Game for anything
Detroit has more than its share of unusual sports to offer. From quaint Old World sports like Belgian feather bowling at east side fixture Cadieux Cafe to modern innovations such as whirlyball — a combination of lacrosse and bumper cars — at Joe Dumars’ Fieldhouse, you think of an offbeat pastime and chances are Detroiters will embrace it.
Here are some over-the-top ways to test your skill and burn off a few calories.
By now, everybody is aware that the Hamtramck-Detroit border is the place for Fowling — that unusual sport in which you toss a pigskin at tenpins hoping to knock them all over. But much more awaits upstairs at the 6,500-square-foot Gamer’s Gallery. That’s where you’ll find console electronic games, air hockey, karaoke, board games, and something special called “footpool.” It’s a game dreamed up by thirtysomething Hamtramck natives Aaron and Ashleigh Brock that bills itself as “The first human-size footpool experience.” The husband-and-wife team has constructed several 12-by-8-foot platforms where you can essentially play nine-ball, only with foot kicks instead of cue sticks. You punt a white soccer ball as your cue ball, aiming to get your balls in the holes, with the black ball last, just like in billiards. To reserve a table for your group, see thegamersgallery.com.
Up in Ferndale, there’s plenty of unusual competition to draw you to the Corner Tavern and Game Room. It’s a quirky spot, with a full-service, fine-casual restaurant downstairs with a complete bar and an in-house donut machine. What’s upstairs? Oh, plenty: pinball machines, dart boards, shuffleboard, bumper pool, traditional arcade games, and 12 lanes where you can enjoy the sport of ax-throwing. Aside from the 15-inch-long, 1.5-pound hatchet you hurl toward a wooden target, it’s scored very similarly to darts. It’s said the sport began to gain popularity in Canada, and now there are several in U.S. cities, from Philadelphia to Denver. It’s a nationally regulated sport, one governed by the National Axe Throwing Federation. The Corner Tavern and Game Room is at 344 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale.
Detroit is also home to some pretty cool rarities, such as the Lexus Velodrome. It’s an indoor arena for cycling, with an oval track that features two steeply banked 180-degree curves, allowing cyclists to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. These bicycle courses were popular in the late 19th century, and there are many of them in Europe.
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