A Walk on the Wild Side with Nolan Finley

Dec 16, 2014 at 5:50 pm

What a wild life Nolan Finley must lead! Judging by a recent, 107-word editor's note, Finley evidently wants to close the bars in downtown Detroit, but has a hard time finding one that will stay open long enough for him to drink his fill. Finley writes that

bars can already stay open and serve alcohol until 2 a.m., and almost none do. Most start stacking their chairs on tables at midnight or before, even on weekends. And just try to get a meal downtown after 10 p.m. that isn’t coney dogs or tacos. Having the right to stay open is one thing. Whether bars will actually stay open outside of a few big event weekends remains to be seen.

OK, obviously, we're kidding. Far from hanging out past midnight downtown, we wonder if Finley has hung out past 10 p.m. since, say, 1999. Heck, we wonder if Finley has visited a quorum of downtown Detroit bars since the 1980s. Where has Finley been going? Steven's Place?

Then again, to be totally fair, maybe Finley doesn't come downtown on the weekends, and prefers an after-work drink. In his defense, on weekdays, some places do close early. A place like Cliff Bell's will close at midnights on a weeknight, but even its kitchen is open until 11 p.m. Detroit Beer Company closes at midnights on weekdays, but stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends. 

Perhaps Finley hasn't been to Foran's Grand Trunk Pub, where the kitchen is open until midnight daily, serving great, locally sourced fare, and the bar is open and pouring until 2 a.m. every single night. He probably hasn't stopped in yet at Punch Bowl Social, which is open until 2 a.m. Maybe he dropped in on an off night at Park Bar, which is open until 2 a.m. every day except Sunday and Monday. You'd think old Nolan would at least be familiar with that old newsman's haunt called Anchor Bar, where the kitchen and the bar are open until 2 a.m., and the official closing time is 2:30 a.m. (with no drinks served after 2 a.m., of course). Maybe he's missed the newly revamped Checker Bar, which our newshound Ryan Felton says he's closed at 2 a.m., or the Old Shillelagh, which stays open until 2 a.m. every night, and keeps their kitchen open until midnight, later if a weeknight is hopping, and until 1 a.m. on the weekends.

Then there's Bookies, which is open until 2 a.m. every night, and the kitchen takes orders right up until that time. One of the joint's bartenders, Eva House, actually read Finley's piece and told me, "What the hell is he talking about? That's not true at all. I don't know where he's going to for that. We're usually putting the chairs up at 2:30 a.m. … if we can get everybody out of here. He's a little out of touch with his city here."

Not to be too hard on Nolan Finley. He's been stepping out recently, as evidenced by a recent piece bemoaning the lack of people of color in some of the newer attractions in town. All that said, perhaps he needs to get out a bit more.