Reilly outside of Old Miami.

Stop 5: Second & Selden Station: approx. 2 minute walk

Old Miami, Selden Standard: Rather than get on our bikes for the next trip we decided to make the short walk down the street to the venerable Old Miami, after all the temperature was approaching 90 degrees and the siren song of the lush backyard was calling our name. We then wandered over to Selden Standard just as they were opening their evening service for a surprisingly refreshing whiskey and lemon cocktail from the always impressive seasonal menu.

Other Potential stops: Honest Johns?

Stop 6: Wabash & Michigan Avenue Station: approx. 14 minute ride

Motor City Wine, Sugar House: From the Mogo station just across the street from the restaurant on Selden we zig zagged our way through the Cass Corridor, around Motor City Casino and down Trumbull until we reached Corktown. Continuing to take advantage of the gorgeous day we had stumbled into Motor City Wine and its eclectic but cozy patio became our destination. A nice glass of Chardonnay would be a great choice here but this time around I opted for a cold bottle of Hakutsuru draft sake. Across the street at Sugar House we found a spot on their small and semi-secret patio in the back and tried a couple whimsical offerings from their “Corktown Carnival” summer cocktail menu.

Other potential stops: Bobcat Bonnies, Gold Cash Gold, Two James Spirits

View from the Aloft Bar looking at the inside of the David Whitney

Stop 7: Grand Circus Park Station: approx. 9 minute ride

WXYZ Bar (David Whitney Building): Making our way back downtown for the final stop of the day we opted for the one bar where we could still capture the fleeting rays of the waning sun. I wound down the eventful journey with a cold Summer Shandy draught and we plopped ourselves on one of the comfortable couches set up outside. The only thing left to do was pull that trusty map back out and begin plotting the next boozy bike adventure.

Other potential stops: Rusted Crow, Cornerstone Barrel House, The Royce

BONUS: Of course you can follow the hand-drawn map, but if you take this post with you if you decide to go, here’s a Google Map with every bike share stop on the tour.

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Here’s Where To Drink In Detroit Like Don Draper Fri, 05 May 2017 01:49:41 +0000 Even though we’re coming up on the two year anniversary of the grand finale of Mad Men, it’s clear the show and its characters have left an indelible mark on collective pop culture.

Try and find a new office or commercial renovation that isn’t dripping with mid-century modern, or “hip” creative workplace that doesn’t come equipped with an in-office bar cart to delight the would be Peggy’s, Pete’s, and Harry’s of today’s millennial workforce.

The “Incredulous Don Draper” meme (you know the one) is used to mock everything from work ethic to lack of drinking prowess and the Old Fashioned has become a staple of every respectable cocktail menu.

People, especially young professionals, seem to have a desire to re-create the mood, aura, and experience of the era (minus the blatant misogyny and racism of course).

Luckily for those people Detroit still has those places where you can relax in the decor and spirit of Don and the gang from Sterling Cooper.

Buhl Bar

Tucked away at the bottom of where else, the Buhl Building, Buhl Bar may capture the essence of the quintessential Mad Man watering hole better than anywhere on this list. Open for Happy Hour only, the crowd is a who’s who of lawyers, executives, and big time deal makers. The intimate and discrete setting is perfect for after work rendezvous and just for the record, they may serve the best Manhattan in town.

535 Griswold Street in Detroit

London Chophouse

To my knowledge the only bar in Detroit mentioned by name on the actual show, the Chophouse has been the spot for dinner in Detroit as far back as the swingin’ sixties. The cozy and dark below ground bar and dining room are seemingly untouched since the era and you can almost feel the ghosts of ad men, gangsters, and politicians from bygone eras as you loosen your tie, sip your Old Fashioned, and gulp down your Oysters Rockefeller.

155 W Congress Street in Detroit

Whisky Parlor

A relatively new addition to the Detroit bar scene that expertly captures the feel of different era, Whisky Parlor is located just above the Grand Trunk and offers cozy seating, an extensive scotch list, and almost nightly music of some sort.

