Help Us Keep Reporting. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Detroit's storied Lindell AC sports bar returns as pop-up

Posted By on Tue, Mar 12, 2019 at 4:01 PM

  • Courtesy of Melodies & Memories/Detroit Historical Society

Before it was razed, Detroit's Lindell Athletic Club was a favorite watering hole for athletes, celebrities, and fans. And for one night only, Detroiters will have an opportunity to relive it.

"The Lindell," as it was affectionately known, will be resurrected as a pop-up on Saturday, March 16 at the Detroit Historical Museum to mark the opening of the museum's new exhibition, Lindell AC: America's First Sports Bar. The evening's festivities include photos and memorabilia recovered from the bar, sports trivia, catering from Midtown's Royale with Cheese, and a screening of the documentary film Meet Me at the Lindell.

Tickets are $75 for Detroit Historical Society members or $100 for guests and available here. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Detroit Historical Museum. The exhibition will be up until September.

The bar got its start when Greek immigrant Meleti Butsicaris purchased it in 1949 along with his sons Johnny and Jimmy when it was part of the Lindell hotel, and in 1963, the Butsicaris family relocated the bar down the street. According to a 1999 Detroit News article, "it was nicknamed the Lindell 'A.C.' — for Lindell Athletic Club — by legendary Detroit News sports columnist Doc Greene, who was poking fun at the highbrow Detroit Athletic Club. The name stuck as owners Jimmy and Johnny Butsicaris presided over one of the most famous sports-oriented saloons around."

The Butsicaris family decorated its walls with photos and sports memorabilia, and it quickly became a favorite for visiting athletes and celebrities, including Muhammad Ali and Jayne Mansfield. According to local lore, at one time a baby elephant was even invited to the bar where it made a huge mess — apparently, elephants shouldn't drink Coca-Cola.

The Lindell closed in 2002, where hundreds of people reportedly packed the bar for last call.

Get our top picks for the best events in Detroit every Thursday morning. Sign up for our events newsletter.

Tags: , , ,

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 27, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation