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Some days, we feel sorry for other cities. Apparently, in most parts of the country, the baseball home opener is not a good enough reason to take the day off work and bar hop all afternoon. The entire tri-county population doesn’t huddle together downtown and root root root for the home team.
Around here, it’s a holiday. Not a spend-time-with-relatives-you-don’t-even-like holiday. It’s way more fun.
Whatever struggles Detroit may have, we at least have Opening Day.
Even if you’re not going to the game, you might be one of the thousands of fans descending up the downtown area to observe the Opening Day tradition. Whether you’re pre-gaming before you take your seat inside Comerica Park, or just want to watch the game someplace other than your couch, we’ve got you covered. Read on for Opening Day’s best parties and sports bars.
2482 Clifford St.
On a day when most bars are ramping up their door fees, Harry’s will have NO COVER all day. One of Detroit’s all-time greatest sports bars, nestled in the shadow of the new Red Wings/Pistons stadium just north of I-75, Harry’s has an especially festive atmosphere on Opening Day when revelers converge on their two floors of beer, burgers and baseball. Their doors open at 7 a.m. and 93.9 The River will be broadcasting live from the bar beginning at 10 a.m. If that’s not enough entertainment for you, they’ll also have live music by Painted White and DJ Just Nick.
Bookie’s is an easy choice for Opening Day. You can’t go wrong here. They’ll have three floors of debauchery and awesomeness, including a rooftop and a party tent adjacent to the building. Bookie’s has one of the biggest screens – a 16’ projection – to watch the game, so even when the place is packed to the gills you won’t miss any of the action. Expect to have the kind of fun that makes you call in sick for work the next day. Oh, wait, the next day is Saturday. This is going to be the best Opening Day ever.
100 W. Montcalm
Party inside and out of this Roaring ‘20s-inspired pub decked in ivy, wood and plenty of Tigers swag on Opening Day. They’re throwing a great big barbecue, with plenty of eats and a full bar. A big heated tent will help keep you warm on this unusually frosty April morning.
18 W. Adams St.
Rub Pub is teaming up with the Annex Detroit next door for an Opening Day block party stacked with a lineup of live music, giveaways and mouthwatering barbecue. They’ll have more than 20 flatscreen TVs and a dozen project screens, so no matter where you are, you’ll never miss a moment of the action. Doors open at 7 a.m.
440 Madison Ave.
Only the most hardcore fans can brave the chilly temps to prove they are true Tigers. Thankfully, the Madison Ave. Festival Grounds, just one block from Comerica Park, will have giant heated tents to give you a reprieve from the brisk air. Stop by starting at 9 a.m. for sports, beats and eats, including some of Detroit’s best DJs and live music. Need a ride to the game (or just to the parties)? The Home Opener Festival has 15 pickup locations across Metro Detroit.
2040 Park Ave.
Two floors, 48 beers, one spectacular party. The Park Bar is debuting its new Hawaiian street food concept, GoGo’s, on Opening Day with a limited preview of menu items to come. Plus, they’ll have live music all day and suds by Atwater, Shorts, Motor City Brewing and more. Doors open at 8 a.m.
419 Monroe St.
Baseball-related day drinking requires frequent food breaks. If you don’t stop for sustenance every once in awhile you’ll be sloppy and passed out by the first pitch. Firebird Tavern’s homemade pub fare is just what you need. We’re fans of their poutine, and they make a great diner burger. You’ll also find a solid selection of handcrafted cocktails and craft beer. Firebird will open at 8 a.m.
Downtown’s hottest new outdoor bar, the Skip, is debuting on the same day the Tigers take the field at Comerica Park. You can get a sneak preview, and join in on a crazy fun street party, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. tomorrow. Park your car in the Z lot and head to the alley in between Library and Broadway for all the DJs, cocktails and food you could hope for.
300 E. Adams St.
This classic bar-diner is so much a part of Detroit baseball that when they moved the stadium, the Elwood moved with it. They’re opening at 8 a.m. on Opening Day, and you’ll definitely want to get here early because the Elwood always gets packed with fans who come for the atmosphere and the burgers – they have some of the best in town.
1529 Broadway St.
If you’re not satisfied with crushing cans of light beer at a tent party on Opening Day, head over to DBC. They have an award-winning selection of ales and lagers, all made in their custom brewhouse on site. Stop in and try their Baseball Beer or the new Peach Pit Wit. DBC is just a hop, skip and a jump from Comerica Park so it’s makes a great place to stop by on your way to the game. They also have plenty of flat screens and two floors of seating if you want to order a pizza and watch the action from here. Doors open at 8 a.m.
47 E. Adams St.
Get here early if you want to party right in the Tiger’s front yard. Cheli’s offers two floors of indoor seating, a rooftop and outdoor party area on the ground level, facing Comerica Park. The party outside is stocked with everything you need to have a rockin’ good time: food trucks, cocktail tents, drink trailers, even a TV truck. The fun starts at 7 a.m. and cover is free until they start to get busy. Expect to pay up to $20 at the door.
612 Woodward Ave.
New Holland Brewing is taking over the Grand Trunk taps for Opening Day. They’ll be pouring cold mugs of Paleooza Pale Ale, Monkey King Saison, Poet Oatmeal Stout, Full Circle Kolsch and White Hatter, just to name a few. If you need to refuel, GT offers a delicious lineup of sandwiches and bar bites. The Mabel Clark – a beautiful mess of corned beef, Swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing on an onion-poppyseed roll – Is our personal fave, but there are plenty of other scarfable bites to satisfy your appetite. And don’t forget about their Opening Day craft beer-inspired cocktail menu. Doors open at 9 a.m.
Where will you be partying on Opening Day? Let us know in the comments!