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.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
The instructors at Anita's Theatre Dance & Performing Arts foster a love of dance in students aged 3 and older with a diverse schedule of 30-minute weekly lessons in a variety of styles. Fledgling dancers can dip their toes into ballet and learn to plié in age-appropriate beginner sessions, and older, more experienced hoofers can hone their skills in classes in adult tap, junior partnering, and intermediate jazz. All classes take place within one of three large dance rooms, replete with mirrors and cardboard cutouts of a scowling John Lithgow.
A hearty appetite is encouraged at Clancy’s Irish Pub, where a champion burger challenge bates mouths to down a 5-pound behemoth burger and a full pound of fries in less than 45 minutes. Only three customers have ever succeeded, and their pictures reside on Clancy’s wall of fame as a testament to their steely reserve and superhuman jaw strength. In addition to holding photos of these championship mugs, Clancy’s butter-hued walls come stippled with golden brown, as if prophesying the deep-fried goodliness of the menu’s jalapeño poppers and cheesy mozzarella sticks. Amid the glow of neon beer signs and flat-screen TVs, tables load up with pints from the bar’s selection of more than 50 brews, as well as pub classics such as fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and the cheese-and- bacon-slathered chicken Dubliner. After two-handing a signature Jack Daniels chicken sandwich, guests can partake of weekly events such as beer-pong competitions, trivia, and DJ dance nights.