Downtown Detroit bartenders talk baseball and Opening Day

ERIC SEALS/Detroit Free Press

As fans gear up for Opening Day, bars around Comerica Park and old Tiger Stadium are bracing for the huge crowds expected to flood downtown Detroit. We asked players in the industry — everyone from bar owners and managers to bartenders — to share their thoughts on the unofficial Detroit holiday. Here’s what they said.

McShane’s Irish Pub and Whiskey Bar — Co-owner Bob Roberts, 42, Ypsilanti

How long have you worked at McShane’s (formerly Hoot’s on the Avenue)? My partners and I just took over the bar in January, but we have been in the bar business for over 15 years.

How many Opening Days have you been a part of in Detroit?I’ve only been to one Opening Day in the old ballpark and have only made it inside Comerica Park twice, but I have been celebrating Opening Day for over 25 years. Lately, my friends and I use it as a day to enjoy the city and then we catch the next game day in the park.

What’s your favorite thing about Opening Day? For me, it’s definitely the people and seeing how alive the entire city is. On Opening Day, everyone is a Detroiter.

And to take a deep breath, put on a big smile and take a moment to look around and reflect what it must have been like back in the day to see crowds like this up and down Woodward on a daily basis. I love this city.

Do you have any memories from past Opening Days? Actually, the past couple of years have been great Opening Days for me. My best friend and business partner Sean McShane’s birthday always falls around Opening Day, so we use it as a way of celebrating. We get a couple of hotel rooms — friends travel from as far as Florida every year — and we party. We travel around the city going from bar to bar, sharing a couple of appetizers and hopefully a Michigan beer, searching for a place we have never been — usually a really good dive bar.

What do you think of the Tigers’ chances this year? Well, obviously, you have the return of Justin Verlander and a new Prince of the city and, overall, some good bats and a deep bullpen. But for me, it’s more than that. I think it’s the skipper and the culture he has developed. Jim Leyland carries with him a love for the game, a love for his players and a love for the fans and the city of Detroit. Honestly, this love is palpable when you watch him go out and give his pitcher a hug at the end of the game, when he steps out of the dugout to defend a player and certainly when he answers questions by the media. The bottom line is, he has created a culture where his players will do anything for him and he wants to win the World Series for the city of Detroit.

McShane’s Irish Pub and Whiskey Bar, 1460 Michigan, Detroit. 313-961-1960.

Sports bar CJ Mahoney’s will debut in Detroit on Opening Day

It makes sense for a bar that prides itself on sports to make its debut on one of the biggest Detroit sporting days of the year.

Tom Everson, owner of the 3-year-old CJ Mahoney’s in Troy, will unveil his newest sports bar in Detroit on Opening Day. “We just think that Detroit has a lot of activity, especially in sports. There’s no town in the country that has sports teams like we do,” he said.

The bar will be housed at 1340 Broadway (former home of club Lot 1210) for Opening Day, though its permanent location has not been set.

“We’re negotiating on a couple locations that we hope will come through for us,” including the 1340 Broadway property, Everson said.

CJ Mahoney’s will serve up finger foods like hot dogs and chicken wings from its Detroit location today.

“There’s going to be an enormous amount of people down there,” Everson said. “It will be great exposure for us.”

Source: Ese Esan, Detroit free Post


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