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Hard Luck Lounge now pitching in relief of failed Proof

Here’s proof that opening a bar near the ballparks is no guarantee for success. Proof went poof!

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Proof, the hip martini hut that recently closed its doors at the corner of Adams Street and Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, was perhaps a little hipper than the area clientele demanded.

And here’s proof that the business community in southeast Michigan is believing again in the vitality of downtown Detroit. Proof had no more than padlocked the door before the owner of the Hard Luck Lounge in Grosse Pointe Park eyed the space across from Comerica Park in the street level of the Fyfe Building as an optimum space for a second Hard Luck Lounge.

Relying on the same black-and-red, poker-hand, horseshoe theme that has made the eastside location a thriving “upscale dive”, owners of the Hard Luck Lounge downtown made a successful push – along with a handful of other downtown bars like Rob Parker’s Play-by-Play Sports Bar – to open in time for the Tigers’ home opener in early April. Whether they enjoy better fortune than that of Proof remains to be seen, but they’re confident that their “slightly upscale neighborhood bar” feel is a nice fit for a block that includes other notable hangouts like Cliff Bell’s, the Park Bar and others.

To distance itself from the reputation that Proof carried with it, the Hard Luck refreshed the space’s interior by quickly removing the former V.I.P. room. Dartboards now stand in its place. Black paint now covers the exposed ceiling, red light bulbs hang below it, and black, wrought iron bar stools and furniture accentuate the theme. Clearly, the Hard Luck aspires to be something different than “a really hip martini bar”.

With that said, the Hard Luck doesn’t aim to add another sports bar to the already-busy sports bar field downtown, despite its location near Comerica Park and Ford Field. Like Proof, it still tilts toward the urban professional, and martinis – some mixed with the Hard Luck’s own line of vodkas, Hard Luck Candy – are among the house specialties.

Food offerings are also especially un-sports bar-like. You won’t find any enormo-burgers, and don’t expect chicken wings. French fries, onion rings and anything else that gets dunked in a pool of fry grease are right out. Instead, the lunch menu at the Hard Luck consists of a modest selection of paninis and bags of potato chips.

It’s a simple menu, used by a place with a simple philosophy: stick to what works and get rid of what doesn’t. Clearly, the Hard Luck has worked in Grosse Pointe Park. And despite Proof’s closing, it seems fair to like the Hard Luck’s chances of working in Detroit, too. There are office buildings nearby. High-profile frontage on Woodward. A nearby freeway. Nighttime foot traffic.

And it’s right across the street from the ballpark. That’s got to count for something, doesn’t it?

FOR MORE INFO: Visit Hard Luck Lounge at 10 W. Adams St. at the corner of Adams and Woodward. Call 313-974-7470 or visit hardlucklounge.com.

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