By Ian Perrotta
Last weekend Small’s Bar had a big anniversary. The local hotspot celebrated 10 years of business in Hamtramck.
Celebration festivities included a killer line-up showcasing some of the area’s best talent. Legendary Detroit band Almighty Lumberjacks of Death played to a packed house on Friday night and on Saturday the Hentchmen, the Muggs and Shakey Jakes took the stage.
“The best part about having a bar in Hamtramck is that this is an entertainment town,” says co-owner Melody Baetens. “I think it’s important that our city’s leaders and residents realize that keeping Hamtramck’s entertainment industry alive and healthy is key to bringing in visitors – and their money – from all over the area.”
For the past decade, Small’s Bar has done just that. The intersection of Conant and Caniff has become the place to have a good time and has been featured in Maxim, Blender, and Travel & Leisure magazines. The venue also has the distinction of having the “Best Sound and Lights” and being the “Best Small Venue to See a Big Band,” honors bestowed by the Metro Times and Real Detroit, respectively.
And thanks to a new closed-circuit television system, you can now watch your favorite band right from the bar—a good thing, too, considering who’s on the other side. Like Baetens, co-owner Natalie Mouyianis also doubles as bartender, only this master mixologist was crowned last year’s champion of Real Detroit’s War of the Pour competition. If the taxis in Hamtramck ran at night she would give them a lot of business.
In the future, Small’s hopes to continue to bring in the best live acts possible and also start some traditional neighborhood bar activities, such as karaoke (Mondays) and trivia (9 p.m. sharp on Tuesdays). It’s all part of helping Hamtramck have one of the best bar scenes around.
“I love living and having a bar in Hamtramck, because the people who live here and play here enjoy a good time,” says Baetens. “On any given Saturday night you can hop from seeing a national band at Small’s, to a great local show at Belmont, to a raucous sing-a-long at Whiskey in the Jar, to dancing your butt off at White Star, to whatever it is they do over at the Shadow Bar.”