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Cocktails Outside/Metro Detroit

So I'm meeting twin sis, BerkleyGail, for a birthday cocktail tomorrow night. I'm thinking an outside venue would be nice. Any favorites to share? Ciao!

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  1. Sit outside at A Matter of Taste in Commerce Township! It is right on the lake, which lake, i can't recall, but a fun atmosphere.

    1. 220 in Birmingham is a nice place to have a cocktail outside and do some good people watching...but it's a small area and fills up quickly.

      1. The back garden at The Bosco is supposed to be wonderful. La Dolce Vita (on Woodward near 6 in Detroit) also has a wonderful courtyard, one of my favorite places ever and a very cosmopolitan feeling crowd.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AmyIM

          So where is The Bosco? Both sound great.

          1. re: berkleybabe

            east side of woodward between 9 mile & 696

        2. Big Rock also has great outdoor seating in the summertime.

          1. If you are feeling old school , check out The Old Miami on Cass near downtown , a down and dirty proper Detroit bar , great live music most nights , a historic vibe , and the best backyard urban chill lawn I am aware of . The outdoor space is huge , nicely manicured , well lit , and surrounded by half buried bomb shells and a nice privacy fence . Once a haven for Vietnam vets , it's now a cultural melting pot where one can share a Pabst or a good martini with just about anyone . Bosco = pretentious saps . Just an observation from someone who happens to live in Ferndale . Find a real bar . Or pose with the rest of the crowd . Ditto 220 - overpriced snobbery . But then again I work for a living , so I value my precious dollars .

            1 Reply
            1. re: GoalieJeff

              GJ,
              Wow, that's a real throw back! Great idea--it's on the map for this summer!

            2. berkleybabe, you really in Berkley (me too, south of Alex's). Have you tried 24 seconds deck? I had their spinach dip which I realize is cliche by now but they did it very well.

              I know this is late for your meet with sis, but also for outside seating I like Camp Ticonderoga in Troy. Nice view of golf course.

              2 Replies
              1. re: coney with everything

                Yup, greater metro Berkley...I'm a little North of the lamented Baker's. Great idea for both...I had a super birthday dinner at CT years ago, still have the "I eat my roadkill" bumper sticker on my van.

                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Also sorry about Bakers. My hubby tried to single handedly keep them in business, I think, as he has a pharmacy's worth of prescriptions!

                  Glad you enjoyed CT. Have you checked out OMara's outside experience?

              2. Sorry I missed the actual occasion - but an outdoor patio that wasn't mentioned and shouldn't be missed is Como's in Ferndale - its large and friendly - with outdoor TVs and great pizza.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Ludlows23

                  Am I the only person who HATES Como's? The food is passable, but not enough to outweigh the crappy service. Seriously, every time I have been there it's been deplorable--like one member of our party not getting their food until even I was done and I eat slowwwlly, spilling wine on my friend's leather coat and not apologizing, etc etc etc. I have no idea how they stay in business -- the pizza's good, but I've had better.

                  1. re: AmyIM

                    Fear not, AmyIM, you aren't the only one. I've lived in Ferndale all of my life, and while I certainly *do* appreciate the work they've done in contributing to that particular corner of 9 Mile and Woodward, nothing about the food or service has ever made me say, "Oh yeah! Great place."

                    Quite the opposite, in fact. I've been lied to by the manager on duty (total wench), and like you, I think that their pizza is highly, *highly* overrated. If I want pizza, I'll travel the ~3 miles or so to Hazel Park and go to Loui's. Best stuff around.

                    I guess that Como's rests on the fact that they've got a nice, long bar in a bar-heavy destination for the drinking crowd, and that they're dug in to an overly-proud-of-itself "progressive" area that really caters to a crowd that I don't see eye-to-eye with.

                    I don't wish the place ill will, but I have absolutely *no* desire to give them my money, either. Not much redemptive about the place, but I do give them their proper due.

                    1. re: boagman

                      I've had better pizza, too, but I like Como's for doing my favorite pizza perfectly (onion, garlic, black and green olives, and feta cheese). I've not been able to find this combo at too many places when I'm snowbound. Is that overrated? I think not; I know I can get what I love without driving.
                      Yes, yes, we've all heard about Loui's.

                      The service at Como's? I have never had a gripe. Maybe you caught a server on a bad day/night?

                      I think Como's rests on the fact that they've been there a loooong time and on their reputation, (not on the long bar, which appeared in 1998 or so) and its pizza, veal dishes, "expected" Italian specialties, starters, outdoor seating [again, a later add-on], and service. A crowd you "don't see eye-to-eye" with? Yikes. What kind of crowd WAS this?! Did they throw spinach tortellini at you?

