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Lifestyle

Readers' Picks - Spend the Night

Going out in style for music, drama, dancing and hooch

Photo by: Ryan Keberly
Buzz Bar
Photo by: Tera Holcombe
Luna
SEE ALSO
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Our readers sound off on what's in MT

 

Published 10/17/2007

Best New Nightspot
Best Bar for the Under-30s
Bar for the Over-30s
Best Place to Pick Up a Guy
Best Place to Pick Up a Girl
Best Bar to Pick Up Both or Other
Best MultiCulti Nightspot
Best Club to Hear Blues
Best Bartender
Buzz Bar

546 E. Larned St., Detroit; 313-962-1800
Buzz beer is manna from heaven. Buzz beats can be transcendent. Nymphs flock to this bi-level bar and you can't turn a corner without bumping into a well-hung Adonis. The Buzz is equal parts hole-in-wall, Detroit music venue and chi-chi nightspot. How'd they do that? Maybe that's why it won 10 — count 'em, 10 — Reader's Pick categories. Oh, and you picked Buzz as "Best Bartender." Go Buzz.

 

Best Energy drink
Red Bull

www.redbull.com
Slam a can of clubdom's favorite diuretic and set your glowsticks on standby, because the headliner's not even left his parents' house. It's either that or sticking your head in the monitors, and let's face it, nobody does that.

 

Best Liquor
Grey Goose Vodka

The Goose will get you loose.

 

Best Horny Nightclub Crowd
Boogie Nights

22901 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-541-1600
Where the life-begins-at-30 set bumps and grinds with twentysomething cultural tourists and true fans of post-soul and R&B radio fodder. White pants and black thong optional, but encouraged. Yippee!

 

Best Dive Bar
Gusoline Alley

309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235
Killer juke? Check. Old World, old-man bar milieu? Check. Can you tie on a good drunk with little dough? Check. Fallen women, regulars, hot chicks and trend-apparent dudes with perfected coifs? Check.

 

Best Live-Music Venue
Best Club to Hear Rock
Best All-Ages Music Venue
Best Place to Dress Like a Groupie
Best Scenester Bar
The Magic Stick

4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700
You'd think those goshdarn hipsters have telekinesis — if you're not wearing Converse or cords, you'll be glared out of the premises. At least you'll have a quality, indie-licious exit soundtrack. In truth, the Stick is ensconced in Detroit, part of its heartbeat. In fact, the venue embraced gracefully the rise and fall of garage, all while offering killer touring shows and creative local bills. Also, the stage, sight lines and sound are first rate.

 

Best Bar for Conversation
Cass Cafe

4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400
Whether it's some unpublished poet trying to cadge drinks off you or some crusty old-timer complaining about police response times, Cass Cafe brings out unrepentant and fascinating gabbers.

 

Best Dive Strip Club
The Booby Trap

141 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-366-9030
The readers nailed this one. And what about that glorious wording outside the joint that reads: "Like Cheers, but topless." Yeah. It's true, some women must sometimes climb mountains of psychological torment to dance, um, exotically. Others happen to really dig it. Recent observations here suggest the latter. We too love this place.

 

Best Irish Pub
Conor O'Neill's

318 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-665-2968
School the sidewalk on trivia nights, downing dark ruby draughts and Dublin brie. Ge' your Gaelic on with the Car Bombs and traddy Irish Sessions.

 

Best Bowling Alley
The Garden Bowl at the Magic Stick

4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700
A lane where bowling shoes actually enhance the outfit, and everyone's too drunk to notice you bowled a 12!

 

Best Casino
Best Casino Slots
Greektown Casino

555 E. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 888-741-4FUN
Folks of the purple-haired variety bus in and brave the dangers of downtown Detroit. That is, the raining concrete, the traffic jams and the gas leaks from all that bloody construction. Guess the nickel slots really are to die for, eh?

 

Best Exotic Drinks
Bahama Breeze

593 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-528-1674
19600 Haggerty Rd., Livonia, 734-542-0891

Serving the usual exotics: mojitos, margaritas, Bahama Mamas. But shirts and shoes stay firmly in place — though the drinks might be the same cloying concoctions from spring break days, we're still in the Heartland.

 

Best Suburban Dance Club
Best Sexy Wait Staff
Best Club Night
Luna

1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-589-3344
A night of free-flowing libation and mind-fuck industrial and you'll spend this week's paycheck tipping the eyebrow-pierced eye candy. At least the drinks themselves are cheap — midweek specials set you back a buck or two. Check out '80s Night on Thursdays — according to our spandex-and-sweatband-wearing readers, it's the best!

