Tigers’ Opening Day means a huge bash downtown Friday
Much of Downtown Detroit will be a sea of orange and navy Friday as the Detroit Tigers play their home season opener against the Boston Red Sox.
The party — which not only celebrates the new baseball season, but also the return of spring — will permeate throughout the downtown area, particularly the bars and restaurants surrounding Comerica Park, from Midtown to the riverfront
Inside the park, the big buzz is the new concession offerings, which were announced at a media event last week.
Comerica Park’s executive chef, Mark Szubeczak, showed off his newest fusion food: a Little Caesars coney dog pizza. It has chili instead of pizza sauce, and is topped with pizza cheese, sliced hot dogs, a sprinkle of white onions and a drizzle of yellow mustard. It looks like a pizza, but tastes more like a coney, and is $12.50 for a four-corner slice.
Also new at the park for this season is a Hawaiian dog topped with bacon, pineapple, pickled onion and jalapeno slices and chicken shawarma nachos with baked pita pieces in place of fried tortilla chips.
The Tigers have teamed up with Levi Strauss & Co. to offer new apparel in the eight merchandise shops around the park, including a cool denim jacket with the Old English “D” logo on the front.
Bars surrounding the area, particularly sports bars, go all-out for Opening Day, which is a huge boost to sales after a long, baseball-less winter. Harry’s Detroit (2482 Clifford) is usually a hot spot with a bash that spills out into the heated tents in front of the bar.
Bookies Bar & Grille (2208 Cass) has doubled the size of its tent party this year in anticipation of a bigger turnout. Owner Matthew Scott says they’ll have a photo booth, ice luge, and at least 20 extra bartenders.
“You’ll be able to get a drink every 10 feet,” said Scott.
Town Pump Tavern (100 W. Montcalm) is also known for its big tent party, which takes over a lot behind the bar and restaurant starting at 8 a.m. They’ll have a game-day barbecue menu and a full bar in the heated tent.
For more barbecue, Red Smoke in Greektown opens at 10 a.m. Friday serving its Andouille sausage dog on a bakery bun with all the fixings, including house-made chips, coleslaw and a pickle for $7.99. The two-story restaurant (573 Monroe) also serves fun bar food like jerk wings, brisket fries, fried pickles and a variety of barbecued ribs and other dishes.
One of the earliest bar parties will start at MIX Bricktown (641 Beaubien). This nightclub turns up the daytime fun at 6 a.m. and doesn’t stop until 2 a.m. They’re boasting blue beer, frozen drinks, beer pong and DJs.
It’s not just the bars that fill up hours before the game. The Fillmore Detroit theater and concert venue (2115 Woodward) hosts an annual Opening Day viewing party with a live broadcast on 101.1 WRIF-FM. Those who don’t have tickets can watch the game for free inside the theater. Doors open at 7 a.m. for those who want to settle in early and get a good seat.
Another good spot to post up and watch the game is the spacious Punch Bowl Social. The bar and restaurant at 1331 Broadway is open 8 a.m.-2 a.m. with a game-day menu, buckets of beer and distractions like video games, bowling and ping-pong.
One of Downtown Detroit’s newer hangouts, the Skip, will embrace the Opening Day madness with extended hours, DJs and gourmet stadium food like house-made bratwurst, lamb hot dogs and Israeli couscous. Located in the alley way between Grand River and Gratiot and Library and Broadway, this breezy cocktail lounge is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday with both craft drinks and mass-produced favorites like High Life and Miller Lite.
Another new-ish craft cocktail destination, the Keep (140 Cadillac Square) will open at 9 a.m. with $2 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and $6 for a PBR and shot of Jameson, a “PB&J” combo. They’re calling the event “America’s Favorite Pabst Time.”
Detroit Tigers’ Home Opener
Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox
1:10 p.m. Fri.
2100 Woodward, Detroit
Parking: $15-$25 (cash only) at Olympia Development parking lots surrounding Comerica Park.
Roads: All streets bordering the park will be closed, including Montcalm from Woodward to Brush, Adams from Witherell to Brush, Witherell from Montcalm to Adams, Brush from Montcalm to Madison and John R from Montcalm to the Fisher Service Drive. There is also building construction just west of Woodward near Park and Columbia streets.