I have had my rants against the commercialization of Greek Town in Detroit. I guess it is because I remember the good old days of the area when it wasn’t a tourist trap and now a gateway to one of the casinos. Back in the old days, it was a haunt of the assorted Hellenic ethnic groups and a few other nationalities. There was the fabled Pegasus, the New Hellas, the Bouzouki Lounge and the Grecian Gardens. It was known for a night life all of its own, there was dining, dancing, Greek and lounge type entertainment; and then there were the belly dancers, not to mention the wink-wink games of chance that possibly could occur if you had the right entry. Several blocks away and more in Downtown Detroit, another Greek night club opened up called the Pier One, and I wonder why do I not have a matchbook from this place that I went to often.
I had a next door neighbor that was much older than I, but younger than my Father and his associates. He was a fellow Armenian, but he came from France, accent and all. There were Sundays in the summer time when the windows would be open and the neighbors could hear him singing beautifully in French, the songs of Charles Aznavour and the likes. He used to take me with him to the haunts of Greek Town, and then later he preferred the Pier One. He would get up and sing with the Greek musicians that were performing for the diners, when the belly dancers would not be performing and he would dazzle the audiences. All I remember is that everyone that would be at his table would share in his talent, as we would have dinner and drinks, courtesy of the owners and management of the club. What fun it was for a sixteen year old to be in such a favorable position there, and then to have the company of the dancers as well at times. He also, I believe made it possible to have the assorted Armenian nights there, where the Armenian bands would come and perform, and then my old club members would come in for a night of dining and dancing and a great time.
Of course we would all be eating Greek food, which was very similar to Armenian food, though with our proud heritage, we would claim it was not as good, all in good fun. We would dance the night away, and now I wonder, how did I ever get to school in the morning. It always seemed that there were bottles of Greek wines on our tables. One of the more popular wines that would accommodate the Greek cuisine was Cambas Rouge NV. I tried many sites to find out the varietals that are in this wine, to no avail. I saw some sites that listed this as a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Merlot and even a Savatiano (which is a popular varietal for Greek white wines. More modern labels of this wine list that it is made of classic Greek varieties and varieties cultivated in various vineyards across Greece. I guess that I shall just say it was a very agreeable wine for the food and is a classic Peloponnese proprietary red wine. The wine was even more enjoyable because of the good times that would surround each evening.