Bookies Bar & Grille is about to celebrate 10 years in business in the near Midtown/Fox Town area of Detroit. Beginning with the shell of what stands today it has grown at a time when the city is facing its share of challenges. Listening to owner J. Lambrecht, you quickly get the sense he has found opportunity in the midst of the financial storm the city is currently weathering.
Lambrecht grew up around the business with his father, who once owned the storied Book Cadillac Building. At 19 he began working with his father as property manager for The Book and was there when the original Bookies Tavern was the last business to turn out the lights on the building before it was shuttered in 2003.
“I remember back then ours was the only light on on Washington Blvd.,” he says. “I talked to several people about opening a bar in the building. Instead of convincing any of them, someone asked why I just didn’t open it myself, so I did.”
After The Book closed, Lambrecht started looking for another location. A spot across the street from the old Chin Tiki restaurant on Cass Ave. was available, and he purchased the one-story dilapidated building. It was a far cry from the two-story, totally redesigned Bookies that stands at 2208 Cass Ave. today.
“When we started construction, all we had to work with was two support walls. We had to start fresh to build what currently exists,” he said.
Lambrecht is bullish on Detroit’s future, having experienced first-hand the ups and downs of the market.
“What is happening now is the Detroit we’ve been waiting for for years,” he said. “We have seen our business double in the last five years with all of the growth and speculation in the area. I believe the next 10 years will see similar growth.”
While sporting events are a staple of Bookies’ business they have also come up with other ways to get people in the doors during “off event” days. Karaoke, hall rentals and even offering free round-trip shuttles to downtown residents are some of them.
Part of acknowledging 10 years in business is a party on Friday, August 23.
“We want this to be a thank-you celebration to all everyone who has ever supported us during our 10 years in Detroit,” said Lambrecht. “We have so many great memories over the past decade including wedding proposals, special events like Super Bowl, Final Four, Detroit Tigers opening days, and so much more.
There is a VIP event from 5:00 to 7:00 PM and the public is invited after 7:00 PM to join in on the fun with a rooftop band and DJ.
Bookies is open year round with the exception of Christmas day.
For more information on the anniversary festivities, call (313) 962-0319 or visit the website at BookiesBar.com.