Sports Bars

441. Old Detroit Burger Bar – October 25, 2019 – Troy, MI

October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar1 (3)October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar2 (3)I love a big, juicy burger any day of the week, but especially on Fridays. Because burgers scream “TGIF!” to me!

Old Detroit Burger Bar is serving up the big, juicy burger goodness any day of the week, not solely Fridays. But my recent visit to the local restaurant chain’s Troy location did fall on a Friday – and I was vibing hard on its TGIF-infused aura.

The restaurant’s interior is sleek sports bar with a comfy feel: lots of browns and grays and glossy wood, accented with neon-blue fluorescent lighting. A bar with wraparound seating dominates one section; flat-screen TVs abound and are tuned in to the sport matches du jour.

Old Detroit Burger Bar’s food menu showcases much more than its namesake item: it’s got appetizers, entrée salads, sandwiches, and dishes such as Homemade Lasagna Dinner and The Lake St. Clair (fish and chips, naturally). It even serves its rendition of a Coney dog and a loose Coney burger. But my eyes were zeroed in on its burger section because: see Paragraph 1.

Names of Old Detroit Burger Bar hamburgers have a local slant to them. There’s The Ambassador, The Michigan Ave., the I-75. That last burger, by the way, is a two-pounder loaded with grilled onions, jalapeños, and American, Swiss, AND cheddar cheeses, served with Thousand Island dressing. According to Old Detroit Burger Bar’s website, if you finish one of those behemoths, you can get your picture added to a wall of fame devoted to I-75 slayers.

And there’s the burger I decided to order, The Vernor. The half-pound hamburger is bringing Southwest Detroit-inspired flair with its jalapeños, green peppers, guacamole, American and cheddar cheeses, and sour cream served on the side. I opted for tater tots to accompany mine.

My table’s food came out quickly, and I used the steak knife stabbed into my Vernor burger to cut its hefty form in half. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: juicy, beefy, cheesy, spicy, guac-laden deliciousness! The tater tots were tantalizingly crispy, greasy nuggets of spud.

My Vernor burger was so big that I was easily able to save a chunk of it to take home – though it was so tasty that I did ponder devouring the whole thing then and there (maybe if there was a wall of fame involved, I would have!).

3946 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With additional locations in Lapeer, Lake Orion, and Clawson)

379. Brass Rail Pizza Bar – December 9, 2018 – Detroit, MI

December2018BrassRailPizzaBar1 (2)December2018BrassRailPizzaBar2 (3)December2018BrassRailPizzaBar3 (2)Pizza for brunch? YES, please!

On a exuberantly blue-skied Sunday morning in early December, I met friends over drinks and that cheese-bedecked Italian pie at Brass Rail Pizza Bar in downtown Detroit.

The restaurant has a welcoming, decidedly sports-bar-esque vibe with its expansive interior and industrial-chic decor. On that weekend morning, it also had a Bloody Mary bar.

I’m not one for the Bloody Marys (I love tomatoes, but I just can’t get into drinking tomato juice – even when it’s laced with booze), but my friends were down and proceeded to construct some EPIC Bloody Marys, complete with onion rings and skewers laden heavy with various cured meats and cheeses. They nabbed me an onion ring battered with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which was awesomeness!

I ordered a Spanish coffee and the small size of the Chip off the Ole Block pizza. It was delicious with its bacon, arugula, onion, and lemon zest nestled on a bed of red sauce and melted cheese and drizzled with balsamic glaze. It was also significantly larger than I’d expected, an excellent value for $11. I took over half of it home.

What an ideal spot for brunch (or lunch, or dinner) this Brass Rail Pizza Bar is! Not only is the pizza delicious and the drink selection on point (there’s a full bar, including a plethora of Michigan craft beers on draft, in addition to the weekend Bloody Mary set-up), there’s also food offerings in addition to the namesake pie: a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and comfort-centric entrées such as Fish and Chips, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Chicken Parmesan.

Additionally, vegan cheese and gluten-free crust are options available when ordering pizza, as is a gluten-free bun for burgers and sandwiches. Yay to inclusive ingredient options!

Brass Rail Pizza Bar, you had me at Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-battered onion ring. I would love if you hosted me for brunch again soon!