608 Woodward Avenue in Detroit

Northern Lights

If you’ve ever set foot inside this place you know why it made the list. Oozing a retro casual atmosphere and far from the see and be seen business crowd of downtown, I imagine Northern Lights is the place Don would take someone he didn’t want to be seen with but knew would appreciate some live music and a good time. Also, unlike most of the other places on this list the drink prices won’t hurt your wallet nearly as much.

660 West Baltimore Street in Detroit


“Outdoor” bar at Townhouse downtown Detroit.
Although nothing about the décor or ambiance screams Mad Men, this place makes the list because it’s absolutely the type of place modern day Don Drapers and Rogers Sterling’s would wine and dine clients. The preeminent “power-lunch” spot in the city, I’ve already mentioned it in a previous article as a place to catch the movers and shakers of Detroit but it also holds a treasure trove of whiskey and scotch selections, some of which you might have to make partner at the firm to be able to afford.

500 Woodward Avenue in Detroit

The Whitney

The Whitney. Daily Detroit Photo.
This place would’ve been considered retro even in Burt Coopers day but it also would be the place all of the high society folks with their names on the buildings would have enjoyed their dinners, followed by cigars brandy of course. You may not be able to enjoy the cigar part but just about every other aspect of this scenario is re-creatable from the simple yet exquisite dinner menu to the dim lit after-dinner enclaves of the 3rd floor Ghost Bar.

4421 Woodward Avenue in Detroit

Joe Muer

Throw on the white dinner jacket, find a date to show off on your arm, and pack your appetite, Joe Muer does fine dining and seafood as good as anyone. From the old school black and white tile in the bar area to the grand piano providing musical ambiance to the dining room, this is a place that would be just as recognizable in 1967 as 2017. Also of note is that this place doubles as a fantastic happy hour with a half off cocktail menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.

400 Renaissance Center #1404 in Detroit

Bonus: Caucus Club

Although not a current establishment just yet, the Caucus Club is one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the year, especially to those who can still recall spending an evening here during its heyday in the 1960s.

It’s famously where Barbara Streisand worked as a lounge singer in the early 60s and from the looks of the renderings and construction so far (peeking in the windows) the new iteration will stay true to the original and become staple for all of the modern day Motor City Mad Men and Women.

In the Penobscot Building

Editor’s Note: Enjoy this? There’s more of Devon’s Detroit right here.

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The Ultimate Detroit Patio Guide You Didn’t Know You Absolutely Needed Thu, 20 Apr 2017 20:55:18 +0000 Patio season is fully upon us in Detroit and with that comes a myriad lists and heatmaps of where you should be spending your sun soaked days and nights.

The problem with most of these is that they simply opt for a geographical map or perhaps simply a list of places randomly selected from the vast metro Detroit region.

What they don’t do is get to the heart of why someone chooses where to spend their time during this joyous season. In my estimation, it really boils down to four distinct factors when deciding where to go and the prevailing of those ultimately dictates your choice.

So I’ve decided to save you the time and trouble by personally “researching” just about every patio in the city of Detroit (no spots from the burbs) and give you lowdown on where to spend your time and money based on what you really want out of your patio experience.

83 and Sake #Detroit #motorcitywine #sake #Corktown #carpediem

A post shared by Devon O’Reilly (@d_reils) on

Soak up the Sun:

WXYZ Bar at The Aloft Hotel Easily Detroit’s best hotel bar this spot also provides ample sunshine because of its westward facing location away from downtowns high-rise buildings. You’ll catch sunshine late into the evening and once it cools down there are comfy couches and a fire pit to keep you cozy.

Motor City Wine- Very few umbrellas to be found on the patio out here, which is good news if you’re a patio sun seeker. This is also your spot if you want to “turn up” a little bit as it is low -key legendary for day parties.

Ottava Via- Aside from having fantastic food, Ottava Via boasts one of the best patio setups in the city complete with a full size boccie ball court free from any awnings or sunshine impediments.

