Outsiders know Detroit as the birthplace of the automobile and the legendary sounds of Motown. What those people might not know about Detroit — it’s also the ultimate town for sports fans! Filled with loyal die-hard enthusiasts for their teams, Downtown Detroit is the home of three pro sports outfits: the Lions (NFL), the Tigers (MLB), and the Red Wings (NHL). Whether you are a first-time visitor to the Motor City or a lifelong Detroiter, it takes a bit of navigation and know-how to make your way around the bases. Use this as your cheat sheet for pre-game beers or post-game eats …
Cobo Joe’s Smokehouse BBQ & Sports Bar
422 W Congress St, Detroit
It’s the place to be before a Red Wings game, and it’s conveniently located directly across from Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings take the ice. The Stanley Cup has been to make an appearance at Cobo Joe’s back when the Wings won back-to-back championships in 1997 and 1998. This landmark building has a rich history and was known for being a speakeasy back in the day. Cobo’s has a cozy, friendly vibe and an extensive menu, specializing in barbecue and gourmet pizzas.
Cheli’s Chili Bar
47 E Adams Ave, Detroit
Hockey season over? No baseball tickets? No problem. Cheli’s is conveniently located across from Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.
Cheli’s Chili Bar is owned by former Red Wings defenseman and Hall of Famer, Chris Chelios, and it’s in the heart of downtown Detroit. Chelios frequently drops in and surprises fans and poses for pics; he’s also been known to hang out and catch a game with patrons on one of Cheli’s 36 flat screen TVs. Tigers fans get a birdseye view directly into the ballpark from the rooftop, which often leaves the rooftop bar packed with rowdy fans during Tigers home games.
During summertime games DJs spin dance music for fans spilling out of Comerica and into one of Cheli’s outdoor party tents. If you’re hungry, try a steaming bowl of Cheli’s original recipe chili and wash it down with a Michigan-made craft beer.
When it’s hockey season, Cheli’s scores big during hockey season by offering shuttle service to the Joe, located on the Detroit River. Don’t miss the awesome riverfront view of Canada on the other side!
Elwood Bar & Grill
300 E Adams Ave, Detroit
Elwood is a hotspot for fans to gather before, during, and after a football or baseball game; it’s a fun and funky destination that sits in all its art-deco glory on the corner of Adams and Brush next to Ford Field and Comerica Park. The party kicks off inside and spreads out on the patio and into the parking lot for great people watching, food and drinks. In warm weather, nosh on a burger from one of the outdoor grills and oftentimes live bands crank the tunes so fans can flock the dance floor of the attached parking lot.
Whatever game you’re going to, show your true fan colors by sporting a jersey or T-shirt from Gameday Detroit, in the busy tourist destination of Greektown. Like the name says, the store is only open during home games. They carry a wide variety of clothing and accessories for everything Detroit sports for fans young and old, male and female.
For more info: visitdetroit.com