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Food & Drink > Short Order

Drinksgiving!

Places to party and imbibe, and where to eat — before and after

 

Published 11/25/2009

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Arbor Brewing Company Pub & Eatery 114 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-213-1393: 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. It varies season to season, but you can always find enough kick-ass brew to require a designated driver! And they're very much in line with the latest food trends, favoring local ingredients, assembling a healthy, vegetarian-friendly menu, even appealing to health concerns by phasing out that substance you can't mention without a flack writing in. (How many bars around here have ketchup made with cane sugar?)

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.

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.

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 Bosco 22930 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-8818: This hot spot has great music, a cool atmosphere, and often hosts a good-looking crowd of "scenesters, fashionistas, minimum-wage celebrities and bibulous professional freeloaders." 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.

Comet Burger 207 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-414-4567: Comet is your classic post-bar eatery, pulling in a crowd from Royal Oak's many bars, and serving solid greasy-spoon fare in a charming classic diner environment enlivened with such music memorabilia as framed LPs. On a busy bar night, the grill is so jammed with boozy burgerphiles that it can get livelier than many watering holes. Typically open until midnight on weekdays, the Downtown Royal Oak bar scene will be so bustling the night before Thanksgiving, they've decided to push it to 3 a.m.

Clock Fine Food 11444 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-305-2713: People tend to have strong opinions about the Clock, which serves classic diner fare of uneven quality. Some love the ambience and enjoy the food, others swear by its neighbor Maine Street. But at 2 a.m., when patrons come tumbling out of Joseph Campau's dives, the Clock is the only full-service diner open and ready for them, even thoughtfully trying to accommodate the younger drinking crowd with veggie burgers. 

Club Bart 22726 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-548-8746: Anybody who's spent an evening here seeing live music (especially Honky-Tonk Tuesdays) might not realize that this is a full-service bar and grille with some nifty breakfast fixin's. But the kitchen is still open late enough for something to build a good foundation, and the free-flowing bar and excellent wait service are ready to pour it on. On the stage behind the bar, expect the Motown, funk and soul of Even Exchange.

D'Amato's 222 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak; 248-584-7400: Neighborhood Italian joint with eclectic and "from scratch" fare. Tender, fluffy gnocchi of ricotta and spinach come surrounded with a rich sauce, and filet mignon arrives on a bed of roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, prosciutto, leeks, trumpet royale mushrooms and sherry cream sauce. Choose from 30 glasses and 60 bottles of wine to wash it all down. What’s more, there’s often live music (call for schedule) and legendary Royal Oak martini bar Goodnight Gracie is connected to the restaurant. On Nov. 25, expect an opening party for the latest artworks from Detroit artist SLAW.

Duly's Place 5458 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-554-3076: The little eatery with a big following of late-night souse-soppers draws on grizzled Detroiters as well as hungry hipsters, making for an interesting cultural tension. And when we say people rub elbows here, we mean it: The railroad-style diner has low seats before a long lunch counter, with a few tables tucked in the back. It's not just the ambience Duly's has going for it — with its timeless plastic-lettered marquee menu and a toilet hidden somewhere back in the kitchen — but the food is solid diner fare. Enjoy a late-night plate of scrambled eggs with jalapeño peppers and — if they like you — the staff may give you a free Dum-Dum sucker.

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.

Cass Cafe 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400: When we say this is a bar of gabbers, we aren't joshing. This year, it was voted by our readers as the Best Bar for Conversation. Whether you have a penchant for windjammers, a thirst for beer specials, a hankering for food or a fondness for art, this place has the makings of a good night any night. 

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.

Joseph's Coney Island 12500 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-824-4900: Here, night owls and arterially clogged foodies rub elbows with workers from the nearby DaimlerChrysler plant. Joseph's offerings include a marinated chicken pita and the "special omelet" — three eggs folded around three kinds of pig meat and two cheeses. After tax, many menu items land on quarter and dime price points — a real help for the drink-addled brain. The 24-hour joint keeps their drive-through open around the clock for those on the run, except on Sundays, when the place takes a day off.

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."

