Posts Tagged ‘1999 Tavern’

I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this before, probably in the context of watching college football games.  I have slightly different feelings about my favorite places to watch a game in the city, so I figured I’d tackle this topic again.

Admittedly, I’ve not watched a sporting event in every single bar in town.  They all have TV’s so pretty much any bar is a “sports bar” of sorts.  But, I’ve been checking out new (to me) places during this playoff run the Wings are in (which, sadly, is probably going to be cut short.)

Right in the city, my thoughts about some of the more well-known bars are:

The Box Bar — The Box is a great bar as far as drink variety and menu are concerned.  There are two huge projection TV’s and some smaller TV’s around the bar.  But, I think it’s actually kind of hard to watch a 3 hour game there considering the way the TV’s and seating are laid out.  Projection TV’s also have lousy pictures.  The Box is also just a smidge pricey.  On a 1 to 5 star scale, I give sports viewing at the Box 2.5 stars.

Doyle’s Tavern — Doyle’s is intimate and there is plenty of good seating in front of or around the few screens they have.  It also has the covered patio with a TV if you want to sit “outside” to catch the game.  Doyle’s isn’t necessarily the most comfortable place to park for hours, but the drink prices are really good.  I think Doyle’s is the best value in the city in terms of drinks and isn’t that what you want if you’re going to watch a game at a bar?  4 stars.

Hermann’s Olde Town Grille — Hermann’s has good food and plenty of seating around TV’s.  It’s a cool place as well.  I would like it better if the drinks were better priced.  Admittedly, I’m a bit of snob as far as alcohol goes, so specials on cheap domestic beer don’t get factored into to my feelings about a pub.  I don’t drink Bud Light so it matters not to me if a place runs specials on it.  Having said that, I was a tad disappointed that I paid for a double glass of whiskey only to see that it wasn’t, to my eyes, a double pour.  If it was a double pour, the single pour is awfully small.  The price would’ve been great had there actually been 2x the amount of booze in the glass.  Doyle’s has Hermann’s beat for pours.  For that reason, I rate Hermann’s 3.5 stars.

1999 Tavern — Unless you catch the game out in the “garage,” on a nice summer or fall day, the tavern’s really not the best place to catch a game.  It’s a nice pub and restaurant.  I love their chicken.  But to watch a game at a place, I want to like more than the food.  2.5 stars.

Ironwood Grill — In my humble opinion, the Ironwood doesn’t know what it wants to be.  The decor suggests that the place is a slightly upscale bar.  But there are TV’s all over the place and it’s a noisy place to eat.  To watch a game there is fine, but there’s something about it that doesn’t draw me in for that reason.  It just seems like an odd fit.  2.0 stars.

Sean O’Callaghan’s  — Sean’s is the best place to be for a sport popular across the water, like soccer or rugby.  I’ve seen some Wings games there and I didn’t necessarily like the vibe.  It was the place to be, though, for last year’s World Cup matches.  I was lucky enough to get in there to see USA-England, which was quite a match.  For that experience, alone, I give Sean’s 3.5 stars.

Just because a place has a bunch of TV’s does not mean I want to try to watch a game at it, especially not start-to-finish.  It seems like all restaurants these days have TV’s all over the place.  That’s something, actually, that I find disappointing.  Sometimes it’s nice to eat in a quiet setting where there is little outside stimulation.  I guess we no longer just eat these days.  We have to be entertained constantly.

When you want to catch a game, though, all those TV’s can come in quite handy.  If you like getting out for a game and a drink or two, and you want to keep your money in town, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the place I mentioned.  Some are just better than others.


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plymouth_chili_cookoffOur family was able to attend the Chili Cookoff today.  My in-laws came in for the afternoon from out of town, my daughter had a new friend to hang out with and we spent a pretty nice day — except for 10 minutes of rain — downtown.  It was a really nice day and, as usual for the Chili Cookoff, we had some great food.

I have to admit, though, that the private entry portion of the Chili Cookoff was poorly set up, at least as far as I was concerned.  The chilis available at “The Gathering” were only available in stages, some at 1:00, others at 3:00.  We passed more unavailable chilis than available ones.

To be honest, there wasn’t a single private entry chili that really blew me away.  One green chili we had was pretty good.  Another entry was downright awful.  I couldn’t even tell what the meat was and the cooks/participants would only tell me it’s a “secret.”  There’s nothing worse (at an event like this) than eating very gamey “secret” meat.  The cook joked that it was “squirrel meat” and it certainly tasted like what I would imagine squirrel to be.

