Burgers, Beer & Buses: Bar & Restaurant Shuttles to the Joe

By: Toni Cunningham | October 31, 2014
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Happy Halloween, Metro Detroiters! While plenty of us will be celebrating with costumes and tomfoolery tonight, others will be rejoicing a little differently: with a little Detroit hockey.

If you’re a Detroit sports fan, chances are you’ve taken a shuttle to or from a game before. I mean, I’m all about indulging in a little pre-gaming and then not getting behind the wheel of a car. If you’re heading to the Joe tonight, you’re going to want to consult the following list of “Top 10 Restaurants in Detroit That Offer Shuttle Service.” Keep this guide handy, because you’re going to want to refer to it all season long!

Nemo’s, 1384 Michigan Ave., Detroit, is a staple in the city of Detroit. Grab a Bacon Cheeseburger, Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Fish and Chips before the game, along with a few beers, of course. Then, catch the shuttle that begins an hour before game time and runs until 45 minutes after the end of the action.

Old Shillelagh, 349 Monroe Ave., Detroit, is another popular pre-game and post-game spot, for good reason. In addition to the regular dinner menu, the Old Shillelagh offers a special event day/pre-game menu packed with tasty options like The FAB (Frickin Awesome Burger with Colby Jack cheese, homemade mayo and bacon), Pulled Pork Sandwich and Grilled 3 Cheese (with Smoked Gouda, Swiss and Cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers and tomato).

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Head to the game via the shuttle, then take it right back to the Old Shillelagh post-game for the late night munchies menu! Try the Swanky Franky (a beef hot dog wrapped in bacon, topped with mayo, lettuce, tomato and American cheese), Oven Roasted Turkey Club or Corned Beef and Swiss.

Hockeytown Café, 2301 Woodward Ave., Detroit, obviously belongs on a list about Detroit hockey. The shuttle begins an hour and a half before the game, but you’ll want to spend plenty of time with the food and drink here before you go. Hockeytown Café has over 50 different beers to choose from, including 18 on tap. It’s a good thing you’ve got someone else to drive you, ‘eh?

As for food, try the Michigan Cherry Burger (topped with Traverse City cherries, Boursin cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion), Hockeytown Club (with ham, turkey, bacon, Vermont white Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and peppercorn aioli) or Grand Slam Pizza (a deep dish pie topped with pepperoni, bacon, sausage, ham, peppers, onions, mushrooms, banana peppers, black olives and the kitchen sink).

Jacoby’s German Biergarten, 624 Brush St., Detroit, is the oldest saloon in downtown Detroit. With at least one modern touch, in the form of a shuttle! Catch it both to and from all home Red Wings games. But first, feast!

The beer selection here is crazy big, including plenty of traditional German bier selections. The food menu includes “Haus Specialties” like Wiener Schnitzel and Lemon Caper Chicken, as well as sandwiches including a Cajun Chicken Breast Sandwich and Avocado and Three Cheese Sandwich (with Pepper Jack, Cheddar and Swiss cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato and red onion).

Sweetwater Tavern, 400 E. Congress St., Detroit, has three different shuttle buses that transport fans from the restaurant to the Joe. You can’t go wrong with the Sweetwater Wings, which are what this establishment is known for. Delivered fresh each morning from nearby Eastern Market, wings are marinated for 24 hours, then dredged and fried.

If wings aren’t your thing (what kind of sports fan are you?!), try the Sweetwater Reuben, BBQ Steak Bites (filet mignon marinated and grilled, served in a roll with coleslaw), or Homemade Meatloaf (another Sweetwater signature, served with mashed potatoes, veggies, salad and roll).

Fishbones, with locations in Greektown and St. Clair Shores, offers shuttle service from both. Keep in mind that the Detroit shuttle is free, while the St. Clair Shores shuttle costs $15 for a round trip.

Fill up on a New Orleans favorite like Pasta Orleans (fettuccine, shrimp, crabmeat, crawfish, mushrooms, green onion and tomato in a pesto cream sauce) or Pecan Crusted Catfish (served with an orange sauce). Whiskey Chicken, Filet of Beef Oscar (beef tenderloin topped with lump crab meat, served with asparagus and Béarnaise sauce) and the Lobster Po’Boy (with remoulade sauce, lettuce and tomato) are also great options.

Bookies Bar & Grille, 2208 Cass Ave., Detroit, begins its complimentary shuttle service one hour before game time and continues two hours after it ends. Keep this in mind if you plan on lingering at the Joe after the game!

Before or after the game, grab a Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Brunch Burger (topped with bacon, Cheddar cheese, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and red onion) or Italian Sausage Sandwich (served with sautéed peppers and onions on a hoagie bun).

Cheli’s Chili Bar, 47 E. Adams St., Detroit, of course offers shuttle service to the Joe. Grab a brew (or a few) and chow down on a Grilled Turkey Reuben, Cheli’s Coney Dog, Steak and Cheese Sandwich or Pulled Pork Sandwich. The latter is smoked for 14 whole hours, then doused in barbecue sauce and served on a bun with fried onions. Yum!

Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill, 624 3rd St., Detroit, was built over 170 years ago, and there’s plenty of fun to be had here before you get picked up and head to the game. Start off with some Macaroni and Cheese Bites, Deep Fried ‘Shrooms or Tommy’s Famous Whole Wings (available in regular or hot sauce) to share amongst your group.

When it comes to the meal, try Tommy’s Monster Club (with ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo), 1904 Dogs (two original style natural casing hot dogs), Grilled Cheese (add bacon and tomato!) or Tommy’s Favorite Chicken Pita. There are plenty of burgers to choose from, including Tommy’s Whiskey Burger (topped with homemade Jack Daniels barbecue sauce, Cheddar cheese, grilled onions and an onion ring) and Andouille Pretzel Burger (topped with Andouille sausage and Mexican blend cheese). All burgers are hand seasoned and come straight from Eastern Market!

Harry’s Detroit, 2482 Clifford St., Detroit, has plenty of beer flowing and great menu items. Make sure your stomach is full of more than just alcohol before you get picked up, so order some Applewood Smoked Wings (served with honey chipotle sauce), Rancho Bean Dip (pinto beans, Monterey Jack cheese, Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, shredded cheese and scallions served with tortilla chips) or Chicken and Biscuits for the table.

There are plenty of sandwiches, legendary burgers and entrees to order for dinner, including the Smoked Salmon BLT (topped with dried tomatoes, bacon, arugula, lettuce and mustard-mayo), Motor City Burger (topped with sautéed mushrooms, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomatoes) and Harry’s Detroit Famous Mac and Cheese (add bacon, grilled chicken, smoked chicken, blackened chicken or bronzed Cajun shrimp for an additional charge).

There you have it, hockey fans: plenty of opportunities to safely pre-game in Detroit. If you’re really dedicated, make it a goal to hit all of the above 10 locations this season. Have fun, and go Detroit!