When you don't have tickets to a game, access to countless flat screens and a view of the giant stone tigers that guard the front gates of Comerica Park isn't a bad backup plan. Cheli's Chili couldn't be any closer to that Kentucky bluegrass, save if it was inside the stadium, and there's no place closer to enjoy a brewski and a burger before, after, or during a game.
The three-story bar offers two floors of indoor seating as well as a rooftop deck and an outdoor seating area on the ground floor. Though this place is owned by former Red Wing Chris Chelios, it was built for baseball fans (oh, and we suppose one might argue football fans too, but it's a few months too early to talk about that.)
While it's throwing distance from the Tigers' park, the place is decked out in all sorts of sports memorabilia. Hockey jerseys hang from the ceiling encased in glass, football helmets sit behind the bar. An "Eat 'Em Up Tigers" poster is tacked to one of the enormous wooden Corinthian columns that decorate the bar. Everywhere you look there are TVs playing sports.
The menu isn't huge at Cheli's. Of course you can get chili, but there are also sandwiches, burgers, chili dogs, salads, and nachos. That's pretty much it when it comes to what you'll be coating your gut with before getting to the beer drinking. And there is plenty of beer to drink. You'll find requisite brews like Miller, Bud, and Pabst Blue Ribbon, but their craft options are plentiful too. Their list includes Atwater Dirty Blonde and Vanilla Java Porter, Bell's Oberon, Founder's All Day IPA, Dark Horse Raspberry Ale, Shorts Chatterbox American Ale, Saugatuck Starburst American Wheat, and more.
You can expect this place to be packed during a game, but lunch on a regular afternoon is a pretty relaxed affair. We must warn you, though, unless there is a home game and special event happening downtown, Cheli's closes at 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. If you have a hankering for some of that famous chili, you'd better make there for the midday meal or you'll have to wait for the weekend.