Volt Bar at The Renaissance Center- Likely not an obvious choice, Volt is located on the second floor of the Ren Cen and serves as the Hotel Bar for the Marriott. What you may not be aware of is that it also has a huge patio space that offers Instagram worthy vistas of downtown while keeping its distance from the shadows of those very skyscrapers.

One of the epic old destinations of #Detroit #Food

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Drink on the Cheap:

Northern Lights Lounge Whether its starting your day off with cheap carafes of strong mimosas or ending it with happy hour specials starting at a couple bucks for beer and cocktails this place has you covered in the wallet department. My advice is to stick around for the nightly entertainment, even if it’s usually indoors.

Third Street- Not ideal for sunshine as the patio here is mostly covered but perfect for those looking to booze on a budget. Pretty much any drink here wont set you back more than $5 and the pours are always generous.

Z’s Villa- With an expansive patio that includes sand volleyball courts Z’s is definitely a place to lose yourself for a few hours in the afternoon sun. After splitting a few pitchers of beer and some of their famous pizza with your friends, your bellies will be full and your wallets won’t be empty.

Camino Real- Tucked away on Central Avenue in Southwest in Detroit, this spot offers a huge drink menu at a tiny price. There is a happy hour from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday but you really won’t need it as almost all beer and mixed drinks are priced under $5 all the time.

Devon O’Reilly outside of Old Miami.

People Watch:

Townhouse- Among the masses of scurrying Quicken employees; tourists and big shots are the main groups to spot from your perch here. Smack dab in the center of the action you’ll also want to keep an eye on the door as you never know what local celebrity or corporate titan is liable to walk in.

Queens- Downtown’s unofficial “neighborhood bar” there’s almost always a good crowd of regulars and business folk casually hanging out the very approachable patio that juts out toward the intersection of Grand River and Farmer giving you great views of all the action.

Pappy’s- Let’s be honest, Pappys isn’t going to win any “Best Bar” awards or wow you with crazy cocktails but what it will do is put you right in the thick of things on the always bustling Monroe Street in Greektown. There’s perhaps a no greater concentration of characters, tourists, and rowdy sports fans than outside Pappy’s on a weekend night.

Old Miami- Sometimes when it comes to people watching it’s more about the people inside the establishment than on the street and at nowhere else is that more apparent than the venerable and eclectic Old Miami. Literally a cavalcade of hipsters, hippies, bikers, musicians and all manner of oddballs descend upon the sprawling backyard throughout the day and into the night. No exaggeration is needed to say this is a place than an entire Saturday can be spent at without ever becoming dull.

Chow Down:

Mercury Burger Bar- Fantastic beer selection and a myriad delicious burger choices make Mercury a go-to for getting you grub on. Add to that some pretty amazing tots and hot dog selections and you’ve got the best place in Corktown to fill your breadbasket while catching some rays. We’ve previously mentioned it for their excellent burgers.

Seva- What some might call a hidden gem, Seva is tucked away just off Woodward in Midtown but the real treat is behind the building on the ample patio space. Seva is a vegetarian establishment but you certainly don’t have to be one to enjoy their specialties like their Tempeh Burger, Pad Thai, and Mac & Cheese as well as a fantastic cocktail menu.

La Dolce Vita- Up on Woodward Avenue just north of Six mile (don’t call it McNichols, despite what the street sign says), this place has a patio tucked away quietly between two buildings. Brunch is solid here.

Grand Trunk- While I could easily mention their Rueben or Shepard’s Pie and leave it at that, this place has one of the most consistently great brunch menus in the city. To top it off their mimosa and Bloody Mary deals are super affordable and the patio on Woodward doubles as a great people watching spot.

Traffic Jam- A midtown stalwart from all the back to the 1960s this place is Detroit’s original locally sourced restaurant. They make everything from the bread, cheese, and ice cream all the way to beer and tea in house and will serve you any and all of these offerings outside on their prime location patio in the heart of Midtowns growing commercial corridor.