Lafayette Coney Island 118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-964-8198: Many late-night music lovers head here for tube steaks after leaving concert venues. And the waitstaff, presumably to better serve their temporarily deaf clientele, bellow food orders to the kitchen at maximum volume. Lafayette serves up only all-meat franks — not the filler-laden "hot dogs" on the menu at lesser eateries. FYI: The restrooms are, appropriately, located within the bowels of the establishment. We've heard tales that this 24-hour place is open in the daytime too.

Leo's Coney Island dozens of locations throughout metro Detroit; leosconeyisland.com; $: Chances are that if you're walking out of a bar in metro Detroit, there's a Leo's location within striking distance. Though they're all classics, the location on Main Street in downtown Royal Oak is the archetypal suburban coney island: bright, clean and filled with a fleet of cushy booths stocked with condiments. Expect the usual tasty lineup of coney dog classics, Greek specialties, melt sandwiches and breakfast plates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cooks crank out orders with military precision while the dinnerware clatters amid amicable chatter. A colleague tells us it's good for a greasy breakfast, "and you can still keep your flirting on because everyone's still drunk."

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."

Linda's Place 23107 Harper, St. Clair Shores; 586-778-2700: Mirroring your typical Coney experience, Linda's serves cheap diner food with large portions — the sandwiches and homemade soups top the list of staff recommendations. Right around the corner from Shore Crest Lanes, bowling aficionados use this diner for some post-alley R&R. So lace up your old-man shoes, grab a beer and a ball, and then, maybe, get a burger at Linda's.

Lions, Tigers and Beers 2929 Biddle Ave., Wyandotte; 734-282-1200; This Wyandotte sports club has surprisingly good food, gracious service, cold beer and a lively, good-looking crowd. On Nov. 25, DJ Drik will be taking requests, and drink specials include $2 domestic bottles 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Televised sports too, natch.

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.

The Majestic Theatre Complex 4120-4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700, ext. 203; The Majestic has become a popular Thanksgiving Eve haunt, and not just for its food choices, drinks and live entertainment. By dint of its location on Woodward Avenue near Warren, the complex's downstairs bars at the Garden Bowl and the Majestic Café are Ground Zero for watching parade workers set up the floats. We hear the crew gets to work around 11 p.m. If you need another excuse to visit this Nov. 25, there are two shows there: Eddie Baranek fronts the new Sights at the Magic Stick (doors 8 p.m.; $10; all-ages), and Sponge at the Majestic Theatre (doors at 8 p.m.; $12-$15; all ages). And, if you're only coming by the next morning for the parade, don't forget their breakfast buffet, which usually begins Thanksgiving morning at 7; $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and younger; first-come, first-served.

Mon Jin Lau 1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; 248-689-2332: The sophisticated, upscale Troy eatery is cultivating a reputation for midweek partying with its Shanghai Wednesdays. The promise? "Outstanding food, great drinks and sexy music." And since this Wednesday is the big night, reservations will be highly recommended. Nov. 25 will feature an event called "Decades," with music from the '70s, '80s and Motown.

National Coney Island 20 southeast Michigan locations, including Detroit, Roseville, Royal Oak and Clinton Twp.; nationalconeyisland.com; $: This Detroit-style hot dog shop has grown from a single Macomb Mall store to near ubiquity over the past 40 years. In addition to the regular coney fare, National serves up hand-dipped shakes and Sanders hot fudge sundaes. About half of the locations offer beer and wine, and a few even have liquor. Management at the Royal Oak location tells us that things really get jumping around 2 a.m. when the bar crowd comes in looking for some pre-sleep breakfast. Just beware the misnomers. The vegetarian tuna? It ain't.

The Old Miami 3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830: There's only one Old Miami. It's stuffed with so much Vietnam-era history that you'd think putting one more Ranger badge on the wall might send the structure tumbling down. The furnishings are equally 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. 

On the Rocks 28167 John R Rd., Madison Heights; 248-548-8023; Like a cozy basement bar, this "neighborhood place" will celebrate Turkey Eve with dinner specials (kitchen open until 1 a.m.) and live music from classic rock and country combo, the Dirty Dogs. 

