The Town Pump Tavern is no spring chicken. In fact, next year the bar will turn 20. Owner Sean Harrington says the place has managed to remain a mainstay thanks to their reliability.
"We're a fun, good buddy that's always there for you, a bar should be like a pal," says Harrington. "At this point we've gone through generations, now we get the kid with a fake ID who was conceived in our parking lot."
Harrington knows that while their clientele is loyal, in order to remain relevant the bar has to keep upping their game. They've recently done some exterior renovations and this summer they plan to completely revamp their kitchen, making the space larger, more able to accommodate the masses that visit Town Pump Tavern on a weekly basis.
"People always say, 'You have surprisingly good food,' which, to me, is a backhanded compliment. It's like saying, 'You're better in bed than I thought you would be,'" says Harrington, who's always good for an ever-so-slightly off-color comment.
Town Pump Tavern's food is indeed better than your average bar food. The kitchen focuses on burgers and pizza, and we're particular fans of their loaded fries. They also have a fantastic selection of craft beer that pairs well with their edible offerings. Harrington says he also plans to roll out a new menu this week.
"We want to stay in the game and remain as relevant as we once were," he says. "It's hard to stay on top. As other places have opened up, we've become yesterday's news."
Of course, it's an arguable point to say the Pump is yesterday's news. Especially since every year a new generation of 21-year-olds is still discovering the iconic Detroit bar.
Other than great lunch specials, a new house music night every Tuesday, and a rotating cast of funk and rock bands every Saturday night, the Pump is also known for their annual Opening Day party. The huge, tented affair starts at 7 a.m. Monday, April 6 and runs until 11 p.m.
"This isn't our first rodeo," says Harrington. "We're getting bigger every year and this year we've increased our tent size."
He says they'll have an enormous circus-style tent and the plan is to project the game onto it so the score is available for all to see.
A full bar will be available both inside the bar and outside, so you won't be relegated to drinking draft beer all day long. Burgers and hot dogs will also be available for consumption.
The popular party has attracted upward of 1,000 metro Detroiters in the past, but Harrington doesn't like to focus on numbers.
"We'll be full of people," says Harrington. "But, we'll have enough room for you."
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