Thanksgiving Eve is traditionally the busiest bar night of the year and Oakland County business owners are gearing up for a fun night and holiday weekend. Here's a roundup of places to go this evening. We invite you to add your favorite to the list.
The Emory's general manager, Emily Husband, said the night is a busy one for bars because "most people come home for Thanksgiving and want to get together with the friends and family they haven't seen all year. ... We're tapping a firkin this year, not necessarily in order to increase business, but to do something fun and different."
What's a firkin, you ask? "It is a keg of the Livery Brewery Action Jackson IPA that will be on the bar top all evening until it runs out. Really, though, the whole weekend is very, very busy. We are open for cocktails on Thanksgiving after 8 p.m., for those that need an escape from family, (or a digestive from all the dinner consumed!) and the Friday night following rivals the Wednesday before in terms of the crowd that comes through the doors."
Check out a few of the fun events happening in Ferndale for holiday revelers:
Dino's Lounge: "We will have our Metro Times award-winning karaoke hosted by the one and only king of karaoke, Michael Shae!" owner Dean "Dino" Bach said. Karaoke starts at 9 p.m. and that's not all in store for the big bar night. Dino's also will offer its "famous" $5 Holiday Punch Bucket Cocktails, $2.75 "Old School Cooler" long neck bottles of PBR, Blatz, Strohs, Miller High Life and Schlitz. "And then to end the evening," Bach proclaims, "free coneys."
The Emory: Husband says The Emory will be tapping a firkin 6 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving and patrons can also enjoy regular happy hour deals from 4-7 p.m. at The Emory and Woodward Avenue Brewers (The WAB).
Magic Bag: Check out Mike Young's Young American Comedy Tour starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Born and raised in the Detroit area, comedian Mike Young studied at Second City in Chicago and with The Groundlings in Los Angeles before branching out and hitting the big time, touring with the likes of Dave Chapelle, Bob Saget, Dave Attell, Joe Rogan and Wanda Sykes. Now the Southfield-Lathrup High School grad returns to his old stomping grounds for a very special homecoming show at the Magic Bag.
Go Comedy! Improv Theater: Join Go Comedy! for Hangover Eve, which it dubs "the night before Thanksgiving done right," on its Facebook events page. The night includes improv troupes The Mighty They, Baby Leroy, and Home School, as well as drink specials and improv jam Fresh Sauce: Cranberry Edition! Anyone can sign up and improvise on stage. Tickets are $5. Purchase them here.
Mr. B's Pub is planning a DJ and dancing, something it doesn't typically offer on Wednesday nights, manager Michelle Taylor said. The fun starts at 9:30 p.m. and there is no cover charge, but get in early, Taylor warned. "It's a huge night for us," she said. "The earlier the better. Once 10 p.m. starts, things get really busy. Drink specials include beer of the month Guiness Black Lager and late night happy hour from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Enjoy $4.50 call drinks, $3.50 drafts and $2.50 bottles.
Mr. B's isn't the only bar in town with special offerings:
Fifth Avenue: Get $3 call drinks, buy one appetizer get one free, half off pizzas and free pool.
526 Main: Check out nationally acclaimed touring professional piano players Ted Oliver, Bobby Strandal, Ashton Wolf and Ryan Miles. Happy hour specials from 3-7 p.m. include $6 ribs and $3 draft beer.
Tequila Blue: DJ Ryan Rchards will entertain 8 p.m-2 a.m. at the Mexican restaurant on top of 526 Main. It offers the same happy hour specials 3-7 p.m.
BlackFinn: Happy hour runs 4-7 p.m. Enjoy $6 flatbread pizza and appetizers, half-off specialty martinis and specials on call drinks, draft beer and house wines.
Duggan's Irish Pub: Check out about half-dozen drink specials, including $2.25 draft beer and $6.25 pitchers.
O'Mara's Restaurant is expecting a good showing for its new act, Even Exchange, which will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight Wednesday. The jazz, soul and funk band was the house band at Ferndale's former Club Bart, general manager Lewis Sawyer said.
"We're more of a restaurant," he said. "But having the band here will be great. We are expecting about 100 patrons to join us."
Other Berkley hot spots:
Blarney Stone Pub: Join the pub the night before Thanksgiving for Drinksgiving Eve. Have a good time and take a cab home, Blarney Stone requests on its Facebook page. There will be a special performance by local reggae/funk band Lucky Brown, Labbatt models with freebies, vodka models with freebees, food and drink specials, and more.
Berkley Front: The "American Beer Garden" has 53 beers on tap, is in walking distance for many Berkley residents and is ready for the big bar night. In fact, it is expanding its hours. Visit the Berkley Front starting at noon Wednesday.
J's Bar and Grill: The Grill plans to be busy, and will have its regular Wednesday night specials on tap: $3 bottles of Michigan beer, $2.50 pints and $3 well drinks.
