Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cheli’s Chili Bar is a true Detroit original

You can take the boy out of the city, but…

Please don’t take his restaurant. With former Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios looking to finish his career in another NHL city (reports say he’s chatted with Nashville), it seems a good time to give a nod to Cheli’s Chili Bar in downtown Detroit. Of all the great sports bar hangouts Detroit has to offer, Cheli’s is an original in so many ways.

Featuring name recognition and a prime location, the four-level bar/restaurant across the street from Comerica Park was an instant fan favorite when the place opened shortly after Comerica Park. And from its rooftop patio, which is only open during Tigers’ games, Cheli’s also features a sweet view into Comerica. You can’t see the game, in fact you can only see a small corner of leftfield and the huge scoreboard, but with the game playing over the radio and on TVs nearby, it’s still a great atmosphere.

On your walk up the stairs to the patio, you’ll see the “private” door that leads to the suite where Chelios and his hockey buds hang out. (I hear Gretzky is somewhat of a regular.) From what I hear, even though Chelios won’t be wearing a Red Wings uniform this season, his restaurant isn’t going anywhere.

I hope not. If anything, Detroit could use a few more investors like him.