Fans at Comerica Park’s newest restaurant, called the Corner Tap Room, reminisce about old Tiger Stadium as they look at original signage, icons and photographs artfully displayed throughout the space. The restaurant opened last month, creating a modern homage to the historic landmark.
Detroit-based architecture firm, ROSSETTI, worked with Comerica Park concessionaire, Delaware North Sport Service, to interpret their vision for the restaurant, an upscale gastro-pub featuring Michigan craft beer. “The design goal was to create an immersive experience that celebrates the phenomenal evolution of the Tiger playing field, emulating stories and memories coming to denouement at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull Avenue,” said Kelly Deines, Creative Director at ROSSETTI.
Having personally experienced Old Tigers Stadium, the ROSSETTI team was excited to conjure memories and emotions for the Corner Tap Room’s customers. Though the designers are well versed in sports hospitality - with previous experience designing TD Garden’s Legends Club, CenturyLink Field’s Brougham Beer Hall and all of the premium spaces at Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena – using historic artifacts for the restaurant was a special experience.
“It was a chance of a lifetime to visit the Michigan Historical Society’s warehouse,” said Tony Reiner, Design Lead at ROSSETTI. “Exploring all of the historic Tiger and Detroit relics provided an inspiring reminder of our city’s rich sports and cultural heritage.”
Incorporated into the design are original objects from Tiger Stadium, like the neon score board showing real time scores, seating section signs, and vintage graphics. Large photographs of the park on the wall behind the scoreboard, and the peanut guy between the antique restroom doors, evoke nostalgia for customers who remember the old ball park. At the bar base, the wood reads Michigan on one side, and Trumbull on the other, forming a physical representation of the corner. The progression of the infamous Detroit “D” lines the ceiling in illuminated pennants as you exit the Corner Tap Room into the ballpark.
The materials pallet was based off of, quite simply, baseball. Contrasting soft leather, expressed wood, and raw metals, the design team was able to marry the baseball pallet with both stadiums, old and new. An uneven brick entrance resembles the original entrance to the stadium, establishing a sense of arrival long before you see, smell, or hear the experience of the restaurant. A palette of blues and greens relates to each era of the old stadium, and the memorabilia lining the walls is chronological, creating a timeline within the space.
ROSSETTI also worked closely with local artists and manufacturers, strengthening the Detroit pride engrained into each element of the project. Ferrante Manufacturing created the custom tables, booth, and bar mill work. Other local firms include Sachse Construction, LaVanway Sign Company, and Steven Frank for lighting.
The Corner Tap Room is operated by Delaware North Sportservice and is a joint development of Sportservice and the Detroit Tigers. Located to the right of the main entrance of Comerica Park, the restaurant is open during games and for lunch Tuesday-Friday, even on non-game days. Sportservice executive chef Mark Szubeczak developed the Corner's "urban bistro" menu, and the bar features a rotating selection of beers, highlighting Michigan's craft brews.