Axle Brewing’s Livernois Tap opens Saturday in Ferndale

The 10,000-square-foot neighborhood brew pub has stroller and bike parking, a beer garden, craft beer from Axle Brewing and a menu from the team behind Grey Ghost Detroit

Melody Baetens
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After much anticipation, Axle Brewing’s Ferndale tap room and restaurant Livernois Tap will open Saturday.

The 10,000-square-foot brew pub and production facility at 567 Livernois will feature all Axle products, made on site. Besides freshly brewed craft beer, a major attraction is that Livernois Tap’s menu was created by Grey Ghost chefs John Vermiglio and Josef Giacomino, along with chef Reid Shipman, formerly of Gold Cash Gold.

Midtown Detroit’s Grey Ghost has received many accolades throughout its first year of business, and its partnership with Axle ensures that food will not be an afterthought and Livernois Tap will pair its beer with more than pretzels and pizza.

“It’s about bringing the right people together,” said Axle Brewing President Dan Riley. “The right chefs, the right brewer, the right partners, the right friends, and having something interesting happen.”

The menu includes a fried bologna corn dog, buffalo fried green tomatoes, chicken shawarma wings, and a dish called “crispy animal parts,” which looks a lot like pork rinds. Guests can peek into the open kitchen; the production facility has windows, too, offering a view into the beer-making process.

In addition to the Grey Ghost partnership, Livernois Tap’s opening is also hotly anticipated because of the location. Ferndale’s downtown area at Nine Mile and Woodward is bustling with businesses, but this area of Livernois just a few blocks north of Eight Mile is largely quiet.

“This spot just really felt right,” said Riley, adding that his father used to work at the fire station at Livernois and Curtis in Detroit. “Livernois has got some trees, it’s got the boulevard ... it’s got Baker’s Keybard Lounge, Kuzzo’s (Chicken and Waffles) is happening down there. There’s like a richness to Livernois.”

Riley said that while the city of Ferndale isn’t looking to turn Livernois into another Nine Mile – which is a highly developed, walkabout downtown area – he does think “a brewery could be a catalyst for a little bit of development.”

The Royal Oak-based brewery first announced it would open a neighborhood tap room last year. Riley fully admits that in buying a production facility first (it was formerly MillKing It Productions) and opening a tap room later, he’s taken the unconventional route.

“We’ve done everything backwards, literally,” he said. “You don’t really buy a production brewery and then only have production but no tap room. So what we’ve done over the past year and a half is try to define who we are by who we associated with, the things we invested in,” he said, pointing to their partnership with Detroit City Football Club and Axle’s sponsorship of Mo Pop Festival.

This has also given Axle a chance to get its brand out in the area before opening a tap room and restaurant. At Livernois Tap, customers will find a rotating list of 12-15 Axle beers crafted by head brewer Adam Berretta and his team. This includes seasonal brews, tap room exclusives, and collaborations with other craft beverage makers, as well as flagship beers Mother Handsome Double IPA, Livernois Lager, Long Cut IPA, City Pale Ale and Axle Porter.

Riley has spent time on every detail of Livernois Tap, including the music and family-friendly vibe.

“I prefer thinking about it as when you’re hosting a party,” he said. “You want the food to be great, you want to think about the drinks, you straighten out the magazines, you even thing about what magazines to have out because you want it to be a reflection, but most importantly you’ve gotta make a great mix tape.”

Besides a dining area that can seat around 100 at communal tables and at the bar, Livernois Tap also has a 65-seat beer garden facing Livernois. Stroller and bicycle parking are on site, along with a bike repair station.

Starting Saturday, Livernois Tap will be open six days a week: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun., 4-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs. and 4-11 p.m. Fri. Visit or call (248) 268-3496.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens

Livernois Tap

567 Livernois, Ferndale

(248) 268-3496

Hours: 4-10 p.m. Tues.-Thurs., 4-11 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat. and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.

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