Rx: Drink at the Bronx Bar

Some cold dark winter days are nothing if not un-motivating. Cleaning your house seems pointless, errands can wait and work is just not happening. That’s when you head up to a friendly neighborhood saloon and engage in an epic drinking session.

There are some important things to consider when deciding where to belly up for a multi-hour stint that can see day turn to night and bartenders change shift. Take notes.

One: Food is good. You’re not going to want to go pick up carry out, or make any other strenuous effort towards eating, so the easier it is to procure said nourishment the better. Alternately, the kind of bar you should be in would let you order pizza.

Two: Music is a must. A good jukebox is ideal, but a savvy bartender with a respectable CD collection or iPod works too. Sports days, substitute TVs for music.

Three: Tolerant and/or entertaining clientele is imperative. This can go two ways. You want people that either ignore you as the fixture you are slowly becoming or those that are heading in that direction right along with you. Some of the best bars for all-day benders are those that have dramatic shifts in crowd because of events, thus providing much-needed stimulus to stool gargoyles.

There are lots of great drinking establishments in Detroit that fit all or most of these criteria, some on specific days of the week – to wit, Vivio’s upstairs on Saturdays and Jumbo’s on football and baseball Sundays. But one stands out as a solid, dependable bet any day of the week: The Bronx Bar. So allow me to wax poetic about lazy hazy days whiled away under its influence.

The Bronx, located on Second Avenue at Prentis has been around for a long time. It has gotten something of a facelift in recent years and has evolved into way more of a college bar than it ever used to be – and that is not a criticism, just an observation.

The most striking thing about The Bronx is probably its lack of illumination. It’s one of the darkest bars I’ve ever been in, although during the week it’s brighter, presumably to aid in studying. But after 7 p.m. or so on weekdays and pretty much all day on the weekends, it is Dim with a capital D.

This helps immensely. It protects your vision and renders everyone a few degrees more attractive. Plus, when the drink starts to affect your appearance – bloodshot, squinty or droopy eyes are all common side effects of sustained bouts of drinking – it is far less noticeable than it would be most other places.

How about those drinks? The Bronx’s are fairly priced, starting with bottom-barrel Old Milwaukee for $2. A beer and a shot is a standard order here, and as far as mixed drinks go, I’d recommend thinking simple and classic. On weekends, there’s a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar, which is often a good place to start a long day.

The food menu is way above standard bar fare. Soups are great – the cucumber that is a Bronx staple is delish
as is the chili. Burgers and the veggie sandwich are both top-notch. Pancakes are available on the weekends and on Sundays, a steady stream of bacon is placed before you. Who needs peanuts?

The Bronx has two – AKA, dueling – jukeboxes, both of which are stocked with an amazing array of tunes, ranging from country to rap to jazz to rock to soul. Many Bronx customers have fairly decent taste in music, so you might not even have to spend your precious quarters there – save ‘em for the pool table instead.

The Bronx’s bartenders and staff are part of the establishment’s charm. Not too nice (a cloyingly sweet bartender is the worst), but not total assholes either. Same goes for the clientele. If you want to be left alone, you will be – if you feel like making a new bar friend, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Oh, one last thing: program 313-841-6000 into your phone. It’s the number to Detroit Cab. You’re welcome, and have a lovely drankin’ day.

Kelli B. Kavanaugh
took a break from writing Development News for Model D to investigate the Bronx Bar. Thanks, Kelli, for taking one for the team.


Shooting Pool at the Bronx

The Twin Jukeboxes

An Irregular Regular, Jake Wilson of Cuckold

Joey Joey Joe Shabadoo, Bartender

All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger

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