Detroit. Motor City. Home of Motown. That’s probably what most people think of when they think of Detroit. Of course it’s not had the best press over the past few years; it has been, effectively, a city in decline since the 80s, due to the dip in car manufacturing, and a big exodus of its inhabitants (the current population stands at around 750,000 when it was around 2million at its peak…). But despite declaring itself bankrupt only last year, as with all these things, the only way is up, and when I arrived in mid-October, I found a really cool city with lots to see and do, and some really interesting bars, restaurants and shops. The hipsters, basically, are moving in, because it’s so goddamn cheap to do so. So they’re opening lots of cute l’il boutiques, bbq dens, craft beer bars and more. And what’s not to love about a city that’s trying to flog off all its uninhabited properties at bargain basement prices?! You can basically buy a mansion for about $1000. Literally. Check out the site I nearly bought several.

Anyway, after a hard day drooling over art at the beautiful Detroit Institute of Arts, getting on down with perky, soulful tour guide at Berry Gordy’s house – now the Motown museum – and trying to dodge the fans coming out of the Detroit Lions game, we headed over to Corktown, one of those up and coming neighbourhoods full of friendly Irish bars but also what’s considered the best BBQ in town: Slows BarBQ. They’ve got over 100 different types of beer (on draft, in bottles and cans), a lot of them locally made. We had a couple of pints of Atwater D-lite, which is, indeed, light and pleasant, and then order up a storm. We go for what sounds like a pretty good deal: a half pound of meat and two sides for $12.95. I choose the pulled pork with mac n cheese and ‘mom’s green beans’, while D goes for the beef brisket with sweet potato mash and spicy black beans.

They also do pretty good sandwiches and a massive range of starters, but considering how big portion sizes are in the good US of A, we stuck with just that. You get five different sauces at every table (including sweet, spicy, North Carolina style and, weirdly, apple (though actually i suppose that does go with pork) and can just add whatever you want. As predicted, it was a massive serving, and really good, with the meat having a rich, smokey, but not too sweet taste (though D didn’t think the brisket was as good as others he has had….I have to say i thought it was pretty nice).

The surroundings are lively, and it was packed on the Thursday we went, with (of course) quite a lot of men with beards. In fact you know a city’s doing well when the stores stock important things like Beard Oil, which, I have to say, several of them do. From there, it’s only a 15 minute stroll to the new MGM hotel and casino, where we then proceeded to win $150 on the slot machines; but that’s another story for another time.

food: 7.5/10

atmos: 8/10

vfm: 8/10