Experiences In The D | The Blog for Visit Detroit
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Welcome to Hockeytown: The Hockey Guide for "Wingnuts"
Photo Credit: Taffeta
Wingnut (wing - nut) noun. An over-obsessed, adoring advocate for the Detroit Red Wings, a National Hockey League team.
Hockey has finally returned to Hockeytown! With the lockout-shortened season, you’ll have fewer opportunities to cheer on the Red Wings this year, but whether you’re a longtime fan or looking to attend your first game at Joe Louis Arena, here’s your guide to game day in Hockeytown.
Pregame Food and Drinks
|Credit: Dave Reginak|
Don’t go to the game on an empty stomach. Detroit is full of great places to grab a beer and a bite before each game, including hangouts for diehard Red Wings fans. Cobo Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill is just a five-minute walk from Joe Louis; as one of downtown’s oldest sports bars, Cobo Joe’s knows a thing or two about taking care of Hockeytown hunger. The menu is split up into periods, with delicious options such as the Bullseye BBQ Burger, Mini Taco Bites or the Grilled Chicken Salad — Cobo style. There are plenty of TVs to watch the pre-game shows, and the atmosphere is great for sports fans.
It’s a no-brainer that a place called Hockeytown Café would be a great pre-game hangout for any Wings fan. Shuttles regularly take fans to and from Hockeytown Café, letting you soak up the atmosphere below the giant rotating puck. Pizza, burgers, sandwiches and heartier entrees complement a selection of more than 50 beers from around the world, including 18 on tap. A perfect place to hang out before heading to the game.
Your Guide to Joe Louis Arena
Home of the 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, Joe Louis Arena is one of the most iconic NHL arenas still standing. Built in 1979, “The Joe” has hosted four Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings squads and had NHL greats such as Steve Yzerman, Niklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, and Dominik Hasek skate on its hallowed ice.
Fans can soak up the atmosphere by touring the concourse, which is full of pictures of great Red Wings past and present, or stare up at the banners honoring seven retired numbers in Red Wings history.
You may have heard about the legend of the octopus, which started many years ago when a fan threw an octopus on the ice after a Red Wings goal. The tradition continues to this day, especially in the playoffs, but we recommend you leave the sea creatures at home, because anyone caught throwing objects on the ice will have to spend the rest of the game watching from somewhere much less exciting. For more information on tickets, seating and other amenities, visit the Joe Louis Arena website.
|Hockeytown Cafe. Credit: John Sobczak|
After the game (hopefully a Red Wings victory) there are a ton of places to grab a late-night snack or a celebratory drink. We recommend taking a trip to Greektown (via car, cab or the People Mover) to check out what they have to offer. Two Visit Detroit favorites are Pegasuss and Fishbone’s.
For more than two decades, Pegasus has offered unforgettable Greek dining experiences in a fun, casual atmosphere. Try their famous Saganaki (kasseri cheese set on fire tableside, to shouts of “Opa!”) or a tantalizing lamb chop. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can try their homemade yogurt or a traditional baklava.
Fishbone’s is a can’t-miss stop for seafood, steak and sushi, bringing a taste of New Orleans to Greektown. The atmosphere is styled after Bourbon Street, and the French Quarter with a cabaret-style atmosphere is sure to keep the party going well after the final whistle at the Joe. Try a New Orleans favorite such as Shrimp Creole, Catfish Atchafalaya or Jambalaya. But Fishbone’s isn’t just about the food — there’s also nightly entertainment with bands, billiards and games to entertain you into the night.
Where to Stay
For out-of-towners or those looking to make a whole evening in Hockeytown, we recommend one of the following hotels for your stay.
Greektown is one of the most vibrant areas of Detroit, and Greektown Casino Hotel is the perfect distance from The Joe and a ton of entertainment and dining options. Named best casino hotel and best table games by Real Detroit in 2012, Greektown Casino Hotel offers more than 400 luxury guest rooms and suites. Guests can stay for a night or make it a weekend package. When staying at Greektown, don’t forget to check out Asteria, one of the best lounges in Detroit.
The Westin Book Cadillac is one of the best high-end hotels in the city, going above and beyond with first-class service and setting. With amazing guest rooms and beautiful views of downtown Detroit and the waterfront, the Westin Book Cadillac offers historic charm and contemporary elegance.
For those looking for something a little taller, you can’t beat the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, soaring 73 floors above the Detroit River. Located next to the waterfront with great views of the Detroit skyline, the Marriott at the Ren Cen has great rooms for all budgets — and it’s right next to Coach Insignia, which mixes fine dining with an incredible rotating view of Detroit and Canada.
Are you pumped for the puck drop?