 

Best Place for Darts
Best Pool Hall
Snooker's Pool and Pub

Various Metro Detroit Locations, snookerspool.com
Yow. It's billiards gone high-tech (somewhat) in a clean atmo that's nearly as welcoming as grandma's living room. But hold on, Fast Eddie, we've never known granny to offer this much beer and pizza, plus and a winning dart setup too. Her refrigerator and rec room just ain't that big.

 

Best Upscale Strip Club
Best Happy Hour
The Toy Chest

18728 Ford Rd., Detroit; 313-593-1645
The limousine and champagne services elevate the place from mere titty bar to gentleman's club — that, and the Penthouse-perfect performers.

 

Best Lesbian Bar
TIE: Stiletto's

1640 Middlebelt Rd., Inkster; 734-729-8980
Rainbow Room
6640 E. Eight Mile, Detroit; 313-891-1020
There's a tie between Stiletto's and the Rainbow Room. While the former is girls-only, the latter — a drag joint — welcomes girls, boys and the queer spectrum between.

 

Best Beer Selection in a Bar
The Berkley Front

3087 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-547-3331
The best beer selection might be true; the list of Euro imports, micro brews and tap beers is always impressive. Too bad we can never remember them when we stumble out the door.

 

Best Nonsmoking Spot
Windsor

It's a year and a half into the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and Windsor's fresher inside than out. The bingo parlors might be taking a hit, but you won't be. So cross the bridge, flash that organ donor card, and light up the town the old-fashioned way.

 

Best Nondrinking Spot
Starbucks

Various locations; starbucks.com
When ATF adds a "C" for caffeine, Starbucks will be the reason why. Bag a 'buck and stay awake all day or night.

 

Best Place to Buy a 40 oz.
7-Eleven

It's premium frothy glory — 40 ounces worth — from Mickey's sea-green oblivion to King Cobra's gilded blotto. And it ain't about the ghetto, it's about the get-up-and-go.

 

Best Wine Selection in a Bar
Vinotecca

417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6257
The delish wine list, the stainless-steel-and-slate decor, that it's in Royal Oak, proves Vinotecca a lucrative yuppie nesting ground. Keep eyes peeled for nasal tittering and discussions on tannins, and you'll be privy to mating habits of the prematurely wealthy. Yikes.

 

Best Gay Bar
The Aut Bar

315 Braun Ct., Ann Arbor; 734-994-3677
This ain't the joint for bathroom stall indiscretions; the cozy Ann Arbor restaurant and bar is a better place to, like, meet his parents.

 

Best After-Hours Spot
TIE: Finite Gallery

1370 Plum St., Detroit; 313-727-1201
The Works Detroit
1846 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-1742
Head down to Corktown when it's 2 a.m. and you haven't snagged a hook-up yet. If you head to, say, Finite first and no one tickles your fancy, it's just a hop, skip and a stumble away to the slam fest that is the Works Detroit.

 

Best Oldies-Heavy Jukebox
Honest Johns

488 Selden St., Detroit; 313-832-5646

Best Contemporary Jukebox
Gusoline Alley
308 S. Center St., Royal Oak, 248-545-2235
OK, so you're probably gonna hear the Police or Sade at Honest Johns, and like the Buzzcocks and the Clash at Gusoline, but both jukes are stocked with the stuff that was cool decades ago. Meet the new boss ...

 

Best Electronic Club
TIE: The Works Detroit

1846 Michigan, Detroit; 313-961-1742
The Buzz Bar
546 E Larned, Detroit; 313-962-1800
Whether you're gay, straight, polysexual, transsexual or asexual, the Works Detroit is sweet. Choice celeb DJs ram the din deep into your chest all through the after-hours sets on weekends. The Buzz Bar? Well, they've won enough categories.

 

Best City Dance Club
The Leland City Club

400 Bagley St., Detroit; 313-962-2300
Year in, year out, this venerable subterranean venue draws clubbers who are into exorcising their "pop" demons, ready to explore, perhaps, something, um, darker. Nevermind the posers. The place sees Exotica Balls that seek to celebrate sexuality and industrial slams that pedestalize, say, Nine Inch Nails. For cred, Derrick May has spun here and Rob Zombie has hung here. As one MT scribe once wrote, "it's more than just a fad-du-jour for the misanthropic mall-cultured set ... it's a living piece of local history."