                      1. re: amandaqtpie

                        Amanda, really? You know, while I don't do much shopping around for pizza (already have my go-to destination), there has to be about an eight to one ratio of pizza places to people in this state. They're *everywhere*! For your favorite type of pizza, I wonder if Amici's in Berkley might not do your fave a bit better than Como's. If you're dead set on not driving, though, then yes: Como's would probably be your best bet in Ferndale. That doesn't mean that they're automatically "good."

                        About the service: it's based on several experiences, in fact, and it's never been anything better than *strictly average* on their best days. Lousy management does not help.

                        I was *dead shocked* that you'd mention their veal dishes. Surely you jest! Having tasted their veal, and having had some excellent veal in my day, I can tell you this: their veal is pathetic.

                        As for the crowd, it's really something that's specific to me. Certainly, I'm not part of the bar crowd, and the "progressive thinkers" in this area really bug me. This is me, not apologizing for that. Como's has done a nice job in pretty-ing up that corner of the intersection, and I give them full credit for it. But as a restaurant? Lousy. Thumbs down.

                2. Is anyone else intrigued by the sparse number of responses to this post? I mean, we in SE Michigan have some of the most disagreeable weather around--eight months of cloudy and damp, and then we have time for a few months of fun. Yet there really aren't that many places for this. Go to Montreal--the sidewalks everywhere are cheek-by-jowl with diners and drinkers in the summer. There are some places the posters here haven't hit--Ann Arbor has some nice outdoor spots for a drink on Main (and I think this is one of the biggest reasons people trek to AA--the food in these places is mostly no great shakes). And I like the roof of Tom's Oyster Bar in downtown Detroit (as long as you don't mind that, to quote Jake Blues, the trains go by so often you don't notice). But in general we're underserved with places to sit outside. Sounds like a good opportunity for some aspiring team.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Jim M

                    Well, for the most part, I don't do cocktails. I'm not a "let's go out and get a drink" kind of guy; I'm far more inclined to base my decision on where I'm going on the quality of the *food* that a place serves (thus, my recent fascination/substitution with Tavern on 13 when I'm needing a sports bar to watch a game). That's why I didn't really chime in with suggestions.

                    Besides, it seems that just about every place in Royal Oak that serves alcohol will do it on the patio.

                    1. re: boagman

                      For a really great (and likely pricey) meal in a nice outside setting, my favorites are Assaggi, Bacco, Il Posto, Via Nove, Mon Jin Lau, Big Rock, 220, Rattlesnake...

                  2. So. I missed the opportunity to make my suggestion. But the thread plays on, so I'm going to PUMP UP Howe's Bayou in the same block as Como's. They have "bistro" seating out front on the sidewalk on Woodward. Not my cuppa tea. But we've challenged the bar-meisters on cocktails on about nine visits there for dinner, and not been disappointed. I asked for a Sazerac cocktail on our first visit in 2005. They made it flaulessly. I order it every time we return. In our top 5 metro eateries.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Griller

                      Oh, good call. I completely forgot to mention this place, partly because I forgot about the outdoor patio area they had. Their food is darned good, as well as their drink-making ability (though I don't care for the house specialty "Hurricane"). Still, I'd spend all day here before I spent a moment at Como's. The difference between them is night and day in terms of overall quality.

                      1. re: boagman

                        Please , enough of the Como's bashing , already ! You don't like the " progressive thinkers " wink , wink , we all get what you are dancing around . But the place is packed more often than not , so they must be doing something right . I agree much of the food is so-so , it's Italian-American , after all , not authentic Amalfi coast type food , but the pizza is pretty good , and the sauteed calamari is tasty . Really its more of an atmosphere meet the gang for a few drinks type of place outside , you readily admit you don't do cocktails , but don't muddy the food discussion with skewed social commentary , there are plenty of posts at freep.com for that kind of garbage . All that said , Howe's Bayou does passable New Orleans inspired food and has a really nice bar . I have never sat outside as the concrete parade of Woodward is not really conducive to conversation or much of anything else .

                        1. re: GoalieJeff

                          Since I started this....the gay-friendly aspect of Como's is about the only thing I can stand.I just baffles me why the place is so popular. There are even better gay bars in Ferndale, if that's your scene!
                          And back on topic....I totally forgot about the rooftop at Tom's Oyster Bar. LOVE IT there.

                          1. re: GoalieJeff

                            That was uncalled for, Jeff. Read the very last things I wrote in the last two posts I made. Both summary statements were about the *quality* of the *restaurant itself*, rather than some sort of hidden homophobic (which I'm not) agenda. Hey, I admit it: I think homosexuality is wrong, but that hardly makes Como's the whipping boy of the Ferndale area, now does it?

