When summer comes to Michigan, everyone wants to be outside. Remember this James Taylor song?
“When this old world starts getting me down
and people are just too much for me to face,
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
and all my cares just drift right into space…
Up on the roof.”
Use this tune as your inspiration and let the skyline views and twinkling stars add sparkle to your event. Here are four venues around the state that can take your party to new heights.
Cheli’s Chili Bar
The view from the roof at Cheli’s Chili Bar, owned by hockey legend Chris Chelios, boasts a fantastic view of Comerica Park. Katie Sperry, Cheli’s events manager, says the deck can host up to 100 and private parties often have tickets to a Tigers game afterwards. “We literally are neighbors—the deck overlooks Comerica Park,” she says.
The space features bleachers, tables and televisions, along with a full bar. The open air makes it ideal for a summer evening, but Sperry doesn’t recommend presentations or tents because of wind. If the weather is inclement, Sperry and her crew always reserve the third-floor loft space. That way, it’s easy to move the party indoors. The third floor also features an excellent view and full bar, so your event can go on rain or shine.
Cheli’s Chili Bar is also within walking distance of Ford Field, and Sperry says the whole staff is looking forward to next hockey season, too. “The new Wings arena will be up soon, and [then] we’ll be really close to everything,” she says.
Hockeytown Cafe’s third-level Roof Top features indoor and outdoor space overlooking Woodward Avenue and Comerica Park. The central private bar can welcome as many as 350 guests for a cocktail party. In case of bad weather, guests can move into the adjoining indoor space, which allows for 200 people.
Sports fans will love the décor. “It’s decorated with authentic Red Wings boards on the walls, along with a huge bar in the middle,” says Megan Warren, the café’s events manager.
Availability varies depending on the schedule at Comerica Park, but the Roof Top is always available to rent on game days. “On game days the space is used for drinks and pizzas only,” Warren says.
Detroit Opera House Sky Deck
The Detroit Opera House has a chic rooftop space; when combined with its blackbox space, as many as 250 guests can be accommodated. The opera house’s Sky Deck is outfitted with a stage and surrounded by elegant furnishings to keep guests comfortable. Two stone bars and exposed brick floors create an easy flow, says Jason Warzecha, director of theater operations.
“There are tall-top tables for conversation, large round tables for gathering around the stage and bleachers to catch the fun happening at Comerica Park,” Warzecha says. If the weather doesn’t cooperate with your event plans, Warzecha and his crew can offer access to the Black Box Theater, which also features a full bar, restrooms and projection screen.
One memorable event he helped organize was a rooftop yoga series. “We featured Sky Deck Flow in conjunction with Detroit Community Yoga,” he says. “It was amazing to have more than 200 guests join us for yoga on the Sky Deck and stick around for a great party afterwards.”
Soaring above downtown Kalamazoo, Sky|Deck has room for 240 guests for a cocktail-style gathering or 80 guests at a seated meal.
The space is designed to encourage guests to relax and lounge. “The view to the west is a perfect viewing location for summer sunsets,” says Bill Fahl, creative director at Reedy Corp, which manages the space. “The star-shade canopy is a highvisibility landmark, especially when illuminated with LED lighting.”
The team at Sky|Deck can accommodate a variety of tech setups, from a simple PA system and projection screen to a light show and DJ. Should weather turn unpleasant, event planners have other spaces on hand, including the private event space at Loft310.