18 W. Adams Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

369. Basement Burger Bar – October 7, 2018 – Detroit, MI

October2018BasementBurgerBar1 (2)October2018BasementBurgerBar4 (2)What do mac ‘n’ cheese bites, dried cranberries, peanut butter, and grilled pineapple have in common? They’re all burger toppings available at Basement Burger Bar in Detroit.

Recent celebrations of my birthday included a Sunday lunch with friends at the downtown-based location of the local restaurant chain. I’d wanted to dine at a place known for its great food and casual, pub-like atmosphere; Basement Burger Bar checked those boxes.

The interior of the Detroit location of Basement Burger Bar is certainly glossier than your typical basement. I’d call it industrial-chic-meets-laid-back-sports-bar. There are plenty of flat-screen TVs situated about so you can focus on the day’s sport offerings; the Lions played (and won!) while we were there, and the raucous cheering of football fans adjacent to us enhanced my enjoyment of the meal (their energy was infectious!).

The drink menu included plenty of Michigan-made craft beer offerings (including the Founders Rubaeus raspberry ale I enjoyed) as well as signature cocktails and a selection of wine. My main focus, however, was the food menu, which included loads of appetizers, entrée salads, and a few featured burgers. But the pièce de résistance dominating that menu was the build-your-own-burger section.

This custom-burger menu is the most extensive I have seen to date! Seven steps are involved in the crafting of your dream hamburger:

-Step 1: pick a patty. Basement Burger Bar is getting creative here, with more than just your standard ground-beef patty as an option. You can also choose from bison, American Kobe beef, poultry (turkey burger, grilled chicken breast, and breaded chicken tenders), pulled pork, and vegetarian options (falafel, black-bean patty, and portabella mushroom cap, respectively).

-Step 2: denote a burger cooking temperature, from rare to well.

-Step 3: select your bun. Brioche, nine-grain, pretzel, and gluten-free varieties are available (the latter two going for an extra charge), and you can choose to go no-bun (the menu says you’ll receive “extra veggies” with your burger if you do so).

-Step 4: opt for a sauce. One is free; each additional sauce costs 25 cents each. Most of the sauces (or “spreads,” as they’re referred to on the menu) are noted as homemade, including the hummus, basil pesto, and buttermilk ranch.

-Step 5: gather your toppings. The first five are free; each additional topping thereafter is 25 cents. Most of the toppings listed here are pretty standard – tomato, pickles, red onion, relish, for instance – but some, such as the carrot strings and aforementioned cranberries, caught my eye. A sub-category of this section is the premium toppings, which are each an additional designated charge. These are the truly delectable toppings: your homemade guacamole, hickory-smoked bacon, grilled pepperoni, Detroit-style chili, mozzarella sticks, Frickles (which I can only assume are fried pickles) . . ..

-Step 6: choose your cheese. No vegan cheese here; this is all straight-up dairy, from Gouda to feta, nacho cheese to Swiss.

-Step 7: designate your sides. Sides are an additional cost, but how can you resist the siren song of beer-battered fries, onion rings, and my personal favorite, tater tots? Side-salad and coleslaw are included in this section in case you are feeling virtuous – as are toppers of nacho cheese, chili, and what’s designated as “The Works” (sour cream, bacon, and onion) in case you are not (chili-cheese tots would be LIFE, wouldn’t they?).

With all of the decision-making involved in this burger design, it would’ve been easy to get overwhelmed as I filled out my menu card. But I decided to keep it relatively simple, not going overboard with the toppings. The result did not disappoint me.

Imagine a hefty ground-beef burger cooked to a juicy medium perfection and nestled within a pillowy brioche bun along with thick-cut red onion, juicy tomato, crunchy pickles, creamy guacamole, spicy ketchup, and jalapeño jack cheese, accompanied by irresistibly crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside tater tots. YUM, YUM, and more YUM: this burger was INCREDIBLE!

So while I didn’t opt for the zany factor while designing my burger at Basement Burger Bar – no peanut butter, carrot strings, or Frickles for me – I found its rendition of a pretty-much-classic cheeseburger (jazzed up with that spicy ketchup and guacamole) ideal as it was, and I enjoyed the heck out of it – as I did the relaxed ambiance and prompt service. This one is a keeper!

