Feb 14, 2024 - News

Downtown Saksey's bar honoring Nick Gilbert to open this spring

Two cocktails to be served at Saksey's.

Two cocktails to be served at Saksey's. Photos: Courtesy of Saksey's

An intimate downtown lower-level bar named after a joint owned by Dan Gilbert's father in the 1970s is slated to open this spring.

Why it matters: Saksey's is being built out underneath Gilly's Clubhouse & Rooftop, a sports bar and all-season rooftop Mexican taqueria under construction at 1550 Woodward Ave.

  • The concepts were co-created by Nick Gilbert and are intended to honor his spirit and legacy. Gilbert's son died last year at age 26 from neurofibromatosis.

State of play: The plan is for the group of bars near Campus Martius to partially open before Detroit hosts the NFL Draft — and hundreds of thousands of visitors — April 25-27.

What's happening: Saksey's, and the previously announced Gilly's spaces, will be operated by 7OH2. The hospitality company is owned by Josh Lang, an Ohio native who lives in Corktown and co-created the concept with Nick Gilbert.

Details: Saksey's will offer cocktails mixed tableside. The menu will include drinks such as the High Class Gal with gin, cantaloupe juice, orgeat, lemon, watermelon ice diamonds and champagne, plus the Smoke and Mirrors with tequila, lemon, Saint Germain, egg white powder and charcoal lipstick kiss.

  • While sipping and eating small plates, expect music, comedy or magic shows.

Flashback: Lang spent 12 years in Las Vegas learning the hospitality industry before moving back to Cleveland and partnering in a couple restaurants and bars. That's how he met members of the Gilbert family, who often talked up Detroit, he says.

  • From there, he and Nick Gilbert decided to work together.
  • The idea to name the bar after Dan Gilbert's father's former spot came after they toured the basement space.

What he's saying: "I've never been a part of a project that was this emotionally connected … it's an emotional experience, but it's also something that I'm just so very proud of," Lang tells Axios.

Between the lines: The 1,000-square-foot, 55-seat venue will have a bar and eight tables. The "nostalgic" and comfy interior comes from Pophouse, the design firm of Jennifer Gilbert, Dan's wife and Nick's mother. Dan Gilbert's Bedrock owns the property and is leading development and construction.

  • Lang declined to disclose the cost of buildout.
Rendering of Saksey's. Photos: Courtesy of Saksey's
Rendering of Saksey's. Photos: Courtesy of Saksey's

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