Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Originally published in D-Tales here.

Last Thursday I was forced to go to Black Finn Restaurant & Saloon in Royal Oak.

Please know that this is a place I never ever ever would have elected to go of my own volition.

This is, quite possibly, the Worst. Bar. Ever.

Black Finn is pretty much the new trendy hang-out of Royal Oak. No more Woody's, no more O'Tooles, no more Fifth Avenue (all awful in their own special and unique Royal-Oaky ways), no...now it's all about Black Finn.

Because it's a bit trendier, and a bit prettier, and a bit glossier. Because all the artsy types who remained in Royal Oak for some time, clinging onto their memories of better pre-loft-development days, have finally sucked it up and moved to Ferndale; and because all the kids who moved to Royal Oak immediately after graduating college are now grown and have money and are looking for something a little more "posh" than the shitholes (like Woody's and O'Tooles) they used to hang out at. And also because waiting in line to get into a bar makes white people feel important (this is the only explanation I can come up with--it's the same phenomena I've witnessed at Main Street Billiards in Rochester...it's really not that great of a bar, yet people line up around the block and even pay cover to get in). And note, I said bar. Not club. Bar. Waiting in line to get into a bar. See also: St. Patrick's Day.

Now mind you, Black Finn is a straight-up bar. The interior is all oak, there's a bunch of plasma TVs to watch various sporting events, they have drink specials for all Tigers games, and there's a side seating area when you can sit down and eat their straight-up bar food. Aside from some fresh fish and steaks on the menu, it's mostly classic American bar-and-grill fare--lots of sandwiches and salads and starters, some with the occasional interesting twist but most pretty straightforward. Not unlike Mr. B's. And Royal Oakiphiles love Mr. B's. I never understood why.

There is much about Royal Oak I don't understand.

Such as why all the mid-twenty-to-thirty-somethings get all done up to go to a bar. Not club. Bar. A sports bar. A sports bar in a city with a glut of sports bars on a night when there are no sports on and the music consists of tracks from Michael Jackson, the "YMCA," and pop/rap songs popular last summer. And they wait in line for 30-45 minutes to get into said bar just to stand 5-deep at the bar and not be able to get a drink and get constantly jostled around by men with far too much hair product and women wearing halter tops and stilettos at a sports bar.

And I almost hate admitting this, but the men were kind of hot. In that "You're pretty to look at but the minute you open your mouth I will want to punch you in the face" kind of way.

No wonder I'm single...

Afterwards I ended up at my kind of sports bar: The Well. $2.00 Labatt Blues and Blue Lights and only five other people in the bar.

Why do I ever leave Detroit?

Black Finn--don't go. Do not do not do not do not. It's a terrible, awful, dreadful place FULL TO THE BRIM with Royal Oak douchebags. If you must be in Royal Oak...and by this I mean your car broke down and none of your friends can come get you and you don't know how to find the SMART bus or call a cab...go to Town Tavern at least. Phenomenal food, good drinks, and only ranks at a Yellow Alert on the Douchebag Advisory System.

Unless you like that frat-party-for-30-year-olds feeling. Then that's all on you.

As for me...I would have much rather been at the Lager House catching the free Sik Sik Nation show, but I wasn't. I was at Black Finn instead. *cough*