Development, People

Thrillist’s Phil Bator on beer, steak and all things manly

These days, it seems people cannot get enough DETROIT in their media.

We are pretty fine, if I must say. And that is why Thrillist is here.

To the uninitiated, Thrillist is a leading men’s digital lifestyle publication currently reaching more than 3 million subscribers. Yes, women can read it as well. But the goal is to give today’s man a serious, down-and-dirty list of where to find the hotness when it comes to food, drink, entertainment, nightlife, gadgets and gear. In that order.

Our edition, which launched this week, will be edited by local writer (and Texts from Last Night Editor) Phil Bator. Warning: Do not go to this web site if you are reading this at work. Wait until you get home and can prep a spreadsheet or something to hide what you’re reading from your spouse. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

A little about Phil: This guy is wicked smart – he went to the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. (Seriously, I love this school. And the quality of the men they graduate.) He then majored in advertising at Michigan State University. He moved to Royal Oak after graduation and got into the Text site, which his brother co-founded. Fame, fortune and an eye for sassiness – he is a good representative for our city. At least, I think so.

Check out our Q&A and his suggestions for the best steak, haircuts and beer for Metro Detroit men. Add a comment or two if you agree or if you have other suggestions. They just might end up on the Thrillist site. Or not. Phil’s in charge, not me.

Q: Detroit is known for its mustaches, deer hunters (Ted Nugent) and its hatred of exercise. What will you tell the rest of the world about Detroit?
A: Speaking as a non-mustachioed, Ted Nugent-averse, exercise enthusiast, I like to think that Detroit has something for everyone. From Corktown to Clarkston, there is a ton of different ways to spend a day or evening out…whether you like Uncle Ted or are a member of PETA. Example: last summer, I went from an outdoor chicken race held in the field next to a bar to raise awareness for urban farming to an all-out meatfest of a dinner where I probably ate a sibling of said chickens. Diversity’s never tasted so delicious.

Q:  Explain to me how men feel about living here when the economy is tanking and the car culture is somewhat under attack?
A: Detroit is no stranger to hard times. I can’t speak for everyone, but there’s no point in dwelling on the difficulties. We’re a tough town. We dig in and push forward. Detroiters epitomize hard work & we know feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t get you anywhere. I swear I didn’t just lift that copy from the Eminem/Chrysler commercial, as much as I want a gospel choir singing my work whenever I walk into a room.

Q: Who are your male role models around the city and why?
A: Anyone who hasn’t moved to Chicago. But really, anyone who has seen an opportunity in the area and decided to pursue it, wherever it might take them…that isn’t Chicago. I look up to the loads of individuals, both men & women, who are investing their time, energy, effort & money to better the metro-Detroit area, from park clean-ups to tech start-ups.

Q: What makes you happy to be a guy in Detroit?
A: It’s an exciting time to be around Detroit, especially if you’re active and keep an open mind. I’m happy here because there’s no excuse for being bored. Also, El Barzon. You can’t eat at El Barzon and tell me you’re not happy. It’s impossible. And you’re probably a liar. Holiday season bonus reasons: I have family still in the area (hi Grandma…see you on Thanksgiving.) I also like being the person that friends who have moved away call when they’re looking for the places that administer a healthy dose of “why the hell did I leave Michigan for _______” along with enough drinks that have them wishing for their adopted city’s public transportation. Now let’s call you a cab.


Best Steaks
–       Forest Grill: 735 Forest, Birmingham, MI. 48009. Get the in-house, dry aged filet and don’t even hesitate to say yes when the server asks if you want foie gras on top.
–       24 Grille: 204 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI. 48226. Angus Kona Strip – huge steak covered in a Hawaiian coffee dry rub…perfect. Wrap half for morning steak & eggs leftovers. You’re welcome.
–       Ronin Sushi: 326 W. 4th St, Royal Oak, MI. 48067. You’re going to call me crazy for putting a sushi restaurant on my best steaks list until you try their New York Strip. Then you’ll call me with tears streaming down your face after eating a life-changing steak.
–       Mario’s: 4222 2nd Avenue, Detroit, MI. 48201. Classic Italian food served by tux-wearing waiters. Order the petite filet with Mario’s Zip Sauce to see why they’ve been open since 1948.
–       Beverly Hills Grill: 31471 Southfield, Beverly Hills, MI. 48025. Pepper Crusted Filet. Simple, classic & cooked to perfection. Go early or late.

Best Haircut/Grooming
–       Shane Johnson: (248) 376-7612. One of the best currently doing it in the Detroit area, Shane is currently by appointment only. Cutting in a few different locations until he locks down a permanent space, book now before he’s booked solid daily.
–       Merrillwood Barber: 251 E Merrill St, Ste 208, Birmingham, MI. 48009. Ask for Bruce & tell him I sent you. He’s been cutting hair for longer than you’ve had yours.
–       Gentlemen First: 6551 Allen Road, Allen Park, MI. 48101. Previously voted Best Barbershop in Michigan by the Detroit Free Press & Detroit News. Relaxed shop with great cuts.
–       Maalouf Salon: 387 S.Old Woodward, Birmingham, MI. 48009. Your girlfriend trusts everyone at Maalouf with her hair & so should you.
–       Trim Barber House: 26 N. Main St, Clawson, MI. 48017. Come for a hot shave & massage. You deserve it. Or at least tell yourself you deserve it.

Best Beer Bars
–       Detroit Beer Company: 1529 Broadway, Detroit, MI. 48218. The beer is almost entirely local & your best bet for pre-, mid-, or post-game drinks during football or baseball games.
–       Motor City Brewing Works: 470 Canfield, Detroit, MI. 48201.You don’t need to see a “born on” date on the bottle because you’re watching it being made. Now make like a proud parent by drinking it in the Tap Room…errr..wait. The beer. Drink the beer.
–       Tashmoo Biergarten: 1416 Van Dyke, Detroit, MI. 48226. Cold weather has closed Tashmoo for the season so you missed out if you didn’t make it down to this pop-up space for its initial six Sunday run. Placing it on this list is my not-so-subtle plea at hoping it returns when the temperature finally crawls back above 50.
–       Redcoat Tavern: 31542 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI. 48073. You came here for a burger but can’t leave without a beer. Wide selection of bottles & draught with great seasonal specials.
–       Atwater Brewery: 237 Joseph Campau, Detroit, MI. 48207. Brewery & Tap Room located in the historic Rivertown district. Seriously German & seriously awesome.

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