The times are a-changin' — after more than 40 years of serving drinks and profanities, the "Queen of the Bronx Bar" is stepping the fuck down.At 69-years-old Charleen Dexter will serve her last drink Wednesday following a 42-year-long stint as Cass Corridor's sharp-tongued matriarch, citing health concerns as the reason Dexter has had to reduce her workload and shift frequency, and ultimately, retiring.
The woman who allegedly told a young Miley Cyrus off after ordering a "fresh-squeezed O.J." and the same women whose take-no-shit attitude was immortalized on a T-shirt earlier this year, expressed frustration in having to step away from a job title she's infamously held on to for more than half her life.
“I had a good run," she says. "but I could’ve lasted a few more years."
Dexter began waiting tables at the Bronx Bar in 1977 back when the surrounding area was, as Dexter put it, "a pimp-and-hooker haven." Given the many changes and the ongoing Midtown vs. Cass Corridor debate, Dexter revealed that she feels like more of a target walking home at night now than she did when she first moved to the area (she still lives only a block away from the bar.)
“People just looked out for each other,” Dexter says of the community, “They still look out for each other today, but not as much. Everyone is in a hurry to do this, get there, do that. It’s Midtown now.”
If there is one major takeaway from her various profiles over the years, this most recent Freep piece included, it's that Dexter served more than just drinks, she served as a beacon for the community, for students, and anyone in need of some tough love — whether they knew it or not.
But for Dexter, her job was simple: "bullshit people, keep ’em happy, keep ’em there as long as I can and don’t let ’em get too drunk."
So many restaurants, so little time. Sign up for our weekly food newsletter newsletter delivered every Friday morning for the latest Detroit dining news.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.