1326 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48226

(With additional locations in Canton and Farmington)

233. Eagles Bar and Grill – February 20, 2017 – Chesterfield, MI

20170220_193247-220170220_180638-2Chesterfield represented on the blog! It’s another new-to-the-blog city, via a recent visit to Eagles Bar and Grill.

I love a solid sports bar, and The Eagles checks off all of my requirements on that front. Extensive menu of affordable drinks and grub? Comfortable ambiance? Ample TVs? Check, check, and check. They’ve even got select draft beer 22-ounce pours for only $2 every day. Score!

I wasn’t familiar with the area around the bar and was surprised to see that it was located within a retail area called the Waterside Marketplace. If you’re not familiar with this neck of the woods either, hang with your GPS, and you’ll be through the winding labyrinth of big-box stores and strip malls and on to burgers and brews before you know it!

50640 Waterside Dr.

Chesterfield, MI 48051

202. Hamlin Corner – October 23, 2016 – Royal Oak, MI

20161023_12531420161023_134905Hey guys! I hope you are having a fantastic week and finding yourself time to get out there and explore.

I had some shenanigans in Royal Oak this past weekend. I was down there Sunday for the third time in about a week and a half – this time at restaurant/bar Hamlin Corner, partaking in a special event put on by CycleBar Royal Oak. It was a Lions afternoon viewing party/brunch – preceded by a half-hour spin bike class that was conducted outside, on the sidewalk outside of the bar.

Have you guys ever taken a spin class? This was my first one, and I must admit, it was harder than I expected. Damn, my legs burned!

Note to self: don’t go to spin class already sore from the prior day’s workout.

Despite the challenging (and losing) battle of trying to spike my RPM (Rotations per Minute, according to my spin-savvy companions), it was a fun and novel experience. The music was bumping, the CycleBar instructors were lively, and bemused passersby were entertained, so that helped to distract me from the burn of the bike. And even though it was grueling for me, I expect that it wasn’t the most difficult of spin classes. Once I was done, I forgot all of my pain and was like, “Yeah, I’d do this again!” And I never felt any more sore in my legs than I already was – no hobbling down stairs gripping the guardrails for days like I am after some hardcore workout classes.

And after the workout, there was the buffet (including BACON – sweet, sweet reward! – and fruit and scrambled eggs and cubed hash browns and toast). We sat and brunched and watched the Lions game. Then we helped the CycleBar instructors wheel their exercise bikes back to their studio across and a little ways down Main Street, which was hilarious. I can now lie on my deathbed some day when I am super old and breath a sigh of relief that yes, I have really lived: I have pushed a stationary bike on wheels across a major road amongst a string of other people pushing other stationary bikes on wheels. 😛

I’m not sure how often CycleBar Royal Oak hosts such events at Hamlin Corner. You can check out its class schedule at this link to see if any such events are currently scheduled:

Spin workout aside, Hamlin Corner appears to be a pretty solid venue. It’s got a relaxed yet classy vibe; it feels like the perfect venue to chill, grab some food, and watch a big game with a group of friends. There are plenty of TV screens studded around its sleek interior and various seating options, including a long bar rail and tables that can accommodate larger parties. And it’s obviously open to hosting unique events!

386 N. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

182. 24 Seconds Bar & Grill – July 29, 2016 – Berkley, MI

Hola!!! Happy Tuesday, all. I hope you are surviving the work week nicely. Perhaps you are feeling like I was just a few moments ago – a little harried, frazzled, craving an adult beverage and a time out – until I launched into the soothing practice of writing, that is. Something about the process of crafting a well-constructed sentence calms me down. Plus, I love this blog. Recounting my travels around the D makes me so frickin’ happy!

And visiting downtown Berkley makes me happy, too. Have you been down there lately? The Friday night before last, I unexpectedly got the night off from my second job (which I’ve since quit – woo-hoo! More free time!), so I jaunted down to Berkley with one of my BFFs.

We hit the patio of Amici’s first, shortly after a major rain shower had soaked the fabric-covered deck chairs. Within seconds of being seated, our butts were also soaked. We improvised, having the restaurant staff bring us paper plates and napkins to sit on, which helped tremendously. Before we knew it, several other groups of diners that were seated outside after us were following our lead, planting their tushes on disposable dinnerware. Ridiculous – but fun! And yummm to Amici’s bacon-and-sausage pizza and the EXCELLENT Spanish coffee the bar made me.