24 Seconds Bar & Grill: Join the email club for special deals and discounts. The sports bar will be open 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day so patrons can "take a break from their families," as the venue's website suggests.
On the biggest bar night of the year, Black Lotus Brewery manager Jason Womack said there's not "a lot of crazy" at the Clawson bar. "We're kind of an easy going, laid back place," he said. "People come here when they want to go out, have a good beer and relax."
He said Black Lotus sees a steady stream of shoppers stop in for a break during the holidays. "It's kind of their oasis," Womack said. Join the Mug Club for food and beer discounts at Black Lotus, or check out what's going on at the brewery and other taverns the night before Thanksgiving:
Black Lotus Brewery: Late night happy hour: Enjoy $2 pints from midnight to 2 a.m.
Tavern on the Main: Owner Tom Melistas says if you come to the Tavern on the big bar night, expect the same deals you would get any Wednesday night. He recommends a craft beer in a 23-ounce, football-shaped glass. Offerings include Michigan Screamin' Pumpkin Ale, Blue Moon, Sierra Nevada, Founders Dirty Bastard and Guiness Black Lager. Also available: Bard's Tale gluten-free beer and non-alcoholic varieties.
Moose Winooskis: Wednesday specials include $2 draft beer and $2.50 Captain Morgan and Bacardi drinks.
The Hideout: Wednesday specials include Whiskey Wednesday drink specials and late night gyro and fries with beverage meals for $3.50 from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Clawson Steakhouse: Dancing available from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The Mark James Band will perform.
The Hamilton Room: Part of the Birmingham's Thanksgiving eve celebration goes Las Vegas with go-go dancers, show girls and a high-energy atmosphere.
Barrio: The new Mexican restaurant in town will have 200+ kinds of tequila, a complimentary taco bar and Latin house salsa and merengue.
Chen Chow: Chen Chow turns Hollywood on Wednesday night with red carpet style-glamour and glitz, plus special event photography.
Dick O' Dows: This classic Irish pub is always a neighborhood favorite and Thanksgiving eve is no exception.
South Bar: On Thanksgiving eve, South Bar will feature live music from Good Gravy Band as well as DJ in the club.
Bloomfield Hills/Bloomfield Township
The Moose Preserve: Upscale hunting lodge atmosphere known for its fresh and quality food, plus they can make just about any drink.
Beau Jack's: A longtime neighborhood favorite with an old school bar and a burger you can build with as many items you want for under $9.
Andiamo: Happy Hour from 3-6 p.m. with $5 martinis, wines and appetizers.
Hogan's: Another longtime neighborhood spot with a restaurant and sports bar area.
Northern Lakes Seafood Company: This bar, in the Radisson Hotel, is more casual than the restaurant and has a special tavern menu better than most typical bars.
Buffalo Wild Wings will have not one, but two happy hours to get the party started. The first happy hour runs from 2-6 p.m., with the second happy hour from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Look for $1 off tall beers, liquor and wine, along with $3 appetizers.
Joe Kool's Bar & Grill will also have two happy hours going on this night, from 3-6 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight. They will be serving domestic beers for $2-$2.50 along with $3 Captain Morgan well drinks.
Bailey's Pub and Grille has plenty of seats at their roomy bar, along with pool tables, ping pong, tons of flat screen TV's and darts. The specials for the night include 1/2 off of bottles of wine and $5 3 Olive Martinis.
Champps Americana will reel you in with 1/2 off bottles of wine and 1/2 off all appetizers during their two happy hours, from 3-6 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Big Beaver Tavern will have the band Reeferman for your listening pleasure. There will be Vodka Girls in the house to hand out some drinks, along with $3 martinis and pizza giveaways at midnight. They are open until 2 a.m.
Dunleavy's Pub & Grub: Irish decor and its special Grubwiches have made this pub a neighborhood favorite for over 20 years.
Page's Food and Spirits: Located in downtown Farmington, this casual bar features a 9' HDTV and a full restaurant menu.
Basement Burger Bar: Tucked in the basment of a historic downtown Farmington building, the BBB specializes in burgers, and on Wednesday, enjoy some euchre.
John Cowley & Sons: Specializing in Irish fare and hospitality, Cowley's will feature live music Wednesday night, with Social Bones performing modern rock.
Grand Tavern: After celebrating their 3rd anniversary earlier this month, Grand Tavern is ready for another party Thanksgiving Eve. Drink specials and other information are posted on their Facebook page.
Library Sports Pub and Grill: Throwing a Thanksgiving Eve party with the electrifying sounds of Music in Motion.
Champps Americana: This sports bar can accomodate a large gathering of friends.
Redcoat Tavern: Kitchen is open late, great for those late night munchies, plus, their burgers rock the house.
7 Ultra Lounge and Restaurant: Contemporary and sleek, this bar dishes up sushi in the lounge.
Nectars: Elegant, yet cozy describes this neighborhood wine bar.
