The opening of a new bar in metro Detroit is often an opportunity to pilfer some free food and drinks, reacquaint with people from the last opening and essentially see the same tried-and-true bar themes being trotted out and retreaded for another year or two. It’s like bar owners around here think we’ve never been to New York, or London or even Chicago for that matter, as the bars around here often exhibit little, if any, imagination or innovation. While our dance-club impresarios are marginally pushing the boundaries (yet also growing a bit stale in the process), other bars have remained fairly wearisome. Don’t get me wrong, I like a dive as much as the next guy, but sometimes we need something a little more, shall we say, refined. The Bosco, which had its opening in Ferndale last Monday night, has changed all that, drawing its inspiration from more cosmopolitan bars in more cosmopolitan cities (as opposed to, say, drawing inspiration from blue-collar cities, sporting events and beer pennants).
Arriving at the party, inadvertently dressed in a color-coordinated Bosco attire (shades of green) to match the undulating pseudo-suede-by-way-of-Sweden couch, I popped open a Sapporo, sampled a sake in those clever little decanters (picked up by co-owner Dan Haberman on eBay), and immersed myself in the Bosco experience. To hear co-owner Jeremy Haberman tell it, this place was essentially put together in the past couple of hours before the party, not that one could tell (although I did see a bartender buying soap at the Rite Aid down the street ... and olives for the bar were purloined from the Magic Bag next door). While there is still some fine tuning to occur (light fixtures, waterfall adjustments, wall coverings), nobody seemed to mind. The decor was indeed befitting of a super-cool chill lounge with a Thievery Corporation vibe, tile floors, blond wood, frosted glass, as well as the requisite waterfall in the back courtyard (how very feng shui). Tossed into the mix were the usual scenesters, fashionistas, minimum-wage celebrities and bibulous professional freeloaders of all shapes and sizes. Included therein were WDET-FM DJ/Magic Bag booker Willie Wilson; men with sandals (the aforementioned Haberman bros.), “Backstage Pass” hostess Ann Delisi, singer/songwriter Michelle Penn, Motor City Catering man Todd Stern, entertainment lawyer Mike Novak, Zumba taco peddler Tim Castaneda, as well as the multimedia coupling of WDFN-AM sports radio babbler Jamie Samuelson and Channel 7 reporter Christy McDonald, the latter of whom once sang backup in Jeremy Haberman’s band at MSU.
In any event, the Bosco aura provided the perfect backdrop for a summer Monday evening ... and, if you closed your eyes maybe you could convince yourself you were actually living in a more cosmopolitan city (and, I’m sure there are those who will take offense, arguing that, “um, Mr. Gossip Columnist, Detroit is cosmopolitan!” If you believe that, then I have an abandoned train station and bridge to sell you).
Maintaining the appearance of a civic-minded conscience is such hard work, especially when a bunch of grandstanding mayors get in the way. Last week, your humble and munificent columnist took part in some hard labor, Habitat for Humanity-style, at a west-side site off Michigan Avenue. Unbeknownst to those of us that were simply looking to do a good deed (for once), the house next to us was a giant prop for Mayor Archer and a slew of fellow mayors to engage in what was essentially a lot of hard-hat and work-glove modeling for the news crews. While our crew was under the impression that we could get some work done on our house, apparently the image makers didn’t want a lot of background hammering and yammering going on during the dog-and-pony show. While two of the three buses carting our nation’s mayors to the site supposedly got lost (or perhaps made a pit stop at MGM Grand Casino?), the remaining crew did do a modicum of work, although they skeedaddled out of there by 10:15 a.m., leaving the true volunteers to finish up the house bearing a placard “The House the Mayors Built.” Yeah, right.
I asked Mayor Archer where his hard hat was, but he didn’t really respond. Perhaps because, at the Compuware groundbreaking last year, I remarked that Archer wore a hard hat which appeared to be several sizes too small for his shiny pate, thereby evoking the image of a thimble perched on the tip of a test tube. Nevertheless, watching those mayors (all of whom were wearing hard hats) huff and puff and struggle to push up the wall of the house, I think Denny might want to reconsider, aesthetics notwithstanding. You wouldn’t want a wall falling on your naked noggin.
What was once a rip-off is fast becoming a bargain of sorts. What can this be, you ask? Why, nothing less than a Tigers game at Comerica Park, where multitudinous promotions are basically just letting in kids, as well as many seagulls, for free. If things keep going like this, soon they’ll be paying us to go to the games. In any event, I attended just such a game on a recent balmy Saturday, kids in tow, and had a thoroughly enjoyable summertime experience.
I don’t remember much about the game (I assume we lost), but Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds are certainly a nice diversion when short attention spans began to wane from the action on the field (most of the cheering in the section around me involved whether those seagulls in left field were going to get hit by any line drives). The cops outside the park, however are simply idiots, doing everything in their power to prevent me from going up Woodward Avenue after the game to the Majestic/Sgt. Pepperoni’s for some non-Little Caesar’s ballpark pizza. It was ridiculous, as I was diverted twice, both times with tortured explanations, and eventually ended up having to rocket up Cass Avenue, practically running over two hookers in the process. Now that’s family entertainment! Be forewarned. The cops patrolling the CoPa area have developed a reputation in two short years for writing up suburbanites for a plethora of moving violations, something which was previously unheard of in Detroit city limits. Along with parking nazis and tow trucks, it’s our own version of the Detroit Welcome Wagon. Welcome, stranger!Casey Coston writes here every other week. Got gossip, essential factoids or party invites? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the tip line at 313-962-5281. Press * then dial