Strings of colored lights twinkle from the rafters of Gator Jake's Bar Grill Patio, where walls of retro neon and pressed-metal signs lend the dining room a vivacious vibe. The menu brings creole and southwestern perspectives to the table, providing etouffees, steak-fajita subs, and barbecue chicken monterey to complement a glass of Beringer wine, a specialty cocktail, or a beer called Guinness, Killian's, or Corona. Wall-mounted flat-screen televisions broadcast major sporting events as the sounds of clacking pool balls, whirring darts, and songs from the jukebox and periodic live entertainment fill the air. Open until 2 a.m., Gator Jake's—which took third place in the 2011 Detroit A-List's race for Best Sports Bar—welcomes patrons to stay for a late-night birthday party or celebrate the opening of a foreign stock exchange far, far away.
The self-proclaimed home of the $1 draft, Dooleys Tavern keeps 20 beers cascading from their taps. Those suds complement the chefs' pub food, which includes American tavern classics such as half-pound burgers and up to 50 chicken wings doused in a choice of four sauces. The draft beer house also concocts American dishes with an Irish twist such as corned-beef sliders and a pizza filled with mashed potatoes and topped with bacon and red onions.
Seven nights a week, Dooleys’ three locations keep guests entertained until 2 a.m. on an outdoor patio, in a room full of classic bar games, and with plenty of HDTVs showing the game. The trio of taverns also accommodates up to 100 guests for private parties. Additionally, the Mount Clemens location pairs feasts with sidesplitting routines from standup comics in Carmen's Showroom.
Piper's Alley pairs a varied menu of made-from-scratch pub fare with almost 40 beers from around the world, including a variety from Michigan. The lunch specials—unlike sautéing a credit card—can please both one's palate and wallet; try the veggie melt with provolone cheese ($4.95). Meanwhile, the half-pound Alley burger ($8.99) bathes in a mix of marinara and guacamole before enrobing itself in four different types of cheese, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and applewood-smoked bacon. Marinated grilled chicken fajitas step to a stage of warm flour tortilla, sidekicked by an entourage of shredded cheese, sweet onions, tap-dancing bodyguards, and bell peppers ($10.99). Made-from-scratch cheesecake ($4.99) delivers a sweet finale to the meal. Alongside universal favorites, the beer menu showcases many of Michigan's brews; fill up a glass with the Mackinaw pale ale from the tap or sip on a bottle of the Bell's Seasonal.
Having been passed down through two generations of the Vettraino family, the Green Lantern Lounge is a pretty big heirloom. It even looks like one: since opening nearly six decades ago, the pizzeria has filled with sports memorabilia and old family photos. The Vettrainos honor the past in the kitchen as well, cooking pizzas with their original recipes that call for age-old techniques. These range from cutting thick, New York-style pepperoni from their links in natural casing to using a mammoth tusk instead of a rolling pin.
The hearty pepperoni pieces can be found on a few of Green Lantern's pies, including Tommy's Tantalizing Super Special with ham, mushrooms, and green peppers. Other popular menu items include the candy-coated bacon strips and the eponymous reuben, which features corned beef or turkey beneath a scoop of the restaurant's signature coleslaw.