Beers and Gears Detroit Bar Tour

Chilaxing at Coogan's Bar in Southwest DetroitSordid tales from last year’s ride and amazingly warm November weather led to a huge turnout for the Beers and Gears Detroit bar tour on Saturday.

Sixty-degree weather, thirty-eight riders, and six bars.

The first stop was the Lockerroom Lounge on Livernois near Curtis (6.5 mile.) Cleo was working behind the bar and was awesome. I’d already mentioned the music history behind this bar, including it being Bettye Lavette’s stomping grounds. As it turns out, her cousin was bellied up to the “dirty end” of the bar.

Bar number two was Abick’s in Southwest Detroit.  Without even a sign out front, many asked me how I’d ever found this place. The answer is this Neil Rubin article in the Detroit News. This bar was built in 1907. The proprietor is 86 year old Manya Abick who woke up early that morning to make chili for us. Abick’s certainly seemed to be the crowd favorite. It’s the perfect neighborhood pub.

After taking a photo with Manya behind the bar, one of our riders stepped on her cat, who let out a huge screetch.  Lila Lazarus, who was knitting at the bar, blurted out, “Had a great time until we killed the cat.”

Don’t worry. The cat was fine.

Next up was the nearby “Red’s” Coogan’s Bar which also had a Mexicana Cantina sign over the door.  A bar can’t have enough names. Gilbert served up some cold ones while some in the group went next door to El Rancho for margaritas.  Birkett played some Kid Rock on the jukebox, we finished our beers, rang the cow bell and head towards downtown.

Before the next bar, we rolled past the RiverWalk and then up the Dequindre Cut, a first for many on the ride.

Stop number four was Joey’s Meatcutters Inn or Cutter’s for short. They reportedly have the best angus burgers in town but I’m the wrong guy to vouch for that. The beers were distributed via ice buckets as some old-school Curtis Mayfield played in the background.

Next up was a beverage break at Hamtramck’s Whiskey in the Jar, formerly known as Mr. Joe’s back in the day. This was a quick stop as the sign was getting low on the horizon and not all of our group had lights.

We rode west on Caniff into a beautiful sunset.

The last official Detroit bar was the Dakota Rathskeller Inn on John R and… Dakota! This German bar is simply amazing. Again, with the daylight fading, we unfortunately couldn’t stay for long.

Heading up Woodward, our group split. A contingent went to the Stonehouse bar on Ralston near the State Fair. This was the final bar stop in last year’s tour.

We eneded up D’Amatos in Royal Oak. It’s ironic and frustrating that Royal Oak perhaps has more than it’s share of bars yet perhaps only one (Gus’) would be worthy of a stop on our beer tours. They lack the character, history, uniqueness, and grit of what we’d visited this year.

Yes, my bike tour photos are on this web site .  Andy Correll also posted some on Flickr as has Marielle Deighan.



Detroit Beers of the World Bike Tour

img_1647This was an ideal hatched between Joe D. and I.  Joe suggested an end-of-the-year Detroit bar bike tour.  I suggested we visit ethnic bars and make the tagline, “Saluting Detroit’s Immigrants one beer at a time!”

The ride was the day after Thanksgiving and started from Downtown Royal Oak.  We figured we’d start with a long leg before hitting a bar just to make sure we could pull it off.

It was too long of a leg for some, so we made a quick stop at Honest John’s for a Stoh’s and some food.

Next we swung by a local urban farm to visit the goats and roosters before hitting our second bar, Nancy Whiskey’s.  Yeah Irish!

Back on the bikes, we rode by the half-gutted Tiger Stadium where I got a quick flat.

Heading into Downtown, we made quick beer stops at Jacobies (Yeah Germans!) and Golden Fleece (Yeah Greeks!). It was at the Fleece where we picked up a Toronto bike tourist just in town to document the Detroit Critical Mass (and be disappointed.)

Making the turn, we headed north to Hamtramck and the Polish Village Cafe.  (Yeah Poles!)

We were running out of daylight but not motivation, so we made another stop at the Stonehouse Bar (Yeah Biker Gangs!) before heading back to Royal Oak.

But the ride back to Royal Oak was quite eventful.  Ask me in person if you want to hear the rest of the story.

Photos from the bike tour are on-line.


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