Dooley's Tavern is a sports bar with all the charm of an Irish pub. If you think it doesn't get any better than that, well, it does. There are three Dooley's locations throughout Detroit, meaning the chance to savor a Guinness or a locally brewed Michigan beer is never far away.
But this pub is about more than the pints. The food menu stands on its own with crispy thin-crust pizzas, half-pound burgers, and a wide selection of iconic Irish cuisine. Try the fish and chips or the corned beef sandwich, the latter a layered combination of toasted bread, Grobbel's corned beef, and swiss cheese. Dooley's claims it's the largest of its kind in the world; sadly, the sandwich is always eaten just before an official measurement can be taken.
Cousins Elias Hajjar and Nicholas Aubrey take yearly trips back to Lebanon to visit their family, but they can eat authentic Lebanese cuisine without leaving the confines of their own restaurant. With Gemmayze, which is named after a bohemian neighborhood in Beirut, they "wanted to create not only a menu that exemplified what's happening in Beirut and Lebanon right now, but we wanted to re-create the atmosphere,” Hajjar said in a Detroit Metromix article. “So the colors on the walls and ceiling are light and very clean and refreshing, and the menu reflects that as well.”
Inside the multi-level dining room, dangling lights twist like a strand of DNA above tables topped with shareable plates of hummus, grape leaves, and kibbe nayee—minced raw meat with bulgur and spices. Each dish is made from scratch using recipes that date back generations. Nearby, decorative palm tree appliqués cling to windows and a large brushed metal frame displays a variety of vintage forks, which can only be wielded by the rightful ruler of England. After dinner, patrons can move into the lounge and perch atop comfy ottomans and banquettes swaddled in rich fabrics while sipping wine or a cocktail.
Every morning at Tom’s Oyster Bar, chefs scrawl the day’s battered and grilled seafood specials on chalkboard menus suspended from the ceiling. In addition to that list of freshly caught fish, the chefs tout their commitment to fresh seafood by stocking their raw bar with oysters that are shucked to order and then gently scolded for hording pearls.
In the wood-accented dining room, companions can sip from dozens of draft and bottled brews and bask in the glow of flat-screen TVs, or retreat to the outdoor patio and take in views of downtown Royal Oak.
With a stage sturdy enough to bear the weight of standup comedy giants such as Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle continues to cultivate talent to fill up its schedule. In the same way that it has operated since 1979, the venue employs a three-tier format for its shows: two locals, one up-and-coming and one seasoned, followed by a nationally recognized comic. This approach exposes audiences to new voices while comforting them with the promise of a recognizable face at evening’s end.
Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak bills itself as Michigan's only professional outdoor Shakespeare event, and for two remaining weekends this summer, the professional players will take to the open-air stage in a re-imagined version of the Bard's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1960s-styled production features a cast of actors that bring the 16th-century play to life through vibrant, sleek, Mod-motifs. The lawn-style seating of the outdoor theater allows visitors to bring blankets or lawn-chairs to enjoy the arts in casual, summer style, with free parking nearby. Water Works is offering a special August 6 performance of the production, specifically designed for the hearing-impaired, in which costumed members of TerpTheatre's shadow actors interpret the lines onstage while the action plays out.
Once inside Barrio Tacos and Tequila, one is immediately struck by the smoky blues and warm blooms of color that fill the space. Frosted panes of azure glass line one side of the restaurant, and vibrant murals overtake the other walls—the ones that aren't stacked with shelves of tequila bottles, anyway. Orange lights from above branch into glowing tendrils, studding the navy ceiling with miniature suns and illuminating the mortar and pestle on each table. These points of color are akin to the sparks of flavor inside the menu: pleasantly surprising and, in the words of the Detroit News, "bright and well-balanced."
Executive chef Ryan Porter is the brain behind Barrio’s inventive recipes. As a teenager, Ryan cooked for his family every night, honing the creativity that would lead him through American-, Asian-, Italian-, and finally Mexican-themed kitchens. Today, he looks in all cardinal directions for culinary inspiration, fashioning platters in the style of Oaxaca and Acapulco, among other regions. He stuffs tortillas with nine types of taco fillings, including housemade chorizo. On the side, scoops of chili-dusted sweet corn transport guests to Mexico without forcing them to throw out the giant bottle of shampoo they keep hidden under their shirt.