September 5, 2014 at 10:32 am

Specialty beer store to open up in Detroit's former Chinatown area

Detroit — A specialty beer store aims to set up in the city’s former Chinatown, an area on the northern edge of a planned 45-block, $650 million district anchored by the new home ice for the Detroit Red Wings.

Ferndale-based 8 Degrees Plato Beer Company will open a second location at 3401 Cass in the storefront that most recently was the home of Showcase Collectibles, a vintage and curio shop.

“Our goal is to take all of the things that made us successful in Ferndale and spread it to Midtown. Hopefully, we can become the official unofficial beer store of Detroit quickly,” the small retailer posted on its Facebook page. The retailer, owned by Tim Costello and Brigid Beaubien, focuses on craft and import beers.

“We are looking to open by late 2014/early 2015. Yes, there will be taps involved,” the Facebook post said. “We are looking to still remain a beer store first, but you will be able to have a beer while you shop or take home a growler.”

The Cass Avenue storefront is just past the northern boundary of a planned 45-block entertainment district. That plan is expected to create five “new neighborhoods” that would see hundreds of new apartments, a mix of national and independent retailers, and a state-of-the-art sports/entertainment venue.

Some of the construction is expected to begin soon.

The specialty beer store's Detroit location — the corner of Cass and Peterboro — was once the heart of the small Chinatown.

The roots of Detroit’s Chinatown began near Third and Porter in 1872, according to the Detroit Historical Museum. A wave of immigrants led by five Chinese families opened restaurants, grocery stores and a Chinese school between 1910 and the late 1950s.

In 1963, Chinatown was forcibly relocated to Cass and Peterboro as part of a city-wide housing demolition project. The neighborhood experienced some success before political and social changes led to its demise in 1987.