Food of love

A short list of restaurants that serve music as well

Jul 20, 2011 at 12:00 am

$=$5-$10; $$=$10-$25; $$$=$25-$50; $$$$=$50+

Baker's Keyboard Lounge 20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit; 313-345-6300;; $$: Baker's bills itself as "the world's oldest jazz club," and, in the club's 75-year history, almost every jazz musician of national importance has played its bandstand. Baker's complements the music with some amazing down-home cooking, their catfish being a true showstopper. Live entertainment nightly, with metro Detroit's finest local musicians every weekend. This weekend they'll have Ed Stone on Friday night, July 22 ($5), and Tricia Moore on Saturday night, July 23 ($5).

Berkley Front 3087 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-547-3331; $: The Berkley Front is a mainstay in downtown Berkley, an American biergarten with an upstairs lounge. They serve American bar fare, to be sure, but chief among their offerings is a wide selection of beer. You can even have a hand-pulled beer, which draws cellar-temperature beer into a glass without all the CO2. You could pound these brews, but tend to linger over them, as they stay good even after getting warm on the bar. On Friday, July 22, see the Most Beautiful Losers with the Clay Adams Band. On Saturday, July 23, it's Nametag with special guests.

Bert's Marketplace 2727 Russell St., Detroit; 313-567-2030; $$: Anyone can show up here. Detroit's only late-night jazz club serving up Cajun catfish and red beans and rice all night long. Dozens of regulars turn up Wednesdays and Thursdays for the open-mic jazz jam sessions. Bert's serves the music fans bargain-price soul food from rows of steam tables; expect fixed prices for meat and two sides, or splurge on a whole slab of ribs. Perhaps best of all are the open-air serenades emanating from Saturday karaoke sessions while the market crowd bustles through.

Blue Goose Inn 28911 E. Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-296-0950;; $: This east side staple has been bringing a little piece of Memphis to Macomb County for years, featuring some of the Detroit area's best blues bands. The venerable restaurant serves a full menu of such tavern fare as steaks, pizza and burgers; lake perch is a house specialty. And live, rip-roaring blues can be seen and heard every night except Monday at the Goose. This Friday and Saturday (July 22-23) the inn hosts "Back Door Blues" and on Sunday (July 24) they'll have the Rick Stel Project, with Rick Stel on guitar, Mark Loduca on keyboards, Dave Marcaicco on drums and Marvin Conrad on the bass. Open until 2 a.m. daily.

Cadieux Café 4300 Cadieux Rd., Detroit; 313-882-8560;; $$: Feather bowling is not the only draw to this Belgian cultural hub. Cadieux Café combines European flair with a unique menu, and the current owners have furthered the popularity by bringing in live musical acts and staying open until 2 a.m. daily. So whether you are in the mood for steamed mussels, Belgian beer or Elvis impersonators (sometimes), this is the place for you. On Friday, July 22, check out rockin' three-part harmonies from the 7-piece band Tumbleweed Company. On Saturday, July 23, it's Area 51, legacy rock and blues from Detroit's east side.

Clawson Steakhouse 56 S. Rochester Rd., Clawson; 248-588-5788;; $$: You know you are in for a retro experience at this roadhouse-nightclub on Rochester Road, just south of Fourteen Mile. Opened in 1958, it has remained in that decade for several generations of locals who flock there to dine on beef washed down with highballs or red wine. Aside from the mildly pricey signature steaks and chops, other dinners, which include soup and salad, average around $16. And the more than 100-bottle wine list, four-fifths of which are devoted to red wine, offers many solid selections well below $30. From 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Wednesday-Thursday, and from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday-Saturday, you'll be able to dance the night away to the rhythms of the Mark James Band. The versatile three-piece, along with a vocalist, plays tunes from Tommy Dorsey for the early crowd, through Elvis, Motown, the Beatles, Latin, disco — and whatever else patrons might request. 

