South Loop Club – Chicago

7 09 2009
  • 1 E. Balbo Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60605
  • (312) 427-2787
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The South Loop Club on East Balbo Avenue in Chicago

The South Loop Club on East Balbo Avenue in Chicago

After we left US Cellular Field, our plan was to go out for pizza.  That was the plan, anyway.  The game went pretty quick, so we stayed in the parking lot drinking until a guy in a golf cart came around and kicked us out.  We made our way to the pizza joint and found out there was a two hour wait, so we put our name on the list and went looking for a bar. 

The first bar we came to was the South Loop Club on the corner of State Street and Balbo Avenue.  It doesn’t look like much from the outside and since we’re a bunch of country boys, a bar that doesn’t look like much is exactly what we were looking for. 

The South Loop Club is a typical dive bar only it’s in downtown Chicago.  We had been drinking quite a bit and half the guys had to find a bathroom.  On our way in, we saw a sign that said “No Public Restrooms,” so we turned around and left.  One of the guys went back in to see if that meant there were no public restrooms at all or there were no public restrooms for non-patrons.  Turned out to be the latter, so we went back in and found a table. Read the rest of this entry »





Dam Site Inn

29 08 2009
  • 4095 Patterson Lake Road
  • Pinckney, MI 48169
  • (734) 878-9300
  • Website (not working)
  • No Online Menu
The Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

The Dam Site Inn in Hell, MI

I made a lot of people happy today.  I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve been told, “Go to hell.”  Today, I did.  Sure, it was just Hell, MI, but I can still tell all those people who have given me that order over the years that I’ve been to Hell and back…and it was fun. 

J and I were stuck on Travel Channel’s “Extreme” shows last weekend.  During the “Extreme Roadside Attractions” I was reintroduced to Hell, MI.  I say reintroduced not because I’ve ever been there, but it was something I had heard about while I was growing up in Illinois. 

For many years, my brother and I delivered papers.  We lived in a small community and the daily newspaper in the area wasn’t huge.  One really hot day, the paper lead with the headline “It’s Hotter Than Hell (Michigan, That Is).”  We got a ton of phone calls from angry customers that thought it was inappropriate and yelled at us like we had something to do with content.  That’s the only newspaper headline I think I’ll ever remember word-for-word. 

So, J and I finally got to sleep in and we took advantage of it.  It was a little after noon before I stumbled into the living room already really hungry.  We figured out that Hell wasn’t all that far away and it would be fun just to say we’ve been there.  Since they had a bar/restaurant, we could make that a reason to go. 

The Dam Site Inn is on Patterson Lake Road in what is technically considered Pinckney.  Hell is actually an unincorporated part of Livingston County.  For USPS purposes, they have a Pinckney address and zip code.  Read the rest of this entry »





Frank’s Press Box East

10 07 2009
  • 2314 Woodlake Drive
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 347-8810
  • Website
  • Menu
Franks Press Box East near the I-96 exit in Okemos.

Frank's Press Box East near the I-96 exit in Okemos.

Yup, it’s Friday again.  For some reason, I get lazy on Friday and don’t feel like cooking.  Today, I had another reason though.  My family is coming to town late tonight and J and I spent all morning cleaning.  I’m a pretty messy cook.  It’s not unusual to find flour or a little bit of cheese on the floor after dinner.  Instead of taking that chance, J suggested we go out. 

A few weeks ago, we went to Applebees in Okemos for dinner.  I chose that location because we J wanted to go to a chain, but being Friday night, it was a good idea to have a back up option just in case.  Tonight, that back up became the main attraction.

Frank’s Press Box East is on Woodlake Road just off of I-96 in Okemos.  Like so many businesses in that area, they don’t have a store front on Okemos Road.  There is a little sign on the road, but it’s easy to miss.  It was a long time before I even knew Frank’s had a second restaurant in Okemos.

We pulled into the parking a little after seven and there were a lot more cars than I expected.  I almost had doubts that we wouldn’t get a table.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was expecting what we found. Read the rest of this entry »





Corner Bar & Grill

1 06 2009
  • 505 E. Shiawassee St.
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 374-3565
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The Corner Bar & Grill on Shiawassee Street in downtown Lansing.

The Corner Bar & Grill on Shiawassee Street in downtown Lansing.

J and I called it quits early on Be A Tourist In Your Own Town.  After the zoo, we tried to go to MSU, but couldn’t find parking and just gave up.  We spent a few hours at the zoo and we were getting hungry and I had to go to work in a few hours, so we decided to find lunch/dinner.  Since we were in East Lansing, J suggested Buffalo Wild Wings which is usually a hit with me, but on our way, J also pointed out that a lot of the blog entries recently have been chains and I hate doing that.  I wanted to get back to something local.  A couple weeks ago, Runs With Spatula reviewed a bar that I haven’t been to yet.  Her blog made my mouth water.  We were saving it for after a Lugnuts game, but bar food sounded good and it would put me back on the local track.