Post Bar: Enjoy drink specials, including $1 beers until 8 p.m., dancing and music, featuring Stick from Channel 95.5, and sounds by DJ Joey A. Cover is $5. MBarGo, 44325 W. 12 Mile Rd.: Five venues, eight bars, four deejays, one band, and one $10 cover charge. Check out all the fun — drink specials, music, dancing, gaming and more — happening at MBarGo, Liquor Store, Lucky Strike, The Arcade, and Lucky Strike Lanes. 8p.m. to 2 a.m.
Tin Fish, 27862 Novi Rd.: Drink specials, dancing, deejays playing favorite jams and more. Cover is $5, 9 p.m.
Dirty Martini Lounge: Enjoy live music by Emad Batayeh, DJ RamZ fusing American an Arabic music, doumbek drumming, drink specials and more. Starts at 10 p.m.; $40 general admission; VIP packages available
The White Lake Inn treats the night before Thanksgiving (a.k.a. the biggest bar night of the year) just like a weekend night. This year, the inn features Detroit-based Monkey Grinder and a DJ starting at 9:30 p.m. with no cover charge; in addition, the outdoor tiki bar will be heated and open for business
Billy’s Tip N’ Inn features 2XL playing classic rock starting at 9:30 p.m.
The Root Restaurant & Bar, a unique restaurant designed around the philosophy of local, seasonal and fresh cuisine, is open for your eating and drinking pleasure.
Comeback Inn, 1451 South Milford Road in Highland, provides live entertainment from 8 p.m. to midnight by regular Wednesday entertainer Jim Kish.
59 West Bar & Billiards, 786 West Highland Rd. (M-59) in Highland, is also open and ready to serve people; the bar features 10 tournament size pool tables, a huge variety of video games and 13 large screen TVs.
Sagebrush Cantina in Lake Orion is offering a late-night happy hour with Corona and Corona Light ($2.50) house margaritas ($3), well drinks ($3) and domestic pitchers ($5). The restaurant is open until 2 a.m.
O'Connors Public House does not play games on what has become its second busiest night of the year (guess which night is No. 1 for the Irish pub?) Extra bars will be added, and the music will be spinning with DJ John Knapper. Drink specials will be running all night: Stoli Vodka drinks ($4.50), Stoli and Red Bull ($6.50), Red Bull Bombs ($5) and Domestic Pints ($2.50). Also, a trolley will run between O'Connors and The Hills from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. if you're in the mood to bar hop. There is no cover at O'Connor's. The trolley costs $5 for unlimited rides back and forth.
The Hills Bar and Grille is at the other end of the trolley fun (see above) for the night. The Hills will feature $3 Bud Light bottles, $4 Washington Apples and $5 Long Island Iced Teas. The bar is open until 2 a.m. and there is no cover.
Rochester Mills Beer Co. will have live music by Funktion. A beer booth will be set up — make sure you try the Pleszures Pale Ale. Plenty of pool tables will also be available. The Mills is open until 2 a.m. with no cover charge.
Penny Black will give guests plenty of options with $3 you-call-its all night long. Check out the downtown Rochester restaurant's new menu, which has some tasty items that will be a great partner with your drinks of choice. DJ Gerry Thomas will be in charge of the tunes; Penny Black is open until 2 a.m. with no cover charge.
Designate a driver
It's OK to have fun and let loose, but it's always good to plan ahead for a designated driver. One way to do that is to call in a professional.
James Beach, owner of Bigg Daddy's Taxi Service and Transportation in Royal Oak, is preparing to be busy driving patrons of bars around Oakland County on the night before Thanksgiving.
"It's one of our biggest nights," Beach said.
He advises party-goers to make a reservation.
"It's a lot cheaper that way," he said, explaining that people who think ahead will get a flat rate, whereas those who phone in a taxi will pay a $2 fee for pickup and then $2.75 a mile.
"For example," he said, "a ride from Royal Oak to Detroit will cost about $40 with a flat rate, instead of $50 to $55 on the meter."
Call Big Daddy's to make a reservation at 248-408-8586 or 248-577-8897, ask your server to call you a taxi or designate a driver to ensure you get home safely.
Manage your consumption
The Designate, a Troy-based, on-call professional driving service, launched a new Smartphone application in October to help users manage their nightlife.
Available on iPhone and Android platform Smartphones, the free tool is a blood alcohol concentration estimator designed to help users gauge their ability to drive based on factors, including sex, weight, number of drinks and type of beverage consumed. Once calculated, the application will indicate the likelihood the user is impaired and will arrange a safe ride home.
Search app stores for "The Designate BAC Estimator." The app is free.
The Designate operates seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. in Metro Detroit. The Designate provides on-demand, chauffeur and special event services. For more information, call 888-929-8282 or log on www.thedesignate.com.