Status: If the name Dirty Trick Detroit doesn’t sound familiar, the location certainly is. The bar is at the corner of West Adams and Woodward, an area where you'll find the Fillmore, the Fox and Comerica Park.
"The location is amazing," says Lou Colombo, who owns the Dirty Trick with Jim Smith. "We're in the middle of a pretty cool neighborhood right now. We reap the rewards of the events downtown."
The bar, which seats more than 100, opened last June, replacing the Hardluck Lounge, a name that was on loan to Colombo and Smith for a year.
"When that agreement was up, we couldn't come to terms on a more long-term solution, so as a backup, we had been developing this concept," Colombo says.
He and Smith retained the bar's gambling-themed décor and began to work on a new concept. The name Dirty Trick was inspired by a term used occasionally by card players.
"In doing our research, we went through different poker and card game terms," says Colombo, who thinks the moniker is catchy. "It seems to have this duality to it. It's a little tongue-in-cheek."
Gear: What you wear to the Dirty Trick really depends on where else you plan to land on your big evening out. A night at the Fox, might call for something upscale, while a a sports jersey and jeans are fine if you're heading to a game later at Comerica Park.
"You don't feel out of place in jeans, dressed up or in a suit," says 25-year-old Andrew Grimm of Garden City. "It's always different."
Mood: The red walls are embellished with airbrushed flames that almost seem to flicker behind wrought-iron light fixtures made up of card suits. One side of the Dirty Trick has a small, slightly raised lounge area with black leather couches. High-top tables and chairs provide seating throughout the bar.
"It's kind of like a Cheers atmosphere but rough around the edges," says Justin Roberts, 25, of Westland. "It's not always busy, but you can have a good time with 10 people or 100 people." He and Grimm show up at the Dirty Trick about once a week.
Marc Mathews, 27, of Detroit sat at the bar with a friend Friday night while enjoying a plate of nachos. The Dirty Trick is "not as pretentious as some of the bars around here," he says. "You can come before a concert, a football game or after the gym."
Local artist Slaw was commissioned to spice up the interior walls, create custom art pieces and design the Dirty Trick logo, which shows a skeleton holding a dead man's hand (aces and eights).
One of Slaw's works depicts famous Detroiters, including Coleman Young, Bill Bonds and Diana Ross, around a card table. Another pays homage to Dirty Trick regulars like Grimm and Roberts, who saw the painting for the first time Friday night. "What Slaw did around the place is beautiful," Roberts says.
Entertainment: In early February, the Dirty Trick began hosting live music on Wednesdays.
"We're got folk-rock, garage rock, blues, bluegrass. We've kind of been running the gamut with the acts we book here now," Colombo says. A DJ spins Motown, hip-hop, funk and old school every Friday and Saturday. Tuesdays, which feature metal and punk music, are called Booze and Tattoo nights.
TVs are mounted on walls throughout the bar.
Pick me up: The kitchen, which is open only on nights where there is an event downtown, stays open until 1:30 a.m. The food (nachos, hot dogs and so forth) is simple, and most of it comes from Mexicantown and Eastern Market. You'll also find a full bar stocked with reasonably priced wine, beer and liquor.