Devon’s Detroit is a column that posts most Thursdays. Previous articles here.

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Respect Our Home: The Do’s and Don’ts Of Tigers Opening Day Sat, 01 Apr 2017 23:15:53 +0000 The term “Opening Day” doesn’t mean much (or often anything) to most cities in this country. Even among metropolises with major league baseball teams, only hotbeds like St. Louis, Boston, and Chicago rival Detroit in terms of fervor and pageantry when it comes to the first day of home baseball.

Truly a local holiday in every sense of the word, it really must be experienced to be appreciated. In fact almost all of the enjoyment and revelry of the day can be had without actually going to the game.

Thousands of fans, partygoers, and hooligans from all over southeast Michigan will descend upon downtown Detroit that day, many for a rare appearance in the city that bears their teams name.

As a former suburbanite, with a history of experiences and observations from this glorious holiday, I’m hoping you’ll take heed and find enlightenment in this field guide of the do’s and don’ts of Opening Day.

Do Not —

Trash the streets

Look, it’s inevitably going to happen, but you don’t have to be the one contributing to it. Just because baseball season has started and you’ve had a few tall boys of Bud Light doesn’t mean Woodward Avenue magically becomes a giant garbage receptacle.

“Woo!” At Strangers

This really applies in any social situation, save for a Ric Flair Convention (which I hope is a real thing) but Opening Day seems to really bring out these wanton outbursts directed at groups of people or in many cases members of the opposite sex. Whatever your inclination or motivation, it’s just wrong and you look like a jackass. Save it for the pedal pubs.

Cut in Line at the Restrooms

The cardinal sin of any sporting event or concert, this action may result in verbal and in physical altercations and there will be no sympathy bestowed on you for the consequences of your offense. Using the restroom is a nightmare on Opening Day and we’re all just trying to satisfy our most basic needs, your situation is not more dire than others and likely resulted from poor planning on your part. Get a head start on your bladder by not waiting until the last minute to dash to the bathroom.

Park Illegally

More of a warning than a rule, if you haven’t been downtown recently you should know parking enforcement is not messing around. Tickets are $45 for even the most minor offense and they will find you. We’ve also got this crazy QLINE rail thing we’re testing up and down Woodward now and I kid you not when I say tickets for parking in the potential path are $650 and a tow. DO NOT PARK ON THE TRACKS.

Smuggle in Booze

Listen, I know the drinks are crazy expensive, $8 for a can of beer is highway robbery but by entering one of the lively establishments on Opening Day you have essentially agreed to these terms. Don’t be the amateur sneaking a couple pints of Fireball into their cargo shorts, and don’t be the human embarrassment still wearing cargo shorts for that matter. If you can’t afford to drink at a bar, don’t go out, but don’t turn the place into a frat party or tailgate either. You’ll likely be caught, thrown out, and your friends will have every right to abandoning you for the remainder of the day.


Get there early

Official start time for the ballgame may be 1:10 p.m. that day but if you try showing up at that time you’re decidedly late and will be walking into a s***show that’s been brewing for five hours at that point. 9 a.m. is a suggested time to get yourself downtown and anything after 10 a.m. and it’s starting to get late. In addition, arriving early allows you to beat the cover charge at many places, which can start climbing into the $10-$20 range as the day goes on.

Follow the Game

After a few drinks it can be easy to forget why we’ve all gathered in downtown Detroit wearing orange and blue but it’s important to respect the reason you’ve decided to leave your responsibilities at home and booze the day away. No matter where you’re at the game should be on, make sure to take note of important points in the game and listen for the uproarious outbursts that follow every Tiger run. At a minimum, you’ll want to save embarrassment by knowing if the Tigers won or lost their first home contest.

Stick Around After

Besides the obvious fact that you may well be moderately to severely sauced by the end of the game, I would highly recommend hanging out downtown for while afterward. I guarantee you’ll stumble upon a new bar or restaurant that’s opened up recently and even if not, Greektown is always a good bet to wander your way to as the bars on Monroe come alive with after-parties that last well into the night.