After our foray onto the rain-soaked but absolutely lovely patio of that venerable pie establishment, we headed over to 24 Seconds, a nearby sports bar with a roof-top patio (check it out in the photos above!). Why would I NOT want to sit on a roof-top patio on a lovely Friday evening sipping a vodka and soda, conversing with a dear friend, and keeping tabs on the Tigers from one of the flat-screens nearby? That’s one top-notch Friday night for me, people.

I didn’t eat any food at 24 Seconds, but the menu looks like the typical bar fare: pizza, sandwiches, plenty of fried appetizers – even a few entree salads thrown in for good measure.

3071 12 Mile Rd.

Berkley, MI 48072

177. Center Street Grille – June 12, 2016 – Northville, MI

20160612_14131720160612_140654Happy Fourth, all! For those of you in the U.S., whether you’re kicking it in the backyard or out on the road exploring, I hope you’re having a relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend. Me, I’ve stayed pretty close to home. I’ll be attending my third barbeque in a row tonight, this one at my dad’s house.

I’m soooo appreciating having three days off in a row to recharge and enjoy this excellent weather we’ve been having! Still, I am itching to explore. Next week, there will be some of that on the docket, for sure. I’ve been so busy working two jobs lately that I haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like. Wah wah. But several weekends ago, I did trek out to Northville to meet some friends.

If you haven’t been to downtown Northville yet, please go! It’s the perfect summer weekend destination, a delightful little city center filled with interesting, explore-worthy establishments. There’s artsy shops and a juice bar and Next Chapter Bookstore, the rare indie book peddler. And of course, restaurants. This time we ate at Center Street Grille, a sleek new sports bar.

I appreciate a good sports bar. Sure, I enjoy dining at fancy restaurants, but I realized recently that I prefer eating at a solid watering hole to a snooty-snooty, here’s-your-dollop-of-artfully-arranged-food-you’ll-pay-$40-for-and-leave-hungry type of place. Belies my blue-collar roots, I guess. At Center Street, I had the Mediterranean sandwich, a delicious chicken wrap studded with flavorful feta and smothered in hummus. My friends’ meals included the goat cheese appetizer and pizza; they enjoyed both. The service was attentive, the ambiance polished, subdued, down-to-earth.

135 North Center St.
Northville, MI 48167

138. Art and Jake’s – September 12, 2015 – Shelby Township, MI

Art and Jake's

Art and Jake’s! So many of my coworkers from my last restaurant job used to frequent and talk about this bar – I think they were going to the Shelby Township, Mound Road location rather than the Washington Township one. Then a location opened up in the last year on 23 Mile Road in Shelby Township. One of my good friends from my former server gig works there, and I got to see her there yesterday.

This bar is great! I was really impressed with the inside – it’s a large, spacious, gorgeous sports bar. There’s a patio that’s enclosed by glass doors and containing seating areas with gas-lit flames coming out of the tabletops(!), making the patio area suitable seating even in cold-weather months. And the food is awesome! I had the Rocky Mountain burger, which is decked with bacon, Gouda cheese, spicy aioli, and breaded, fried jalepeños (amazing)! The menu is extensive and features specialty pizzas and burgers; sandwiches and wraps; wings and bar appetizers; signature entree salads; steaks and ribs; and even traditional Macedonian and Serbian dishes.

14741 23 Mile Rd.

Shelby Township, MI 48315

Locations also on Mound Road in Shelby Township and in Washington Township.

25. Ciccarelli’s – May 29, 2014 – Shelby Township, MI


Here is another place that I live really close to that I had never been to.

Actually, I was here when it was still Club 22 – and I have to say, I like this sports bar reincarnation much, much better.

There are a lot of huge TVs in this joint, as there should be. Great for watching Wings games (start of preseason only two months from the date I’m writing this post!) or any other big match-ups.

46793 Hayes Rd. Shelby Twp., MI 48315
 Shelby Twp., MI 48315

(Also locations in Auburn Hills and Detroit)