                            No, I think Como's stinks because of the lousy food and service I've had there. That pizza you enjoy? I don't. The veal I've had? Edible, but not anything to write home about (and certainly overpriced). The service I've had? Average-to-bad. The prices there? Mid-range to above-average, based on the food quality.

                            I didn't like the Hurricane at Howe's Bayou, and it's gay-friendly, too. But I *do* like the po' boy, I like some of their takes on seafood, and I've enjoyed other cocktails there (just because I don't "go out for cocktails" doesn't mean I don't enjoy one or two with dinner once in a while). Plus, I like the more clubby feeling and atmosphere of Howe's Bayou. So that restaurant gets a thumbs-up from me.

                            Really, you ought to know better than to throw out a cheap shot like that. Whatever I believe, I call quality where I see it, and I call shoddy food, drink, and service where I see it, too. I'm pretty even-handed, and you darned well know it.

                            Why's it suddenly unfair to bash those things, just because I point out an aspect of the clientele that I find unappealing?

                            1. re: boagman

                              Because I don't know what bashing clientele has to do with food . You don't like it there , don't go there . Let's leave it at that . I'm not trying to start a flame war , I guess I'm just so damn weary of everyone online letting their prejudices soak into every single topic they feel the need to chime in on . You think Como's stinks , fine I don't care . I think we all get too worked up about every little thing we read online . Sorry if I got your knickers in a bunch , but I still don't think its a cheap shot , I call them like I see them too . Now can we drop the manner and agree to disagree and move on to something else ? I'll even start . What do you think of Soho down the street ? Or , what's your opinion of the food at Dino's ? And why don't they have outdoor seating ? See , it's easy . Let it go , man .

                              1. re: GoalieJeff

                                I can do that. Haven't eaten at Dino's, but the atmosphere of the place seems *really* swanky (and that can be a very good thing if the food quality matches). I really liked Bart's for breakfast when I went there (high quality breakfast grub). Soho's...you've got me at a loss, there, since I'm not even familiar with it. Where is it?

                                1. re: GoalieJeff

                                  (whispering) Can I jump in?

                                  I thinnk Dino's appetizers are great and on par with their wonderful drinks, but their meals are just eh. Not bad, not great. I think you'd do better to enjoy lots of nibbles to share with your dining companions than to order entrees. It's my favorite go-to place for a quick grownup drink and atmosphere and seems to draw a wide range of ages and hipness levels.

                                  1. re: AmyIM

                                    I agree . I refuse to start another Detroit area slider war , but Dino's slider appetizer plate is real tasty .I haven't really had any of their full meals , we usually go and order a bunch of different apps and sample away . For the record , Soho is on 9 Mile west of Woodward pretty much next to Nami Sushi . I have heard good things about the breakfast at Bart's , sadly , we either go to Big Boy for the kids on the weekends , or happily , go out for Vietnamese for everyone on the weekends . So we have not been to Bart's . Does anyone know what is going in with the space in Royal Oak that used to be Rumors ? That was a great outdoor venue , with the rooftop bar and the live music spilling out . Now it's a big empty space . I wonder what's going in there . And as for you boagman , sorry if I jumped all over you , but it has been a rough spring and summer . Lost jobs , sick children , wars , $ 3.25 gas , a broken gas grill , all adds up to daddy itching for a fight . I'm not fully letting you off the hook , but I'm much calmer now and am glad that we can discuss food related issues like reasonable adults . Because I presume that's what we all are . Maybe we can meet at Bart's on a Saturday morning . I can critique bacon all day long .

                                    1. re: GoalieJeff

                                      No problem Jeff.

                                      About the Space That Used To Be Rumors...they're doing some serious construction on that place now! It's all atwitter in boards and scaffolding and what-not. What it's going to be, I have no idea, but at least it's going to be *something*, now. Please, please, *please* don't let it be another restaurant owned by the Mr. B's company. Nor any chain. I could really go for something that represents Filippino or Indonesian or something like that, but I doubt it. It's just too big for such a venue/menu.

                                      1. re: boagman

                                        This is a reply to all of you, not just Boagman (aka, "Good stuff, Maynard!)
                                        If you all think it gets bitchy in here, try blogging or lurking on mommy sites....seriously.

                                        I'm writing because I LOVE BART'S! I love his antipasto salad and daily specials and the comfy feeling inside. Haven't been for brunch, because I am addicted to Hambo's pancakes. What do you recommend for brunch?

                                2. re: boagman

                                  Dont' pick on GoalieJeff about the veal! That was me.