Come Back

This may be a given for some but I sincerely hope that Opening Day or even just another Tigers game is not your only excuse to return. Especially with that fickle Michigan weather finally beginning to turn toward spring there are countless places to visit, shop, eat, drink, and explore. If you need suggestions, keep up with Devon’s Detroit, there will be no shortage of them in the coming months.

Pace Yourself

It’s going to be a long day, don’t be the person who needs to go take a car nap before the game even starts. Eat a big breakfast, don’t accept or propose any shots until after noon, and make sure to keep moving and not stand in any place or stay at any location too long. Much like the 162 game baseball season, this is a marathon not sprint. So channel your inner Ausmus, Leyland, or Sparky and call a good game for yourself that day.

Remember People Live Here

Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your home city. If you wouldn’t want someone urinating on your front door, don’t do it here. If you’d call the cops if someone passed out on your front lawn, don’t do it here. You get the drift. Show us respect and love, and Detroit will show you the best time of your life.

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Your Detailed St. Patrick’s Day Drinking And Dining Itinerary Sun, 12 Mar 2017 21:04:32 +0000 To begin, I think it’s important to start by explaining what this is not. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all the chintzy St. Patrick’s Days celebrations taking place at countless bars from Ypsilanti to Utica and just about everywhere else in the metro area.

There are plenty of other resources and lists for what drink specials are where and who has the cheapest green beer. This isn’t a guide to where to pound $5 Bud Light tall-boys during the St. Patrick’s Parade along Michigan Avenue. The parade is an honored Detroit tradition, for sure.

However, the fact remains that Sunday, March 12 is not Friday March 17, the day we Americans colloquially refer to as St. Paddy’s Day, thus making it the only true day to celebrate what is unequivocally my favorite holiday of the year.

So what is this? Think of it as a strategic timeline to how to successfully celebrate the actual day, courtesy of Devon Patrick O’Reilly. I will draw on personal experience to give you a concise but complete timeline for a St. Patrick’s Day in Detroit. There are many ways to enjoy this joyous and boozy holiday, this is simply my suggested itinerary that you can stop and start as you will.

As always, drink responsibly. I strongly suggest you plan to use a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or have a designated driver with you or to pick you and your crew up if you’re going to do this and do not live within walking distance of the end of the line like I do. Also, that way no matter where you are if you need to bow out you will be home in no time without incident.

8:00 a.m. – Nancy Whiskey’s: Technically they open at 7:00 a.m. but we’re not heathens here so let’s hold off an hour before we start our imbibing for the day. First thing you’ll need is a proper Irish breakfast to give you a good base and provide you with the necessary fuel for a day of celebration. Luckily this legendary Corktown neighborhood establishment has you covered, along with a shot of Tully and pint of Guinness to wash it down and get you ready for your stroll to Corktown’s central bar district along Michigan Avenue where you’ll appropriately be doing most of your damage on this day.

2644 Harrison Street in Detroit

9:30 a.m. – Bobcat Bonnies: Old school Corktown barflies may have known this place as O’Blivions but the lively gastropub that took its place has quickly become a go-to gathering spot and watering hole, as well as a great place to assemble the stragglers on your drinking team who couldn’t pull it together in time for breakfast.

1800 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

10:30 a.m. – Corktown Tavern: She ain’t much to look at but the drinks will be cheap and the Jameson will be flowing. Be careful though, pacing will be critical today so I would maintain a predominantly Guinness diet at this establishment.

716 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

11:30 a.m. – Mercury Bar: Just a couple blocks walk west down Michigan Avenue I would highly suggest making a stop at Mercury for a beer, if no other reason than to enjoy a cold one outdoors at one of the few patios in Corktown accessible year round. As good as the food here is on any given day here though, don’t fall to temptation just yet because the lunch you’ve been waiting for is just a few steps (or staggers) away.