The restaurant entries, like last year, were pretty good.  I did not have the Picnic Basket’s entry because I eat that chili once every few weeks.  It is part of their daily menu.  The two chilis I enjoyed the most were from the Penn Grill (more known for its partying than chili) and from the 1999 Tavern.  In fact, 1999 Tavern’s recipe got my “people’s choice” vote (all 3) and I purchased a bowl of it.  But Penn Grill’s recipe was a close second.  My family members voted for that.

I do not know if either the Penn Grill or 1999 Tavern carry chili as a regular menu item. If they do, and you like chili, I recommend you give theirs a try. Don’t forget that the Picnic Basket’s chili won an award last year. You can’t go wrong with it’s recipe, which is available daily.

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Next Sunday is, yet another great Plymouth event, the Great Lakes Regional Chili Cookoff.   Set to take place on October 4 downtown Plymouth, this is the 14th annual event.

There are two categories of cook-offs.   Private cooks bring their own recipes and compete head-to-head to see who makes the best red chili, green chili and salsa.  Samplers will be able to participate in the “People’s Choice” voting.  Judges will also select their favorites.

Additionally, there is a “Restaurant Chili Challenge” set to take place that day from 11 am to 5 pm in Kellogg Park.  Last year’s “People’s Choice” winner was 1999 Tavern and the “Best Judged” chili was made by The Picnic Basket.  I remember them both and they are excellent chilis.  In fact, The Picnic Basket still sells their award-winning chili (you can get it by the gallon.)

For those of you that are interested in motorcycles, there is also a bike show taking place downtown simultaneously.

For more information, check out the event’s official website.


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If you’re coming from out of town or live in town but hadn’t planned out your visit to the ice sculpture show, may I recommend a few places for food and drinks?

If you’re going to be around in the morning and want breakfast, head over to Crawford’s Kitchen on Starkweather.   It’s not downtown so, on a cold day, you may not want to walk from there to the ice sculptures.  But it’s very close drive (too close to drive in nice weather) from downtown.  The food is fresh and prices are reasonable.  Crawford’s is on Starkweather, just north of Main Street, about a 1/4 mile east of the downtown area.  You’ll find it in Old Village.

For lunch (if you’re not counting calories), I cannot recommend highly enough The Burger Spot, which is downtown and only about block from Kellogg Park.  TBS has fantastic burgers and hot dogs and scrumptious (haven’t used that word in years) french fries. You will pay about a dollar to two dollars more per burger there than at a fast food joint, but the burgers are excellent with many varieties from which to choose.  If you’re feeding a family, just share a basket or two of fries.  They go along way. Here’s TBS’s website. http://www.burgerspot.net/

If you just want a nice cup of coffee or some hot chocolate to warm you up, head over to the Coffee Bean on Penniman, near Harvey.  It is only a block away from Ice Spectacular.  The Bean has been voted Detroit’s Best Coffee Shop and I couldn’t agree more.  The Bean will probably be busy.  But it’s worth the wait.  There are some chain coffee/bakery places downtown, but the coffee, in my opinion, is better at the Bean.  Besides, the local business would appreciate your support.  Here’s the Bean’s webpage. http://www.plymouthcoffeebean.com/

If you’re around for dinner, there are plenty of places to eat.  If you want a more upscale type of bar food, check out either O’Callaghan’s on Penniman or 1999 Tavern on Forest.   O’Callaghan’s is a building away from Main, so it is closer (just a little) to the action.  If you want bar food and a hundreds of beer choices (literally), the Box Bar is on Ann Arbor Trail, right across from park.   There are two Italian eateries on Main, just across from the park.  Fiamma is more of an upscale restaurant. http://www.fiammagrille.com/ and Compari’s, right next door, is slightly more casual atmosphere http://www.comparisdining.com/ Both are great choices if you’re not trying to save a few dollars.

Have fun at the Ice Spectacular.

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1999 Tavern is one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat downtown.  It is laid back like a sports bar but looks like a fine steak house.  If you want a warm, casual atmosphere, be seated in the main dining area.  If you want to have a beer or two and catch a game, grab a seat at the bar or out in the “garage.”

I confess that I have only tried a handful of items on the menu, but I’ve loved everything there I’ve sampled.  I loved the half barbecued chicken dinner and the pulled pork sandwich.  The serving sizes are generous.  The prices are reasonable.  You can get a good meal for $10 to $15.

The bar has a good liquor selection.  To my eye, there did not seem to be a lot of variety in draught beers.  I confess to having never asked about the Tavern’s selection of bottled beers.  The Box Bar has so many different beers — hundreds! — that I have not paid a whole lot of attention to the beer selection elsewhere in town.

Most of the time, the service has been great, and I’ve never had anything less than at least adequate service.  Like any other restaurant, some waitstaff there are better than others.  Based on my experiences, I would be surprised to ever hear any service “horror stories.”

Good atmosphere.  Good service.  Good prices.  Good food.  Thumbs up!

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