Friday, November 20, 2009

Bagley Bar returns to its roots in historic Michigan Building

About a year ago, Matthew and Virginia Pieroni opened a bar in the old Michigan Building. The bar was previously called something else – the Cracker Barrel, I think – so they decided a name change was in order. They settled on the Bagley Bar. It’s on Bagley Street. They weren’t looking to be overly clever.

Then the redecorating started, and the couple decided to use one of the walls in the bar to pay homage to the Michigan Building itself, which used to include the famous old Michigan Theater. (Kage readers may recall a recent entry about the Michigan Palace. It was Virginia who let me take a snapshot of the poster with all of the old rock groups that played there.)

Anyway, one of the wall hangings they found was a large picture of the Michigan Building in its hey-day. The theater sign was shining bright. There was car and pedestrian traffic. Restaurants and stores filled the building’s street-level spaces. And when the Pieronis looked closely at the picture, they saw the space currently occupied by their bar. Over the door was a little awning. On it, it said, “Bagley Bar”.

Virginia insists it was merely a coincidence that the name they chose is the name that it was all those years ago. I think it’s a pretty neat coincidence. They seem like nice people ("Bird-type" people, for those Kage readers to whom that might mean something), and I encourage you to stop in at the Bagley some time. Right now they cater to the downtown work crowd, so you won’t find them open on weekends, or even very late in the evening. But if you get the chance, it’s worth popping in for a quick beer, burger, and history lesson of one of Detroit’s forgotten landmarks.

(As always, this Bagley Bar mini-review is being made exclusively to Kage readers. To read full-length bar reviews, click here.)