Sip in Style: This New Detroit Bar Is Inside an 1891 Landmark on Cass

January 12, 2019, 3:26 PM by  Alan Stamm

Photos from The Library

These imaginative craft cocktails and others like them are just part of the appeal at The Library, opening next week on Cass Avenue at West Fort Street downtown.

It's in The Detroit Club, an elegant 19th century mansion that hasn't been widely seen. It was a private club until last January, when the main dining room opened to the public for lunch and dinner. Nonmembers also can rent meeting rooms for weddings, receptions or other events.

An eye-grabbing chandelier, illuminated bookcases and upholstered armchairs decorate the cozy bar.

Now a cozy, well-appointed bar next to the first-floor dining area gains a name and specialty drinks developed by a star consultant. Anyone can grab a stool or chair five days a week, starting at 5 p.m. Monday -- ideal timing for thirsty journalists after media previews that day and Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show a few blocks away at Cobo Center.

The rebranded lounge is promoted as "a novel drinking experience inside the club that built Detroit." It has a 20-foot-high crystal chandelier, wood molding and -- naturally -- library-style bookcases. 

The four-story brick and stone landmark at 712 Cass Ave., designed by architect Wilson Eyre in a Romanesque Revival style, opened in 1891 as a business clubhouse. It has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005.

Its menu of "texture-oriented drinks" is crafted by Tara Jagodzinski of St. Clair Shores, a bartender at The Peterboro in Midtown since mid-2017 and also at Johnny's Speakeasy in Royal Oak. She earlier mixed drinks at BlackFinn in Clinton Township, Blufin Sushi in Grosse Pointe Farms and the Apparatus Room downtown. Last summer in New Orleans, she won a tequila cocktail competition at a national spirits conference. 

Tara Jagodzinski: "A lot of love and hard work." (Facebook photo)

The 35-year-old mixologist, who has helped shape The Library since last month, posts Saturday on Facebook:   

I am so honored to have the opportunity to come on board and open a cocktail lounge with The Detroit Club. . . . The staff has been so warm and welcoming. This bar, this menu -- this whole concept is my baby. I have put a lot of love and hard work into making sure everything is perfect.

As we approach our opening, I am overwhelmed with all the support I have received and so proud to introduce you all to The Library. This menu is put together using modern techniques, as well as old. Each drink is creatively put together to offer a texture and flavor experience I hope you enjoy and remember.

♦ Hours: Tuesdays-Thursdays, 5-10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m.-2 a.m.

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