Plaka 535 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-962-4687; $: After the clubbing, Plaka packs 'em in. Not only because melted cheese and gyros absorb the booze and fortify the digestion, but because Monroe may be the last street in downtown that teems with life at night, with chatty crowds, clean ashtrays, and waiters flicking their Bics and crying "Opa!" 

The Post Bar locations in Detroit, Novi, Auburn Hills and more; postbars.com; First established in 1978, the Post Bar empire has grown into a half-dozen of the Detroit area's best drinking bars. On Thanksgiving Eve, all locations will have $1 bottled beers and $1 sliders. The Novi location (with the insane glass-enclosed patio) will have live DJs, the Auburn Hills spot will have the Pistons-Cavs game, and the Detroit venue will, natch, celebrate the Wings-Thrashers match-up. At the location nearest you, you might even spot your old pals back in town for Thanksgiving. 

The Renshaw Lounge 210 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson; 248-616-3016:  A co-worker loves this recession-friendly joint, calling it "rowdy, smoky with awesome pizza." Aside from specializing in "made from scratch" pizza, the Renshaw also does television in a big way, with four 42-inch plasma screens and four 23-inch LCD TVs. Come early for happy hour, with half-price appetizers and drink specials from 3 to 6 p.m. Is there a better way to give thanks than by washing fried clams down with beer between strokes on the Golden Tee machine? We thought not. God bless America.

The Roostertail 100 Marquette St., Detroit; 313-822-1234: The legendary riverfront restaurant is planning what's billed as a "mega-party" for the third Thanksgiving Eve in a row. It's expected to be bigger than ever, with more than 2,000 people. The revelry will spill over into a massive, heated beer tent, and — for a price — a high-end VIP area. Musical guests will include Bump, Natives of the New Dawn and Thornapple River, as well as three DJs. Expect free shuttle service to and from Fishbone's in St. Clair Shores, Excalibur in Grosse Pointe and from the Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena. For tickets (starting at $22.50), call 1-888-882-1121.

St. Andrew's Hall 431 E. Congress St., Detroit; 313-961-MELT: Those with a taste for entertainment on the big night might consider Ty Stone's "Rockin' Thanksgiving Eve" with  Whitey Morgan & the 78s, Doop & the Inside Outlaws, the Deadstring Brothers and more.

Telway 6820 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-843-2146; $: This seven-seat burger joint is the dive of late-night diner-fare: Small and cramped, it has an attitudinal waitstaff and a smattering of gossipy regulars. Still, the food's consistently good, and occasionally great — though most people come for the burgers, the chicken sandwiches are the piece de resistance. To top it off, the fare is wonderfully inexpensive. For less than a dollar, the tipsy patron can dine well after they've wined.

Travis Restaurant 23500 Greater Mack, St. Clair Shores; 586-778-0101; $: This is a quirky corner diner in the heart of St. Clair Shores. Walk in at 3 a.m. to find the night owls of the Nautical Mile bar scene intermingled with the locals grabbing a late night snack. Open 24 hours every day, Travis has it all, whether you grab an item off their breakfast menu or bite into a greasy but tasty burger.

United Cafe 3641 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-993-7040: It's a drive-thru on Grand River that has a more massive menu than most restaurants! It's open 24 hours for impulse buys. Where else can you get a 21-piece shrimp dinner for $8.30 at 3 a.m.? 

Xochimilco 3409 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-843-0179; $$: On a normal evening, this popular Mexicantown eatery often has a dining crowd filling its three rooms downstairs, spilling over onto the second floor, drawn by its large portions and inexpensive menu. Because it closes at 2 a.m., it doesn't draw those who wander from the bar late, but it can be quite busy after midnight, depending on what's happening downtown. And thanks to Xochi's liquor license, your friends can keep on tippling while you enjoy a restorative burrito, enchilada or the "super nachos" with ground beef and diced veggies smothered in melted cheese and jalapeños. 

Ye Olde Tap Room 14915 Charlevoix St., Detroit; 313-824-1030: A beer lover's, barrel-aged dream, this east side hangout features hundreds of beers (285-plus?) from across the globe. A helluva place to hang, libate and hang loose with a great crowd.

See any inaccuracies in these listings? Let us know. Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail to mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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