The Corner Bar & Grill is on the corner of Shiawassee and Cedar across the street from the City Market and just a block down from Oldsmobile Park.  Before we moved here, the building housed the Club 505 which I’m told was a lesbian bar.  Now, it’s kind of taken on a biker bar feel.  Maybe that’s because there are scooters from the neighboring business parked on the sidewalk. 

There’s a gravel parking lot across Shiawassee Street that has signs for parking.  When we pulled in, there was only a couple cars in the parking lot, but it was an odd time.  We were eating lunch around 3:00 which isn’t a prime meal time.  We crossed the street and walked into the building which opens up into the bar.  There aren’t really any tables in this area.  It’s got more of a bar feel.  We walked into another room which has a number of tables, booths, and of course, flat panel TV’s.  A third room was set up for live music and there was a guy running around setting up some gear for later in the evening. Read the rest of this entry »





The Green Door Blues Bar & Grill

1 05 2009
  • 2005 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 482-6376
  • Website
  • Menu
The Green Door Blues Bar & Grill on Michigan Avenue in Lansing.

The Green Door Blues Bar & Grill on Michigan Avenue in Lansing.

Have I mentioned that I love when J e-mails me from work and says she’s hungry for greasy bar food?  Man, I love that!  I was not in the cooking mood again as we were packing up for a trip back to Chicago.  For J’s birthday, I got her and her family tickets to see comedian Joel McHale at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN.  We were going to see McHale in Detroit back in January, but I had to work.  Since Hammond is about 15 miles from her parents south suburban home, I made up for missing the January show with four tickets to this show.

I’m starting to run out of ideas for greasy bar food, so I started looking at menus on Allmenus.com.  One of the places that came up that I never really thought about was The Green Door.  I ran it by J and she thought we would have enough time on her dinner break.

The Green Door Blues Bar & Grill is on Michigan Avenue at Clemens Avenue.  If you can find street parking along Michigan Avenue, there is a front door, but there’s also a City of Lansing lot behind the building.  If you park in back, there’s a door that leads right in to the bar on the backside of the building.

We parked in back and trekked through the alley which, like most of the streets in Lansing, has seen better days.  When we got inside, we were faced with a choice.  The Green Door is set up for live music which is really the main draw.  There are some tables in front of the stage, but there are also some higher pub tables on the other side of the room.  Read the rest of this entry »





LeRoy’s Classic Bar & Grill

18 04 2009
  • 1526 S. Cedar St.
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 482-0184
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
LeRoys Classic Bar & Grill on South Cedar Street in Lansing.

LeRoy's Classic Bar & Grill on South Cedar Street in Lansing.

You know how there’s always a place you drive by but never stop at?  LeRoy’s was that place for us.  In fact, we drive by it so much, J actually thought we had eaten there before.  It just seemed familiar because we take that route to downtown Lansing quite often, but it’s a place we had neglected.  There wasn’t a reason we never stopped.  I just never thought of it when it came to dinner time.

J and I left downtown after spending the afternoon at Oldsmobile Park.  By the time we hopped back in the car, I was really hungry and wanted something really greasy.  I heard somewhere that LeRoy’s had a pretty good burger and it was on the way home, so we finally stopped neglecting the little neighborhood bar.

LeRoy’s Classic Bar & Grill is on South Cedar Street at Baker.  There’s a parking lot on the north side of the building and behind the building.  It was still pretty early on a Saturday night, so parked in the lot on the north and entered through the front door which opens out to Cedar Street.

We didn’t make it to far past the bar once we got inside.  It took my eyes a second to adjust as it was pretty dark.  There are a couple booths along the wall just inside the door and I suggested we grab one of those so we’d be noticed by the bartender. 

There was only one menu on the table, but since no one was sitting in the booth behind us, I reached back and grabbed the one off that table so we didn’t have to share.  The bartender noticed us right away and came over for drink orders.  We were both a little dehydrated from sitting outside all day, so we stuck with soft drinks.  Read the rest of this entry »





Sidetrack Bar & Grill

5 04 2009
  • 56 E. Cross Street
  • Ypsilanti, MI 48198
  • (734) 483-1035
  • Website
  • Menu
Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town in Ypsilanti

Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Depot Town in Ypsilanti

When I see that there’s a place that serves a burger someone has proclaimed to be the best, I’m gonna take an opportunity to try it for myself.  That was the case when I was working in Ann Arbor recently.  J made the trip to Ann Arbor with me and picked me up after my game was over.  Somewhere, I saw that a bar in Ypsilanti made one of the best burgers in the country.  I looked at a map and saw Ypsilanti was near Ann Arbor.  So I dragged J to another bar in search of the perfect hamburger.

Sidetrack Bar & Grill is located on Cross Street in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town.  Guess what.  It sits beside a set of rail road tracks.  As I’ve already alluded to, GQ Magazine proclaimed Sidetrack’s hamburger as one the 20  burgers you must eat before you die.  It was also featured on an episode of the Oprah Winfey Show.  With that much hype, it was something I was looking forward to all day.