 

Best Casino Craps
MGM Grand Detroit

1300 John C. Lodge Expressway, Detroit; 313-393-7777
If you're into monster rolls that can last for what feels like ages or into "shooting" the dice, you can roll away your chances in MGM's killer Craps Pit. Its craps side bet "Golden Dice Challenge," we understand, offers a rather low house edge. Nice.

 

Best Casino For High-Stakes Poker
Motor City Casino Hotel

2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit; 1-877-777-0711
Inside the old Wonder Bread bakery building, this casino's gaming floor hums and chirps with both the ache of loss and thrill of victory. A far cry from the workers of yore, sure, but it still sounds like it could be inside any Mitten State casino right? Maybe, but what's best here is the attitude at the poker tables ... We've noticed people actually having, quite outwardly, a swell time. A poker face is one thing, but a healthy grin says much about one's own flow of pocket change, no?

 

Best Happy Hour for Food Spread
Applebee's

Various locations, applebees.com
Happy Hour at Applebee's is becoming a virtual MySpace place. Truly. Hence, there's no need to cower behind ersatz postings about yourself; social intercourse is good.

 

Best Place to Get a Martini
Goodnight Gracie's Jazz and Martini Bar

Various locations; goodnitegracie.com
The martinis here are something. In fact, all the mixed drinks here do more than the trick. There are cigars too. Jazz and DJs spinning lounge-y groove. Lots of moneyed suburbanites and hipsters too.

 

Best Hip-Hop Club
St. Andrew's Hall

431 E. Congress St., Detroit, 313-961-6923
A longtime host of numerous music genres is, according to our dear readers, the best place to hear hip hop. That and, y'know, Mandy Moore.

 

Best Bar on the Waterfront
Jack's Waterfront Restaurant

24214 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-445-8080
There are three bar areas (a tiki one, even!) and stunning views of Lake St. Clair that can either be uplifting or melancholy — just add cocktails to magnify. Plus, there's room to dock your boat, should you float in on the lake.

 

Best Comedy Club
Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle

269 E. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-542-9900
A night full o' laughs, guaranteed. That is, unless someone dumped you and stabbed your puppy and you were planning on sticking your head in the oven but instead were dragged out by a well-meaning friend who just didn't get that you want to be alone. Then, yeah, you might not laugh. But if that's not the case, the touring comedians tend to be upper-echelon funny. Make sure you tame that guffaw, though: It takes a few days to get rid of the scent of Captain and Coke once it's been snorted up your nose.

 

Best Club to Hear Local Acoustic Artists
The Ark

316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1451
It's crazy hardcore over there: You got people swaying, humming, even clapping once in a while? Shiet. A rollickin' good time, the Ark keeps those crazy acoustic music lovers afloat.

 

Best Local Beer
Bell's

Widely available at local establishments.
If they don't still have K-Zoo's best summer seasonals on tap, you know you're in the wrong place. Before October's up, make the transition with the single batch release of Hell Hath No Fury Ale, and give your pretzels a little tipple of Bell's Beer Barrel Mustard.

 

Best Beer Selection in a Store
Best Wine Selection Store
Merchants Fine Wine

22250 Michigan Ave., Dearborn; 313-563-8700
They have lots of beer. They have lots of wine. What more do you want?

 

Best Wine
Chateau Grand Traverse Riesling

cgtwines.com
The wine is described as "crisp, fruity and fresh" and is best served with seafood and shellfish. Fancy, fancy readers!

 

Best Beer
Guinness

guinness.com
When Detroiters get shellacked, they like it dark and dry, and coming through a tap with those little holes in the plate. Cut the bitter with a black and tan, or quit your milquetoasting and take it whole hog.

 

Best Jazz Club
Baker's Keyboard Lounge

20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300
Go tour the famed jazz clubs of the world and you'll find all manner of phone booths and caverns, palaces and dives. But tell us when you find another vintage club like this one: cozy and classy, with good food and (on the vast majority of nights) no cover. And while you're listening to great Detroit jazz tonight, you can think of all the club's yesterdays, starring jazz greats from Art Tatum to John Coltrane.

 

Best place to dress like a star
Seldom Blues

400 Renaissance Center, Detroit; 313-567-8734
Restaurateur Frank Taylor, smooth jazz mini-conglomerate Alexander Zonjic, exec concept chef Jerry Nottage and ex-Lion Robert Porcher III — the owners of this elegant and decidedly upscale riverfront spot with a view — seem determined to have some star power trickle down on diners. Star, in this case, translates to hip and elegant, not showy or ostentatious. When Common did a showcase performance there last month it seemed like just the right fit. If it'd been Fifty Cent, we would have been shaking our heads

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