When it comes to good food and great times, Hamtramck has plenty to offer. In this recurring column, we’ll take a look at the bars, restaurants and other events that can be found throughout the city.
By Ian Perrotta
You’ve probably driven by and checked out the young, good-looking crowd standing in the pulsating lights outside of 88th Avenue, but have you ever been inside? If not, it’s time get your priorities straight – 88th Avenue is one happening place, and it’s only getting better.
For anyone who hasn’t been inside 88th Avenue, located on Conant just south of Caniff, you’re definitely missing out. As a former restaurant, the establishment’s layout is very inviting and features a large seating area on one side that complements the long bar on the other. A DJ booth and spacious dance floor add to the energetic atmosphere, and an open, artistically spray-painted outdoor seating area – complete with a grill that kicks out some killer kielbasa – finishes off the building off.
Over the last few months, 88th Avenue has undergone some changes thanks to Arthur Stopinski, its new events manager. Stopinski has been working to revitalize the business by hosting theme nights, and judging by the recent “Rave Night” it seems to be working. On that particular night, the bar was transformed into a quintessential rave scene, complete with laser lights, techno music and glow sticks. The well-attended event was a hit with patrons and will likely be held again.
In the more immediate future, 88th Avenue will be hosting two Halloween-inspired events as a lead up to the holiday on the 31st. The first is Angel’s Night and is happening next Saturday (Oct. 16). As the name suggests, it’s an angel-themed night that encourages patrons to either dress in white or just come in and show off their heavenly bodies. DJ Scooter will be mixing the music, and anyone dressed as an angel will get in free. For the rest of the crowd it’s $7 for people over 18 and just $5 for those over 21.
The following Saturday (Oct. 23) is part two of the “Pre-Halloween Double Hitter,” only this time it’s Devil’s Night. The main difference is that DJ W!LDZ will be spinning the tunes and people will be dressed either as devils or just in red and black. The rest – good drinks and great times – will be the same. And as is the case in Angel’s Night, anyone who comes dressed as a devil/temptress will get in free. For everyone else, as the fliers say, it’s “$7 to come and just $5 to swallow.”
With a good level of success already under his belt, Stopinski says he’d like to keep the momentum going by throwing even more events, especially ones that other places either haven’t tried or haven’t thought of. He’s even begun to branch out to other bars in Hamtramck, and as a part of a collaborative effort with AV Entertainment and a few others, he’ll be hosting a monthly event every Sunday at Mars Bar called Fiasco. The first Fiasco will be held on Oct. 17, and if you iattend you can expect a creative and eclectic collaboration of artists and promoters that Stopinski says will result in a Sunday event like no other.
“Fiasco is a way to unwind and relax in a laid-back atmosphere with live entertainment by DJs and performance troupes,” he says. “But at 88th Avenue, every month I’ll try to have at least one or two events with theme-specific drinks. And I’ll have my shot girls dressed to impress.”
Since there’s more to this column than just bar talk, it’s only appropriate to mention a big change coming to one of Hamtramck’s favorite restaurants. Maria’s Comida – known as much for its friendly staff as it is for its chips and salsa – will be combining Head Chef Alan Pronko’s knowledge of Asian cuisine with its current Mexican offerings to create a new “Mex-Asian” menu that debuts Monday (Oct. 11).
We’ll have a lot more to say about that next week … Until then, Cheers!
Do you know of a cool bar, a great restaurant or just a nice place to hang out? If you have tips on special events or just want to shine some light on your favorite spot send a message to email@example.com or call us at (313) 874-2100.