The Lindell AC, a legendary watering hole at the corner of Cass and Michigan avenues, was part of the fabric of Detroit’s sports and entertainment scene for more than a half century before it closed in 2002. A new Detroit Historical Museum exhibit – “Lindell AC: America’s First Sports Bar” – will recall those storied times, beginning with a special event on Saturday, March 16.
The public is invited to join some of the celebrity athletes and entertainers who made the Lindell AC famous at the March 16 event, which will run from 6-10 p.m., to relive the good times that the Lindell was known for during its run in downtown Detroit.
Guests at the opening event will enjoy the original menu (burgers with cheese or without, grilled cheese sandwiches, and fries) re-created by Midtown burger destination Royale With Cheese, beer and soft drinks, a jukebox filled with classic tunes, and sports trivia all night long. The evening will begin with a screening of the documentary “Meet Me at the Lindel.”
The museum partnered with the Butsicaris family, which owned the Lindell AC, and Eastpoint classic record store Melodies & Memories to bring the historic bar back to life, until Sept. 30 when the exhibit closes.
Known as America’s first sports bar, the Lindell AC opened in 1949 and became a favorite of athletes, entertainers, hometown heroes, and blue- and white-collar workers alike before it closed. It was a favorite of former Tigers Manager Billy Martin, former Tigers players Dave Rozema and Kirk Gibson, Alex Karras of the Lions, professional wrestlers Dick the Bruiser and Andre the Giant, and television weatherman Sonny Eliot.
The Detroit Historical Museum exhibit will document the history of the place and the personalities that made it one of Detroit’s best-loved gathering spots, featuring the original photos you remember from the bar, along with selected artifacts and memorabilia from the Butsicaris brothers and the star-studded community that frequented the establishment.
Tickets for the grand opening event can be purchased here. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Detroit Historical Museum, helping to keep programs and exhibitions affordable and accessible for all.