About the Tap Room
Ye Olde Tap Room owes its existence to prohibition. With Michigan about to go dry in 1916, the need for a blind pig was evident. With $5,000 dollars borrowed from the Kling Brewing Co. (which was located next to the Bell Isle Bridge where what is now Erma Henderson park) a tavern was built at the end of the trolley tracks on the edge of Detroit at the corner of Charlevoix and Alter in 1915. The first floor of 2900 Alter was the original tavern. The tavern was in operation for only one year. Prohibition went into effect at 12:00 A.M. on January 15, 1916. Michigan was the first state to ratify the 18th amendment (Prohibition). Anticipating this, a tavern was built at the end of the trolley tracks to operate as a blind pig. In the basement was built a bar complete with a spit trough (a must for the tavern of the early 1900's). This was no small neighborhood blind pig. A full entertainment operation involved the entire building.
The second floor was for the gaming crowd, and a dumb-waiter (elevator) carried drinks up from the basement to refresh the gamblers. The second floor has window seats overlooking both Charlevoix and Alter where lookouts remained on station to warn patrons of possible police raids. The third floor was a renowned house of ill-repute. It is rumored that many a prominent city official enjoyed the offerings on the corner of Charlevoix and Alter. Today both the second and third floors are rental apartments. While all this was going on the original bar on the first floor became a comfort station for the trolley line. The line ran eastward down Jefferson Avenue towards the Pointes, north up Alter to Charlevoix. The turnaround at our corner sent the streetcars back downtown via Charlevoix. Extra trolleys for the line were parked behind the Tap Room. This set-up remained until 1922 when the present day building housing the Tap Room was added on.
This was home to one of Detroit's first pigeon clubs, the Union Pigeon Club. Between the Union Pigeon Club and the comfort station was a three seat barber shop. Ye Olde Tap Room moved into the Pigeon Club location at the end of Prohibition. It's owners over the years have included famous Detroit names, the DeRonne's, the Verdonkt's, Hillger's and more. In the 50's and 60's the bar was owned by former Detroit Tiger pitcher Hal Hudson.
Purchased by Leo Mack and Parker Munger in 1966, and solely Leo Mack a few years later, this famous watering hole is now owned by Russell Mack and his family. The Tap Room switched to an import and specialty beer format upon Russell's ownership in 1972. The Tap Room now offers over 250 specialty beers and over 32 Single Malt Whiskies to enjoy.
The Tap Room's world beer format started back in 1972, Having only a beer and wine license issued at the repeal of Prohibition (#147 same # held today), the Tap Room capitalized on only beer & wine. So upon Russell Mack's ownership in 1972 "Around The World in 80 Beers" was the bars theme and has become more than 285 beers to date and growing. Since then the Tap Room has obtained a class C licence and now offers a large excellent single malt scotch selection along with a full complement of mixed drinks. Feel free to brows our site and discover the rich history the Tap Room has contributed to Detroit along with the largest beer and single malt scotch selection to be found.