- 917 N. Main, Royal Oak, MI, 48067
- Overall User Rating:
- (5 ratings)
- 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-2 a.m. Sun.
- Official Web Site:
Status: The Inn Place is a traditional bar in every sense of the word. It's small (56-person capacity), it's dimly lit and it's run by a modest staff who know their customers by name. There’s no guest list, no VIP area, no dress code.
It opens at 7 a.m. to serve a crowd comprised mostly of third-shift workers from hospitals, police and fire departments, and closes at 2 a.m. with an assortment of residents drawn from nearby streets and neighborhoods.
Though not as trendy as some Royal Oak bars, the Inn Place has held its own on North Main Street for nearly two dozen years.
Gear: Manager Russ Gretkierewicz kept things relaxed late last week with a light-blue polo and jeans, a look mimicked by the staff and most of the clientele.
Mood: The Inn Place isn’t fancy, but it’s clean and modern. Six years ago, windows were installed and the dropped ceiling was raised.
Padded booths line one wall of the venue while a wooden bar fills the space on the opposite side. A raised communal table and individual tables and chairs fill the remaining bar space.
“It’s a nice neighborhood bar full of locals and regulars,” said Gretkierewicz who has been at the Inn Place for about seven years. “We try to introduce ourselves and get to know people. It’s a conscience effort on our part. It feels good when people know you. If this is their bar, they treat it with a little respect.”
For 52-year-old Paul Mortorff, the Inn Place has been a home away from home for the last 20 years. “It’s comfortable,” he explained as he sat at a long wooden table that nearly ran the length of the bar. “I know the people. I have friends here. It truly is a neighborhood bar. It’s open to anyone who wants to come in.”
Nearby, patrons bellied up to the bar and laughed with Gretkierewicz who seemed to know them all by face if not by name. The Olympics played on the televisions as a single bartender and a server worked efficiently to keep the food and drinks coming.
A quick survey of crowd revealed an assortment of people from graying men and women with canes to younger patrons with collegiate looks.
“For us, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old,” Gretkierewicz said. “Our age range is all over the place. Our demo is whatever’s in the neighborhood.”
Aaron Lewandowski, 25, said when he lived closer, he would frequent the Royal Oak bar about once a month. “The first time was because it was convenient.” The subsequent times he returned was because “the staff was friendly” and karaoke great. “That’s what kept us coming back.”
“We like it because it’s laid back and intimate,” adds Lisa Miranti, 36, of Chesterfield Township who sat with Lewandowski while waiting to sing karaoke with a group of people from meetup.com.
Pick me up: Even for the thriftiest spender, there’s nothing on the menu will stretch, let alone, break your budget. Starters include chicken wings and tenders, mini tacos, potato skins and mac & cheese wedges which all cost less than $7. Sandwiches range from around $4 for a grilled cheese to around $6.50 for a Reuben. There are also soups, salads and fries.
“We’re known for some of the old-time bar favorites like fried bologna sandwiches,” Gretkierewicz says.
The bar’s meat comes from the nearby Hollywood Market. The bartender is the chef, and the grill starts up at 7 a.m. and runs until midnight. There is a full bar with more than two dozen bottled beers and four on tap.
Entertainment: There are six TVs of various sizes and shapes, a pool table, video games, a dart board and electric jukebox, but the Inn Place’s main attraction is the karaoke.
There are serious karaoke groups that frequent the bar Thursdays and Saturdays and a digital sound box to accommodate them.