2163 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

12:30 p.m. – Gaelic League: Decidedly the most important and appropriate stop of the day, suck it up and pay the cover, it’ll be worth it. Live bands, Irish music and dancing, and some of the best corned beef and cabbage you can shake your light-up shamrock glasses at await you at this Detroit staple.

2068 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

Photo via McShane’s Facebook

2:30 p.m. – McShanes: By now things will be quite lively in Corktown and your crew should have a decent lather of brews and whiskey going. So take a couple hours here to enjoy the two bars, live music, and always entertaining people watching that will be available.

1460 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

4:30 p.m. – Nemo’s: A relic of old Corktown this rustic bar is best known for their shuttles to sporting events these days but they still shine bright on March 17 with an always spirited crowd of revelers mixed with those just getting off work to enjoy their first beer of the holiday.

1384 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

5:30 p.m. – PJ’s Lager House: Let’s be honest. You’re going to feel it at this point. If for some reason you’re not PJ’s is the place to take that final step. There will be music and there will be an eclectic mix of patrons but let me suggest that if you have not yet enjoyed your obligatory Irish Car Bomb of the day, PJ’s should be the place to satisfy the requirement. You have now reached the geographical edge of Corktown but hopefully not the proverbial edge of your limit.

1254 Michigan Avenue in Detroit

Intermission – Somewhere along Michigan Avenue: This is necessary for two reasons; for one, you need to traverse this stretch from Corktown to the downtown business district to reach your next destination. In addition, this mile long walk will separate the weak from the bold and give those who may have had their fill of St. Patrick’s day the chance to bow out and end their night without shame. For you though, dinner awaits.

7:00 p.m.- (Forans) – Grand Trunk: They put up the old sign and for one night Grand Trunk returns to their true roots as an Irish bar. Surrounded by new and trendier bars and restaurants in the ever-changing downtown landscape, Grand Trunk oozes authenticity in much the same way your legendary Forans Sandwich will be oozing swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Did I mention you can get a side of Shepherd’s Pie? Do it.

612 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

9:00 p.m. – Whiskey Parlor: Stumble upstairs and treat yourself to a bevy of Irish whiskeys the likes of which you’ll only find across the pond. Pacing be damned, you’re in the homestretch now.

608 Woodward Avenue, Detroit

Devon O'Reilly
Devon O’Reilly outside of Queens Bar in Detroit.

10:00 p.m. – Queens Bar: A short shamble away, this spot will provide an ideal final chapter for your hopefully glorious day. A true neighborhood bar in an intimate setting you’ll be able to spend your final couple hours making new friends with the friendly crowd and having substantial and insightful conversations you will absolutely not remember the following day.

35 East Grand River Avenue, Detroit

If you have made this far, send up a cheers to yourself and whoever else is left of your motley crew, for you have conquered St. Patrick’s day in Detroit.

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10 Coffee Shops In Detroit And What Makes Each One Special Sat, 11 Feb 2017 16:32:17 +0000 It seems nowadays everyone is making lists of the bars, restaurants, and general points of interest throughout Detroit.

Some are organized by the perceived opinions of the writer on their quality or “hipness,” others simply listed by geographic location, and still others are lazily just ordered alphabetically.

These serve only as filler or poor substitution for actual content and useful information.

So rather than word barf out a list of the coffee shops that I can name and I have been to in Detroit (Hint: It’s all of them) I decided the most qualitative way to present these is by breaking them down by situation and occasion.

Because depending on where you are, what day it is, or what you’re looking to do, the perfect java house can vary greatly. Let’s get started.

Best place to bump lattes with the movers and shakers — Roasting Plant

A prime location in the heart of downtown and quick service make this place the preferred destination for the business set to take their meetings and fuel up in between all the wheeling and dealing I assume goes on in those cathedrals of commerce along Woodward.

660 Woodward Avenue, Detroit — Website

Best place to double as your satellite office — Dessert Oasis

Lots of space to spread out and ample tables so you’ll never have to worry about finding a spot. Maybe more importantly though; tasty pastries, and great Wi-Fi create the perfect spot to stay on your grind away from usual office space.

