At 21509 John R Rd., you will find The Eastern Palace Club as well as Smoked Lotus BBQ. in Hazel Park.If you are looking for a warm-weather vacation, even if it is only for a few hours, a Key West-themed bar that serves tiki drinks in Michigan’s cold months will be a welcome option.
“Eastern Palace Club is famous for just being this big brick building. And so instead of having tons of windows all over the place, we’ve taken advantage of how the place is set up. We built little cabanas and the bar is completely remodeled and stylized. We’ve got thatch roofing and bamboo everywhere, and all sorts of artifacts from Key West,” says Mike Pierce, who co-owns the bar with Dustin Leslie and Adam O’Connor. “As soon as you walk into the place, it feels like you’re not at Eight-and-a-half Mile and John R in Hazel Park anymore. You’re definitely transported somewhere different, somewhere special.”
Eastern Palace Club’s cabanas
Hazel Park, the first Eastern Palace Club was an informal social organization that closed during the COVID-19 crisis. Pierce, Leslie, and O’Connor were connected with the building’s owner, and their concept for a new Eastern Palace Club was put into motion. It stuck, and they loved the name.
Hazel Park’s design is influenced by Key West.Passing by, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that the new Eastern Palace Club has replaced the old private social club, save for a Key West flag flying in the parking lot and a patio being built. But the co-owners liked the original exterior signage, and they’re keeping that, too — with the original owner’s blessing, to be noted. More obvious are the hand-painted signs along the wall facing north and the barbecue pit. This is the sign of Smoked Lotus BBQ (another business that can be found within the Eastern Palace complex).
James Sikorsky co-owns Smoked Lotus BBQA pit-smoked barbecue restaurant which uses the Old Eastern Palace Kitchen to deliver food to-go. The tiki bar will allow customers to place orders through a window. Sikorsky still awaits approval of the permits before opening. They’d like to dovetail their openings together, but that can’t be guaranteed just yet. You can choose from BBQ rice bowls or roasted chicken as well as house-made sides.
Hazel Park is getting pit-smoked BBQ.
“It’s a nice little symbiotic relationship,” Sikorsky says. “We don’t really want to do anything as far as liquor is concerned. And the Eastern Palace guys don’t want to do anything with food. So it’s kind of a perfect union.”
Pierce and Sikorsky are optimistic about Hazel Park’s future. While John R north of 9 Mile has popular bars and restaurants like Mabel Gray, FRAMEbar, and Doug’s Delight, the southern stretch of John R is a little quieter. However, it could be a temporary change. Within just a few blocks, BDT Smoke Shop is building a cannabis consumption lounge, Shredderz food truck is converting the old Dairy Park into a permanent Shredderz location,And there’s Dee’s Quick Bites, which recently celebrated its grand opening. There’s even whispers of a social district forming, where customers can grab alcohol to go enjoy it on designated city streets and common areas.
“This is gonna be a real nice area once everything’s done,” Sikorsky says. “You know, step one for us is getting Eastern Palace and Smoked Lotus up and going — probably middle to end of October we’ll be up and going. And then the rest of it is going to fall into place.”