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Pairing autumn dining, drinking with fall fashions

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Leather jacket weather is finally approaching. It’s been a hot, fun summer, but I know I’m not the only one who is excited to attend some fall events with cooler, more fashion-friendly weather.

Here some upcoming dining and beverage events of note this autumn that will be perfect opportunities to don your warmer wardrobe staples that have been collecting dust while you’ve been sweating in the heat.

Oktoberfest at Dakota Inn Rathskeller: September 16 is the first day of this historic German restaurant’s weekend Oktoberfest, which run Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 29. Besides the Dakota’s menu of authentic beer, wine and meat-heavy entrees, Oktoberfest features extra imported beers from Germany, a live German band, dancing and sing-a-longs. Due to the popularity of this event, I recommend making a reservation, especially for big groups. The party starts at 8 p.m. each night and there’s a $3 cover charge, in addition to your bill; bring cash for that. A perfect opportunity to wear your fall-friendly chicken hat (think of it as the traditional Oktoberfest headdress), but if you forget yours, you can purchase one there. 17324 John R, Detroit. (313) 867-9722.

Cafe Cortina: One of the trends found at this year’s New York Fashion Week is “statement fur,” fluffy, colorful jackets featuring real or faux fur. Other fall styles expected to be popular this season are ruffles and gold metallics. Any of these fashions would be appropriate for a Cafe Cortina’s “Authentic Spanish Dinner Experience” with Chef Ernesto Luis Antopia on Oct. 3. This will be similar to their spring Spanish dinner, which was sold out in advance. Chef Ernesto, whose family is from Spain, will serve tapas, paella and pit-roasted suckling. Tickets are $125 per person and includes wine, tip, tax and the restaurant’s gorgeous, romantic ambiance. Cafe Cortina is at 30715 W. 10 Mile in Farmington Hills. Call (248) 474-3033 or (917) 770-3589 for reservations.

Boatoberfest on Detroit Princess: Grab a cardigan and enjoy the cool fall air on your face as you cruise down the Detroit River sipping seasonal beers and hard ciders. Tickets, $55, include 15 drink samples, appetizers and admission on the boat. Boatoberfest, organized by Motor City Brew Tours, is 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 8. Board at near Cobo Center at 1 Civic Center Drive in Detroit. Go to for more info.

Detroit Cocktail Classic: Mid-October in Eastern Market is tailor-made for leather jackets. Billed as a “gala celebration,” a sharp suit coat or pea jacket may also work for this. This Oct. 14 evening event in Shed 3 is a celebration of craft cocktails, and highlights local and national beverage brands and the area’s most capable bartenders. Tickets include 12 beverage samples, and each station offers opportunities for guests to learn more about each drink. Nearly every hot-shot craft cocktail bar and restaurant is involved, including La Rondinella, Mabel Gray, Rock City Eatery, Selden Standard, Wright & Company, Gold Cash Gold, Katoi, the Peterboro and Public House. Some early-bird tickets are on sale now for $60 per pair. Once they’re gone, tickets are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Visit

Detroit Fall Beer Festival: Another Eastern Market event, this is considered to be the beer event of the season. It takes place right in the thick of hoodie weather, and it may even be cold (or wet) enough to give last season’s hot Sorel boots another spin. Held Oct. 21-22, this annual bash boasts more than 700 beers to sample, all from Michigan breweries. Ticket price includes admission and drink samples, and food is available for an additional cost. The Fall Beer Fest often sells out, so advance tickets are recommended. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the gate for 5-9 p.m. Oct. 21 and $45 in advance for 1-6 p.m. Oct. 22. Visit Tip: The aforementioned Motor City Brew Tours is offering transportation to the festival from Royal Oak. Visit for details.

So long, flip-flubs: One of my favorite things about cooler weather fashion in regards to dining out is that we’ll (hopefully) see fewer flip-flops in fine dining situations. This summer, as I was deciding what to order at a trendy Royal Oak sushi restaurant, the super-relaxed diner at the next table put his flip-flopped feet on the empty seat next to me. Trust me, my judging of what people wear ends and begins with flip-flops in nice restaurants; wear what you want. However, I don’t understand the practice of wearing $4 rubber flippies from Old Navy at a restaurant where the cocktails cost three times as much. What happened to “no shoes, no service?”

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens