About a month ago, MT foretold of a shipping container bar that would come to Campus Martius, bringing with it frozen margaritas, craft beer, charcuterie plates, and Corridor sausage. It would set up alongside the park's faux beach, offering a unique summer in the city experience from spring until October. It would give metro Detroiters the opportunity to hit this urban oasis and sip a cold adult beverage with their toes in the sand.
Well, the Fountain opened over two weeks ago and it's everything we were promised. The 40-foot-long shipping container-turned-bar serves up snack-style foods, plus cans of New Belgium Fat Tire, drafts of Bud Light, and slushy frozen margaritas.
The concept is a great one: The bar beckons city workers, locals, and tourists alike to sit under shady umbrellas, enjoying warm temps and cold drinks. Its location allows for excellent people watching and its proximity to the park's music stage is ideal. For a brand-new establishment that's also an entirely new concept for the city, things seems to be going relatively smoothly. Of course, there are still a couple kinks to work out.
The service, while friendly, was slow and a little disorganized. As a former service industry worker, I get that working in a newly opened establishment comes with its own set of complications. But, if you've been open for two weeks and it's not busy, it shouldn't take 15 minutes to deliver a pre-made margarita and a can of beer to your table. Likely, though, these are kinks that will get worked out as employees find their footing and gain experience in this new venue.
Don't get us wrong. This place is really cool. Yes, you might have a little sticker shock when your $10 margarita comes to the table in a Dixie cup, but you have to remember that you're drinking in, arguably, the coolest place in downtown Detroit. In the downtown of any other major city in America, no one would bat an eye at these prices.
Evan Dawber, who's known for his work at Sugar House, the Keep, and other Detroit craft cocktail bars, heads up the beverage service at the Fountain, and he's created a menu of beach-style drinks that ensure both quality and speed of service, according to the Fountain's director of marketing, Kate Hill. He also built a menu that would be universally appealing.
"We have a nice representation of Michigan craft beers," Hill says. "But we also recognize what our guests want and we have a wider audience to accommodate. Campus Martius is an international attraction, so we have everything from Bud Light to Frankenmuth to Atwater. We have a really nice variety that will appeal to all of our guests."