There are some bars that always seem to have a new owner and names. Now, I need to decided, should I add the bar to my list with each incarnation or am I just going by address? If I'm sitting on the same stool drinking the same Coors, does the fact that the name's been scraped off the mirror so many times that its been painted on the wall behind now, mean that it's a different bar? Bar #6 The Plank Road Tavern aka the Riviera aka Panini's says otherwise.
The Plank Road Tavern was the closest bar to my house and that made it an easy decision. Well, that and I couldn't figure out if the original bar I was going to would be open. Upon entering the bar had a wide open woody feel. Their beer list is drawn with chalk on the walls. Their use of plank wood flooring helped match the bar's name. There was even a fake wood fire place mounted to the wall. The most obvious piece of ambiance to the bar was the Irish band that seemed to make the music up as they went (but in a good way.) The staff was friendly, but did split the table service between the cook and the bartender.
The food was great. You get to design your burger with multiple types of meat and many toppings. I went with the chorizo burger that was a really great burger without being overwhelming. The fries were pretty good. They were a kind of hybrid between potato chips and french fries. The beer selection was wide and mainly craft allowing everyone to get a beer they really like.
Luckily, I did walk to the Tavern. I have a genetic tell, that shows when I am drunk. I come from an Italian family. We live up to a hand full of stereotypes. One is my Noni (grandmother) still makes spaghetti for the whole family every Thursday. The next two are apparent during our holidays. One is our love of food which quickly looks like a plague of locusts eating all food in sight. The second is that we are loud. Not all at once, we are like a thunder storm ruling in off the lake. A little uproar here and there and then suddenly (especially if alcohol is present) we are thunder. Part of this is how each speaker is selected; every time a new person talks they are slightly louder. One hour later, we are all happily yelling at the top of our lungs about childhood anarchy, causing any new husbands or girlfriends of cousins visiting our Christmas for the first time to end up in a food coma/shell shock induced fetal position. I am the same way at the bar regardless of competition. A couple hours into the night and I'm talking in at the decibel level of a 747 for no apparent reason and suddenly my wife takes my keys away. Which is fine because I don't believe in DUI and you can't talk your way out of a ticket when you are screaming at the cop at the top of your lungs how you are just tired.
Near the end of my evening I decided to head to the patio to take a picture for the blog and found the other half of the bar. There is a huge patio out back, big enough to play a long distance game of corn hole while having plenty of room for everyone else. In the back was a kickball team that included one the owners/parents of one of my dog school students. It turns out they aren't simply big fans of my classes but also of my blog, as they quickly introduced me to anyone from their team they could drag over to me. They own a 6 month old goldadoodle named Luke that is trying very hard to earn his Canine Good Citizen despite the handicap of also being part Muppet.
The Plank Road Tavern is a comfortable bar with good service, food or beer. It's a great place to meet your friends or other people's without feeling claustrophobic or stuffy. There was nothing to complain about even if I wanted to. Make sure you stop by while the weather's still nice and check out that huge patio in the back.
The final lesson of the evening that my friend John learned was, after me coaxing his drunk self to find out, you can't join an acoustic Irish folk band with an electric base guitar. This week I'll both be attending the VIP grand opening party for Quaker Steak and Lube tonight and I'll be a celebrity judge for the Pillars of Lakewood Wing Crawl this Saturday. Hope to see you all at one or the other!
Awesome: Food, atmosphere, Music, Craft Beer
16719 Detroit Ave