Friday Night Bug Juice


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Welcome to Friday Night Bug Juice, a Metro Detroit bar review site. We're here to give you a look into the dive bars of the Detroit area, so you can hopefully spend your cash wisely, and get a little insight into the lives of a couple of hapless irish louts.


Welcome to the section of our site where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know and way too much more about the gang that works hard ruining their livers to bring you all you need to know about the dive bars of the Metro Detroit area!


Growing up, I didn’t show a lot of respect for the material things I was given by my parents, a truly horrible characteristic exhibited by a truly horrible teen.  Perhaps my most horrible disrespect was that shown to the 1974 Ford Maverick I was given for transportation.
   When my dad decided I should use this car, he was nice enough to send it to Earl Scheib (remember him?) for painting.  I believe Earl charged $29.95 for his “efforts”.  Almost no prep work, very little in the way of taping off, and a finished product that looked like it cost $29.95.  Upon picking up my beige eyesore, Earl’s henchman informed me that the finish was fresh and the car should be parked for at least twenty-four hours to allow it to set.
   That was a problem.  I was driving a group of stoners to a Roxy Music concert that night, one advertised on the local radio station as being “just outside of Toledo”.  The forty-five minute drive to Toledo would compromise the finish enough, but the two hour drive to Defiance College on the western edge of Ohio, where the concert actually was to take place, was pissing in the face of Earl Scheib’s craftsmanship.

   I don’t remember much about the concert, but I vividly recall the condition of my freshly painted Maverick the next morning.  Every stone, particle of dust and bug encountered going to and from Defiance College became a permanent part of the finish, creating an interesting texture.  
   Soon after ruining the exterior, I turned my attention to killing the interior,  First to go was the bucket style passenger seat.  The locking mechanism that prevented the seat from moving at will broke.  Sometimes we would see how fast we could get each other moving to the windshield and back by hitting the brakes and then flooring it.  But what we really liked to do was talk a novice into the fun seat, and listen to their cries of horror as the passenger seat rode crazily on the rails.
   A short while later, the back of the seat snapped (possibly from the amusement park style sliding).  We decided to take the seat out and replace it with a bean bag chair.  The guy in the bean bag sat facing the back seat, a formation we were pleased to discover made passing weed from front to back a bit easier.  Besides, we had a fucking bean bag in the car.
    Overall, the condition of the interior of the Maverick eroded to a disgrace, even by teenage standards.  Trash, hemp paraphernalia, dirty clothes and food bits fought for space and created an odor that defied description.  Not that it came up often, but no member of the opposite sex would ever ride in that garbage can on wheels.
   This sordid condition saved our asses one evening when we were driving around getting high and were pulled over by Dearborn’s finest.  My friend Andy tossed a decent size bag of weed under my driver’s seat, employing the “better you than me” theory of evasive action.  The cop never could locate the bag for three reasons:  It was the 70’s and he didn’t care that much, the stink of the car made a prolonged search impossible, and the amount of trash swirling around the floor camouflaged the weed (it looked like just another sandwich bag with something green inside).
   I don’t recall what finally killed “The Mav”, but I do know that it’s memory will live forever in my mind and that of my stoner friends (I’m talking to you Rob, Stan and Andy).
  This past Friday, I drove my boring Taurus as Booze Boy Tony and I decided to move on to Detroit ( surprise!) and the Bronx Bar in the shadow of Wayne State University.  This tiny brick building sits on the east side of Second Avenue south of Warren.  Parking was a breeze on this one way street, as we landed about twenty yards from the front door facing Second.
   Right or wrong, you may have noticed that Detroit makes Tony and I nervous.  The Bronx, however, is in a busy area, lots of student housing and actual people walking the sidewalk.  You might get fucked with here, but you might get fucked with at Gleason’s Bar in Taylor also (read the papers).
   Once inside, wrap yourself in the extreme darkness and sidle up to the bar for your beers.  Don’t bother waiting for a waitress, they don’t exist.  Just a cook and bearded dude opening bottles behind the bar.  Simple.  You get a Miller Light and Labatts for $5, a bargain aimed at the fiscally challenged kids from Wayne State.  I can’t imagine needing to go cheaper than that, but they do offer a Blatz for $2 ( you will, however, be channelling your inner Polack if you order that beer).
   Little Brother and I grabbed a table near the open front door, providing fresh air and glimpses of street life on Second.  The chairs are made more for balancing than sitting, as they are rickety as hell.  The bar and grill fill one wall, a small pool table sits in the middle and is surrounded by chairs and tables.  The real star of the place is the eclectic jukebox and long bench in front giving folks a comfy spot to study the far reaching musical menu.  People regularly feed the juke and in turn it spits out Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Rolling Stones.  Not just Lay Lady Lay, Walk on The Wild Side or Start Me Up.  I heard Ballad Of a Thin Man, a live version of Rock and Roll, and Happy.  Very cool!
   The crowd is more Wayne State than neighborhood (possibly a racist comment as I guess the sixty year old black dude and his wife could be students and the guys in wrinkled threads and cheap hats could be locals).  There are ladies at the bar and I guess the Bohemians from Wayne State do hook up, but you better be able to pull it off through talking.  There is no dance floor at The Bronx.  This place is all about drinking, listening to music and talking (you might be surprised at how often Pete Townsend’s name comes up in conversation between Tony and I).  You might not be surprised to know that the beer was going down cheap and easy.
   Did I mention that there are no televisions?  Good for them!
   I have been loathe to use this word in reviews, but the Bronx Bar is chill.  It’s midtown location and garage sale decor made Tony and I relax, enjoy the City and argue about the ultimate rock band (mine was The Who, but with Johnny Rotten singing instead of Roger; Tony inexplicably chose Jack White on guitar and Charlie Watts on drums; I still can’t get by it).  Go to The Bronx, you’ll leave drunk with plenty of money left in your pocket.

Bronx Bar
4476 2nd Avenue
Detroit, Mi 48201

Bronx Bar on Urbanspoon

4 OUT OF 5



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