1220 Griswold, Detroit — Website

Best place to find your Zen — Urban Bean

This is a small coffee shop but it certainly helps create the ideal environment to hang out on the second floor and gaze out onto your 180 degree views of Capitol Park and unobstructed view down Griswold. In the evenings they have DJs spinning records upstairs.

200 Grand River, Detroit — Website

Best place to accessorize your pour over with some Detroit swag — Ashe Supply

“Drink Coffee, Live Wild” makes for a great motto and it’s even more effective when emblazoned on a hoodie, henley, or tank top. In addition to the clothing, Ashe has all the “supplies” you’ll need for your coffee obsession including everything from mugs to French presses.

1555 Broadway, Detroit — Website

Best place to shop while you sip — Will Leather Goods coffee shop

When it comes to quality leather goods, Will takes a back seat to nobody. They may not be as well-known as their neighbors over on Canfield but I can say without hesitation that their coffee is a superior product. Plus, there’s just something about the wafting scent of espresso and leather that combine for an olfactory bliss.

4120 Second Avenue, Detroit — Website

Best place to get away from it all — Café 1923

A true coffee “house” nestled away in Hamtramck, 1923 feels a world away from the urban sprawl of Detroit and presents a multitude of seating arrangements to keep you as comfortable as possible while you bask in your caffeinated euphoria.

2287 Holbrook, Hamtramck — Website

Best place to catch up with the locals and connect with the neighborhood — Motor City Java House

“Java House” really doesn’t do justice to this place but cafe, juicery, theater, and community gathering spot probably wouldn’t fit on the sign. Tucked away in the Old Redford neighborhood this destination is always buzzing with activity and although it primarily serves the surrounding neighborhood, unfamiliar faces are always greeted warmly and engaged in conversation.

17336 Lahser Road, Detroit — Website

Best place to kill some time while you wait for your table at Slows — Astro Coffee

..or Mercury, or Bobcat Bonnies, or Ottava Via. Look there’s a lot of really great restaurants in Corktown along Michigan Avenue which means once you put your name in there’s going to be somewhere between 30-45 minutes to kill (on a slow day). That’s the perfect amount time to wander over to Astro and grab a pour over or latte. Just make sure you get it to go just in case you have to rush out to claim your table down the street.

2124 Michigan, Detroit — Website

Best place to find your creative side — Café Con Leche

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cafe Con Leche is closing April 29, 2017) The increasingly vibrant area around the Fisher Building is becoming a hotbed for the “Eds and Meds” crowd but what really makes this area tick is the Center for Creative Studies located a block away. And where do you think these artists and innovators wash down their creative juices with coffee? You guessed it.

2990 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit — Website

Best place for anything and everything your heart desires — Great Lakes Coffee

Coffee? Beer? Coffee AND beer? It’s all possible here. Besides the aforementioned mixture (which is called a 50/50 and is delicious) there’s also wine, food, and a full cocktail menu. At Great Lakes you may come for the coffee, but you’ll most likely leave with a buzz.

3965 Woodward Avenue, Detroit — Website

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Devon’s Detroit: Bad Luck Bar And The Case For The $5 Milkshake Fri, 03 Feb 2017 22:52:33 +0000 In one of many memorable scenes from Pulp Fiction, a favorite movie from my adolescence, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) scoffs at the idea of his date ordering a $5 milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slims, the garish 50’s sock hop restaurant straight out of Quentin Tarantino’s dreams.

Incredulously, he wonders how a drink with milk and ice cream could cost $5.

“You don’t put bourbon in it or anything?” he asks. Once the shake arrives his curiosity dictates that he has to try the aforementioned concoction. The verdict is a little explicit for polite conversation but suffice to say he concedes that although he’s still not sure if it’s worth $5 – but it might just be the best milkshake he’s ever had in his life.

I couldn’t help but think of this scene when hearing some of the initial reactions to Bad Luck Bar and their menagerie of expertly crafted cocktails ranging from $18-$80.

