Centaur offers sophistication and stiff drinks 

Harrington Way's class act

There's a stretch of city block just behind the Fox Theater known colloquially as Harrington Way. Neighbor businesses Town Pump Tavern, Centaur, and Hot Taco are all owned by Sean Harrington, a Detroiter who seems to have come up with a magic formula for creating a successful business in downtown Detroit.

Town Pump Tavern has a certain cozy, Ivy League feeling. It's outfitted mostly with wooden tables and chairs, and the menu is full of gut-busters like hand-tossed pizzas, loaded fries, and chunky burgers. Hot Taco, a quick-serve taqueria, offers the kind of giant burritos you crave at 2:30 a.m. And of the three, Centaur is the sophisticated sibling, luring in customers with its Art Deco environs and classic cocktail menu.

The three-story bar is an asset to the city's nightlife offerings. Close to the Fox, the Fillmore, and City Theater, it's a natural choice if you're looking for a place to grab a drink and a bite to eat after a concert or a stage production. It's classy, but jeans are perfectly acceptable, so even if you're coming from Comerica Park or Ford Field, you'll feel comfortable.

Centaur isn't the kind of bar that's cashing in on the craft cocktail trend. You won't find a list of drinks that take a half hour to prepare, nor will you find the sort of pretension that goes along with it. Martinis make up the majority of their offerings, and 'round this time of year their signature drinks offer warm flavors that perfectly complement the coming cold season.

Bartender PJ Thomas has said Centaur has one of the best liquor selections in the city and the collection of bottles stored beautifully behind the first-floor bar backs up that claim. With it, the staff can whip up just about anything you like. We do, however, humbly suggest you try their Bloody Mary, even if you're there on a Friday night.

Open at 4 p.m. daily, Centaur might just be the perfect meeting place for post-work drinks and a little something to nosh on. Happy hour runs until 7 p.m., when all martinis and house wines are $5 and draft beer and well drinks are $1 off. Appetizers (think mahi-mahi soft tacos, mini crab cakes, seared steak, or Moroccan lamb chops) are half off during this time too. Every Wednesday and Thursday select bottles and glasses of wine are half off.

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