New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck under new ownership | Music News | Detroit
After 37 years of existence, the New Dodge Lounge in Hamtramck has new owners.
The bar and live music venue are now owned by Happy Life Hospitality, the management team behind the Detroit Shipping Co. and Lansing Blend dining rooms. The team also manages the Livonia Sports Districta former YMCA converted into an indoor sports center.
Jonathan Hartzell, one of the owners, said the deal closed on Thursday. He says they hope to reopen in August after liquor license transfers and will make some improvements to the space.
“We love the charm of what’s there,” he says. Metro timetables. “You know, we’ll clean it up a bit, and anything that’s not functional, we’ll get it working again.”
Hartzell says he envisions a bit of a football theme at the bar due to the success of Detroit City FC, the grassroots professional league football team which has moved into nearby Keyworth Stadium. This could include adding more televisions to play international football matches, as well as installing arcade games. Hartzell says soccer is near and dear to him — he’s been a soccer coach for 35 years.
There’s another personal aspect to the project: Harztell says his great-grandfather lived in Hamtramck after he arrived in the United States about a century ago. “He had a small market and a house there until 1988,” he says. “And so I always wanted to go back and do something in Hamtramck.”
His great-grandfather, who was Polish, had a daughter who had married an Italian from Detroit. Harztell says he hopes to honor his family’s heritage by offering Polish and Italian dishes on the menu, which he says will be no-frills – think hot dogs, sausages, soft serve ice cream and flaky pastries. .
The change in ownership comes as a local artist and promoter named 1magine has called out the former owners of New Dodge Lounge in recent weeks for what he claims is discrimination against black artists. In recent months, the bar has held sporadic hours and programming, with a black booking agent abruptly quitting amid a dispute with an entertainer over pay, causing previously scheduled events to fail.
“I think they left a little early, so they didn’t really care about being open every time,” Hartzell says of the former owner, adding, “I can understand why he was upset.”
Harztell says he spoke with 1magine to understand the situation.
“I called them and I kind of just said, ‘Hey, real real quick, so you know, I’m the new owner, and I’d appreciate it if you targeted your irritation at the previous owners rather than the building. ,’” he says. “He was cool. We talked for a while.
Harztell says the new owners plan to host live music at the New Dodge Lounge on a regular basis. For starters, he says they will likely share their talents with the Detroit Shipping Co. and possibly consider partnering with national booking agents.
“We love live music on stage,” he says. “So we are going to run more consistent programming on that. That’s the most important thing, it’s just running consistent programming.
Hartzell says that in the coming weeks, the new owners hope to understand how the space will work, as well as the needs of the surrounding community, before making any solid plans.
“He has a good story, and the community around him has a good story,” he says. “DCFC has a very nice room next door, and they are good operators. There are many good operators in the area.
He adds: “I’m going to clean it up, I’m going to make it consistent, then bring it back to what everyone remembered – a good time.”
The new Dodge salon is located at 8850, avenue Joseph Campau, Hamtramck.