The sentiment was similar to Vince’s in that the idea of spending $27 (the average price for a drink there) was borderline ludicrous and surely not something Detroit bar goers would ever blow their money on.

What they may have not counted on though is the growing number of cocktail enthusiasts and libation aficionados who would gladly fork over their hard earned dollars to taste some of the best and most expertly crafted cocktails this side of Lake Michigan.

Because really, the closest you’re going to find anything like this place is the upper echelon of Chicago’s cocktail bars. If you’ve ever experienced the cocktail scenes in places like San Francisco, Manhattan, or Boston you’re familiar with the 20-something dollar cocktails.

When you consider the truly unique atmosphere you’ll find yourself in, it would be easy to forget you got there by wandering down a back alley in downtown Detroit.

The service is impeccable and attentive, the setting is certainly trendy but decidedly cozy, and the presentation and pageantry of the drinks is above and beyond anything you can currently experience in the Detroit area. If that’s not enough to sell you, you’ll even be given a warm rum and cinnamon aperitif.

If you’re going to do just one drink, try The Tower. That’s a 12-year Scotch, chamomile tea, baklava honey syrup, atomized Fernet-Branca and as an extra touch, garnished with a lemon peel with Detroit branded on it.

Like Mia Wallace and her shake choice, I may never be able to convince you that it’s worth paying upwards of $30 for a single drink. The best I can do is encourage you to try it and decide for yourself.

To echo the Vincent Vegas sentiment: I don’t know if it’s worth $30, but it’s a pretty good cocktail and despite the name you’ll feel pretty lucky while you’re there.

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Devon’s Detroit: “You Belong to the City” Fri, 03 Feb 2017 21:04:41 +0000 My social and professional lives frequently mingle and intersect maybe because the city of Detroit has been a part of my life for well … all my life.

I was technically born a Detroiter and grew up a suburbanite. Tireman and Schaefer may not be what the quintessential idea of suburban isolation looks like to some but although I could see Detroit from my front porch. Dearborn was very much a suburban paradise growing up.

Over the years my curiosity for this city across the street grew and was only bolstered by my parents own familiarity with it.

Both have lived, worked, studied, and played there at various points throughout their own lives. Thanks to their interest, it sparked an interest that borders on fascination with exploring any surroundings I find myself in, and this is especially true with the communities where I live and work.

After having worked downtown for a couple years (no, this is not a Quicken story) and spending just about every weekend in Detroit I decided on an urban lifestyle.

I sold my home in Dearborn, turned over the lease to my car and embarked on pursuing the kind of life I wanted. One that immerses myself in the city I had grown to love and sharing my passion and exuberance with anyone willing to listen.

Detroit is by no means new to me (we’ll discuss the 239 bars and restaurants I’ve been to later) so this isn’t an account of my first forays into Detroit, nor is it about me “discovering” the city. This is a community I’m proud to join, but know it’s bigger than me.

I also realize that what’s mundane or commonplace to me may not be the same to someone reading about it for the first time, just as my experiences and situations might not be all that new to certain people.

What I will give myself credit for is a keen social awareness regarding people, places, and interactions and that will be the intended goal of this column.  I subscribe to the motto of an adolescent hero of mine, Van Wilder, who said “You shouldn’t take life too seriously, you’ll never get out alive.”

Devon O'Reilly
Turns out if you write here you also get a nifty T-Shirt. Outside of Queens Bar in Detroit.

My submissions here are not meant to be controversial, in-depth, political, or comprehensive. There are many better people than me to tackle race, equity, politics, and justice in this city.

What you will get in my column are observations, lists, rants, recommendations, and general accounts of tomfoolery that borders on debauchery.  I have a penchant for fine whiskey, craft beer, brunching on any day that ends in “y” and have a terrible time turning down any manner of invitation or proposition.

There are approximately 687,000 people in this city with unique lives, thoughts, and stories. Although individual Detroiter experiences will vary, this is simply an account of mine. Let’s tip back a pint together, and hope you enjoy the ride.


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