New Center Park, Hot Club of Detroit, The Bronx Bar

6 Sep

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Detroit’s newest entertainment venue is New Center Park, located across from the fabulous Fisher Building on West Grand Blvd and Second Ave, this outdoor urban space is delightful! We went down for the Thursday Jazz & Blues; arriving about 10 minutes before the 6pm start time, street parking was plentiful, and there was no lack of wide open lawn seating. Orange folding chairs are available for your use, many bring their own or simply spread out a blanket. The amphitheater like park can easily accommodate hundreds on the gently sloping lawn. Tall trees provide needed shade while planters filled with flowers add color to the landscape, historic buildings make an eye catching backdrop for it all. Activity surrounds the park, cars drive up and down the boulevard, dogs are being walked by owners curious to see what the all the activity is about, nurses from nearby Henry Ford Hospital have a listen and a snack before heading home.

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Hot Club of Detroit was the evenings entertainment, they are incredible! Their music is pure pleasure for your ears, to watch them play a thrill for your eyes, the guitarists play with amazing speed. They had a female vocalist join them for this performance; she sang in french as her crystal clear voice got carried away in the gentle wind of the summer evening. It was one of those blistering hot days that transforms into a perfect night; cool grass beneath your feet, intoxicating music filling the air, time passes easily.

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Opposite the stage is a bar; enclosed on all sides by glass doors this paprika colored room offers bar and table seating, restrooms are found here too. The alfresco cafe menu is perfect for the venue; appetizers like chips and salsa, crudites and dip or hummus with pita wedges, also available are four sandwiches, salads and nachos, and of course a full bar. Food and beverage purchases are what support the facility and allow all the entertainment to be FREE, no coolers here. New Center Park hosts a variety of events such as the Wednesday Lunch Series, Wednesday Night At The Movies, and Thursday Jazz and Blues, check the website for details.

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The Bronx Bar is a Midtown mainstay, located on Second Ave, word is they have great burgers. It was still kind of early for the bar crowd to file in, so we thought we’d drop in. Walking in your  immediate observation will be that it is dark, very dark, but once your eyes adjust you notice the personality of the place; vintage ceramic tile covers the walls, the wood is stained dark and varnished in high gloss. Posters of Jean Harlow and Raquel Welch compete for every males attention. Tiffany lamps hang from the ceiling providing only dim light. The side by side jukeboxes are legendary for the wide variety of music selections.  Order at the bar and then have a seat, wanting to soak up as much of the pleasant evening as possible we sat outside. Before long our food arrived; a club sandwich with turkey shaved thin and piled high, crispy bacon, mayo, lettuce and tomato served on a delicious bun. The blackbean burger was out of this world; a slice of pepperjack cheese to give it a kick, next a stack of spinach then topped off with sliced ripe tomato, a wonderful mix of flavors. Unable to decide between fries and onion rings we got a half order of each; the fries were fresh cut, crispy and delicious, the onion rings were the small rings fried to a perfect crunch. Definitely a step above your average “bar food”, many items are homemade. Bronx is within walking distance to Wayne State and seems to be a popular hang out for students and hipsters alike. Most weekends you can’t even get in the place, if it seems like someplace you’d like to try I’d say the earlier the better. Prices are fair, portions are good and the bartender was helpful and friendly. 

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