We parked behind the building and entered through a back door.  There’s a sign that points you to the front door where a hostess took us back through the dining room we just walked through to a table along the wall.  The decor is that of an old bar.  There’s exposed brick walls, tin ceilings and hardwood floors that have seen better days.  The walls are covered with dead animals.  There was a big moose head right above my head and some giant penguins hanging above the door.  The tables are packed into the space.  When I initially suggested a bar for dinner, I was a little worried that we would have trouble getting a table.  Word is,  Sidetracks is always packed on Friday and Saturday night and this Saturday night, MSU was playing in the Final Four.  Read the rest of this entry »





Art’s Bar & Grill – Revisited

14 03 2009
Arts Bar & Grill on Kalamazoo in Lansing.

Art's Bar & Grill on Kalamazoo in Lansing.

It’s been almost a year since our first visit to Art’s Bar & Grill.  It was one of the first places we ate at after moving to Lansing.  The building didn’t look like much, but I had heard the food was some of the best in town.  After a little hesitation, we went in and had one of the best meals we’ve had in town.

J’s parents were in town and we needed someplace to eat.  The original plan was to eat in Mt. Pleasant after gambling for a little bit, but we were still full from lunch, so we headed back to Lansing.  We tossed around a few ideas, but eventually settled on Art’s.  I had heard good things about their pizza and we hadn’t tried it yet.  By hitting up a bar, we could get a pizza and J’s parents could get burgers.

We stopped in around 7:00 on a Saturday.  There were quite a few people, but we found a table in the middle of the dining room.  Just like last time, a waitress noticed us right away and yelled over that she would be right with us.  A few minutes later, she dropped off menus while she was taking care of the rest of the dining room.  There were only two waitresses for the whole building and the one we had was working her butt off.  Read the rest of this entry »





Darb’s Crystal Bar

11 01 2009
  • 4279 Holt Rd.
  • Holt, MI 48842
  • (517) 694-9716
  • No Known Website
  • No Menu
Darbs Crystal Bar on Holt Road and Cedar Street in Holt

Darb's Crystal Bar on Holt Road and Cedar Street in Holt

We found it!  We found a karaoke bar.  When we moved here almost ten months ago, we left a town that had the best karaoke bar.  It wasn’t a bar that hired a guy to come in once or twice a week with a TV and a microphone.  It was a karaoke theater with lights, multiple TV’s, a computer song book, a stage, multiple microphones, and a “KJ’s”  It was more of a karaoke saloon that happened to be in a bar.  It was awesome for someone like J who really likes karaoke.  If you heard a song on the radio for the first time, this place would have a karaoke version a week later.  You weren’t stuck doing songs from five years ago….you could do songs that were on the charts right now.

When we moved to Mid-Michigan, we immediately started looking for a karaoke bar with no luck. We tried Crunchy’s and Rookies with no luck.  The atmosphere was no good, the song selection were terrible, and it wasn’t fun.  A while ago, Corky suggested Darb’s Crystal Bar in Holt.  I had driven by a few times and though it just looked like a good place to hang out.  I had no idea they had karaoke. 

J has been going through withdrawals for months now, so we decided to give Darb’s a try.  We were there five minutes and we knew this was a place that we would be visiting several more times.

Darb’s Crystal Bar sits on the corner of Holt Road and Cedar Street in Holt.  There’s a large neon sign hanging off the side of the building, a beer garden to one side, and a ton of Christmas lights…even when t’s not Christmas.  We were surprised to find a packed parking lot.  It was a Saturday night, but we also had gotten a foot of snow in the last 24 hours.  We thought tonight would be a good time to try out Darb’s hoping the snow would keep people away.  No dice.  The place was packed.  It’s not very big inside and all the tables near the front of the bar were packed. Read the rest of this entry »





Press Release – 621 is NOT Closed Permanently

5 01 2009

I hadn’t even heard this rumor, but if they’re sending out press releases to local media, there must be something going around.  Apparently they are not closed permanently….just temporarily while they renovate.

From a Brant Johnson & Associates press release….

621, Lansing’s downtown hotspot, is temporarily closed for remodeling.

621 will be closed for approximately 60 days for modernization of the restaurant/bar, according to Julian Darden, MJJJ Inc., owner and operator.

Julian “JJ” Darden says, “For over 5years of ownership, 621 appreciates the loyal patronage and support of Lansing. It has been a blessing to provide entertainment services to the Lansing community. However, it is important to modernize our establishment in order to reflect the revitalization of the New Downtown Lansing area. And 621 looks forward to being the consistent Downtown Nightspot. ”

Within the past 5 years 621 was voted “the BEST” in a number of categories for Lansing Entertainment, including Best Martini Bar. Downtown patrons and Lugnut goers have been enjoying 621 for over 10 years.

621 asks the Lansing community to be patience and cooperative as these changes are taking place. 621 is eager to have a prosperous 2009.