Cliff Bell's 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543;; $$: Stepping into Cliff Bell's is to arrive in another era. The eye is immediately drawn to a starburst pattern behind a stage generous enough for a big band to spread out but intimate enough for a trio, and six nights a week the stage features entertainment. The eclectic menu of small plates often complements the hand-crafted cocktails from the bar. But beyond the food, bar and decoration, it's the music that packs 'em in. Drop in Wednesday for the Open Organ Jam with RJ Spangler (no cover), Thursday for howlin' Hamtramck hooligan Dave Morrison and the Brombach Boys (no cover), Friday or Saturday for the Thaddeus Dixon Quartet ($10), or on Sunday for Jarrod Champion (shows at noon and 6 p.m.).

John Cowley & Sons Pub and Coolhenry Restaurant 33338 Grand River Ave., Farmington; 248-474-5941;; $$: Nestled next to an old theater with a bulb-lit marquee in downtown Farmington, "Cowley's" welcomes its patrons to enter both from the street and the municipal parking lot around back. Their menu has hearty American bar fare with a few nods to the cuisine of the Emerald Isle. Several beer options are on draft to accompany a meal — or facilitate a bender. What's more, they often have live music. Drop in between 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. on July 22 for a performance by Ricky C., a man with a guitar and a drum machine who can seemingly play any request the audience asks of him. 

Dylan's Raw Bar & Grille 15402 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-884-6030;; $$: Dylan's is in the original Tom's Oyster Bar on Mack near the Detroit border. The owners have retained the basic configuration of the handsome polished-wooden-walled establishment, with its lively lounge and two cozy dining areas, but they changed the decorations from nautical to musical. Although Dylan's refers to Bobby Zimmerman, pianist Marty Ballog, who plays in the bar five days a week (Wednesday-Sunday), is more at home with Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Ballog has held down the same spot for 25 years, isn't the only entertainment. On some Saturdays and Sundays, the bar will also host live bands, ranging from folk to rock. And on Mondays and Tuesdays, jazz combos often play. Dylan's is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.

El Comal 3456 W. Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-841-7753;; $: Elda Castellanos' Central American fare includes pupusas (tortillas filled with beans, cheese or pork or a mixture of all three) and chuchitos (miniature pork tamales), and is augmented with Mexican fare. With unpretentious setting and service, El Comal has great food at an affordable price. Their buffet offers a good selection, including, of course, pupusas, as well as menudo and Mexican, Colombian and Guatemalan tamales wrapped in corn husk. Though they'll often have DJs on weekend nights, their live musical interludes are brief but interesting: Mariachi bands play 2-4 p.m. Sundays.

Oak City Grille 212 W. Sixth St., Royal Oak; 248-556-0947;; $$: Oak City will have been open for five years in December, in the space formerly occupied by Woodruff's, providing traditional American cuisine at decent prices. Held over from old Woodruff's was the unique stage perched above the huge curving bar in the lounge area. There are usually performances five days a week. This week is no exception. On Wednesday, July 20, see crooning keysman Leonard Moon. On Thursday, July 21, it's the acoustic rock of Chad Hoffman. On Friday, July 22, expect modern rock from Joey Spina. On Saturday, July 23, vocalist Matt Kysia takes the stage. And come Tuesday, July 26, acoustic guitarist Billy Brandt strums for the crowd. 

Steak Hut 1551 W. Lafayette Ave., Detroit; $: There's nothing special about any particular diner. They all seem to have the same basic elements: counter, cheap food and, inevitably, one gravelly voiced waitress who's been there since the Carter administration. And Steak Hut, the little greasy spoon near the corner of Lafayette and Trumbull, doesn't seem to be any exception. That is, until Sunday mornings. That's when Steak Hut, a weekday quick-stop breakfast joint for nearby workers, is transformed into the place for students, unemployed punks and aging hippies to nurse their hangovers to live folk, bluegrass and jug band music. Open 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sundays, with music 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

See any inaccuracies in our listings? Please let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail [email protected].