YOUR EVENT TOO.
Roaring '20s Return to Fabulous Ferndale
The Oakland Art Novelty Co. adds an elegant flavor and
some high society to the city's creative community.
By Natalie Sugarman
Editor's Note: "Barfly" a new department
premiering this month, reviews bars and
nightclubs in and around Detroit. Enjoy.
here's a new watering hole in town
called the Oakland. One might actually
call it"old-new," considering it's mod-
eled after a 1920s-style speakeasy.
If you're not one of those people "in the
know,"you could easily walk past the joint
and be none the wiser. The exterior of the
building is a plain slate-blue/lavender hue
that has no frills, sparkle or pizzazz. The
glass door has a simple emblem that reads,
the "Oakland Art Novelty Company."
The exterior of the Oakland has the feel-
ing of a phony business front. In the 1920s,
the Purple Gang, Detroit's Jewish version
of La Cosa Nostra, used phony businesses
named the Art Novelty Company and the
Oakland Sugarhouse to sell bootleg spirits.
This, says owner Sandy Levine, is what the
name of the bar was drawn from.
After entering through those unassum-
ing doors, you're greeted by the scent of
custom-flavored popcorn wafting through
the elegant setting — sparkling chan-
deliers, dark leather and velvet furniture,
antique rugs and elegant paintings.
"My wife and I lived in Chicago, and
there was a bar there called the Violet Hour
that we enjoyed frequenting;' Levine says.
"It was kind of like a speakeasy-style bar
that made amazing cocktails, and that was
our first introduction to the concept. Then
we learned about some other places in
New York that were doing similar things,
and we wanted to bring that concept to
The Oakland's specialty is its carefully
crafted cocktails; the drinks all are based on
recipes predating Prohibition. The ingre-
dients include only top-shelf liquors, fresh
juices, homemade syrups and bitters. Even
the maraschino cherries are homemade,
and the cocktails have creative names such
as "On The Night You Were Born" and "Juliet
The bartenders take great pride in creat-
ing their drinks. Translation: It may take a
few extra minutes to get your cocktail, but
the results are worth the wait.
BARFLY HIT PARADE
•On The Spot Impression: "We
were blown away by how great the
drinks at the Oakland taste;' says
Janet Warren of Royal Oak. "Some
people may be a bit apprehensive
about paying $9 for a drink, but the
quality and taste make it worth it. The
atmosphere is great, and it would be
a fantastic place for a first date."
•Drink Cost: Everything on the
regular drink menu costs $9; artisan
beer is $6.
•Clientele: A diverse crowd, early
20s and up. There is no dress code;
patrons come in both dressy and
Eclectic, from '20s- and '30s-
era blues to modern-day tunes.
•Bar Appeal: The bar is great for a
night out with friends or as a date
•Accessibility: Parking is metered on
the street, and there also is a metered
parking lot on the street behind the
•Queue Factor: There is no cover
charge; currently there are no lines to
get in on the weekend, although as
word gets out about this trendy new
hot spot, this is subject to change.
•Location and Hours: 201 W. Nine
Mile Road, Ferndale; (248) 291-5295;
Wednesday-Saturday 5 p.m.-1:30
a.m., Sunday 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m., closed
Mondays and Tuesdays.
BOOK ONE OF OUR STUNNING
PRIVATE DINING ROOMS
A is for Art; Rock & Roll for Toddlers
FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT,
FROM PRECEDING PAGE
Some of the vocabulary might be dif-
ficult to parse for young kids.Take"D is
for the Doors and their sonic exploration."
Some 3-year-olds might be able to ap-
preciate that line, but they're probably the
exception rather than the rule.
My second-grader, gazing with trepi-
dation at a picture of KISS in full regalia,
offered a succinct critique: "Are you sure;'
she asked, "that this is appropriate?"That's
the real question.
With my older kids, I found the book
at least prompted questions and led to
YouTube searches for classic performances.
Their response mostly consisted of surprise
that anyone listened to that stuff. But if
your goal is to find a way — any way — to
get your children listening to the Rolling
Stones instead of Hannah Montana, or to
understand that the kids on Glee didn't
originate the songs of Fleetwood Mac, this
is a decent start.
The good intentions of Schwartz and the
Chuck Boyd Collection have really aimed
at the wrong target here. One would hope
for a more worthwhile vehicle for images
reappearing in print for the first time in
decades. The photos deserve and demand
a format that lends itself to more discus-
sion by older children, teens and interested
adults. Rather than a spot on a toddler's
bookshelf, Boyd's work deserves the full
coffee-table book treatment.
That would really rock.
FISH • STEAKS • COCKTAILS
AT BIG BEAVER & COOLIDGE
DETROIT I TAMPA I ORLANDO I PHOENIX I COLUMBUS I DALLAS I DENVER 1 ATLANTA
RED ma I October 2011 11