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New Bar Will Have the Big Game, Board Games — and Oh, the Beer!

Clubhouse BFD will open this month; it is owned by the same family that owns Birmingham's Big Rock Chop House.

 

It's big and brown with navy blue awnings and it's caught the eye of most Rochester Patch readers. 

"Just what is going in at the corner of Crooks and M-59?" you asked. 

The answer is Clubhouse BFD. 

The BFD stands for "Beer, Food and Drinks" and it's the latest venture by Scott LePage, owner of .

"We own the land," LePage said, "So we decided to use it!"

Here are the facts you've been waiting for:

  • Opening date: LePage originally hoped to open The Clubhouse at 2265 Crooks Road the week of Feb. 7 but the date has been pushed back. "We don't want to rush it," LePage said. "We want to do it right from the get-go." While they are hoping to open by the 14th, the 21st is a possibility, too. Staff training has begun.
  • Business hours: Initially, at least, the restaurant will be open for dinner only, starting with a Happy Hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The closing hour will be determined by "what business justifies" LePage said.
  • Days of business: The Clubhouse will be opened Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. "I'm not interested in the rat race," LePage said. 

Beer: The shining star

LePage has always loved the bar at East Side Mario's. 

"It's so cool, but I've always wanted to make it bigger."

With the growing craft beer craze and an empty building sitting there, LePage decided the time was right for Clubhouse BFD.

While LePage has been involved in the restaurant business his whole life— his father Norman LePage, has opened 40 restaurants including Birmingham's famous — this was his first time opening one from scratch.

"I've never been in charge of construction before. You need a strong stomach to watch all your life savings go into something you hope is successful," LePage said. They ended up gutting the place. "But if you do it right, everything else falls in place."

His goal was to create "a place I would go drink beer." 

And talk about beer: there will be 140 beers in bottles and 40 beers on draft. The beer menu will include 20 craft beers from Michigan and another 20 from around the United States. Clubhouse is licensed to sell bottled beer as carry-out and patrons can build-their-own six-pack.

"Spirits and wine will also be offered," LePage said, "But we wanted beer to be the shining star."

Comfort food with a flair

With the focus on beer, the food selections have been limited to one panel of the restaurant's menu. But each of the 15 items has been specifically selected for The Clubhouse.

"The Big Rock chefs helped us with the menu," LePage said. "We'd eat out a lot to find a dish we love then send the chefs in to figure out how to make it for Clubhouse."

For his favorite dish on the menu, Lou Lou's Salami, LePage didn't have to look far. It's his aunt's recipe. 

"My aunt makes this for every family function and my dad will meet her in the driveway to make sure he gets a big chunk," LePage said. "It's just great to nosh on."

Other entrees on the menu include macaroni and cheese and a burger from the LePage family's past.

"My dad's first restaurant was Nifty Norman's," LePage said. "My favorite burger ever was on the menu as Nifty's Choice. We're offering it at The Clubhouse. You have to come in to see the toppings!"

Who determines where you eat?

"My kids determine where we eat," LePage said.

Knowing this is the case for most of us in Rochester Hills, he wanted to create a destination that's family-friendly.

"There's no pretense here," he said. "It's casual, great for families and kids. We're going to have board games at tables, great food and great beer. And of course some big televisions to watch the game. We'll cater to everybody."

Recalling his days at Nifty Norman's where the staff knew their customers by name, LePage hopes to capture that same sense of community at Clubhouse BFD.

"I want it to be fun," LePage said. "After all, if you can't enjoy it, then what's the purpose?"

Susan Heholt February 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM
We have been waiting anxiously for the opening, and hope it is soon! I confess, we have peeked in the windows, and love what we could see from there... While I'm excited about the beer offerings, I'm also very glad that there will be wine and spirits, and am hoping that the wine selection isn't extremely limited. Plese keep us all posted, and if there is a "preview" opportunity for select patrons, I would love to be invited!
Stephen Johnson February 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Soon you will be able to experience what will become your favorite beer bar on the East-side! I have already seen the tap list and it's amazing!!!! The decor is something to see as well.
Jennifer C. February 03, 2012 at 04:32 PM
I've been SO excited for this new beer bar to open, but I have to say I'm a little put off that they're promoting a "family friendly" atmosphere. I think we have enough places in Rochester / Rochester Hills that are "family friendly," so it would be nice to have a place like this for craft beer lovers to go for a drink and not have to sit next to a crying child. While of course the owners are not going to turn away business from families, I hope it doesn't become another Mr. B's, where children under 10 can still be seen eating their chicken fingers past midnight.
Michele Manhire February 03, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Seems odd to me that an establishment, hoping for an interested, active clientele, would call themselves "BFD". I noticed the sign weeks ago, and shook my head thinging -- I can't be the only person who knows that acronym to mean "Big F'in Deal", and used in a dismissive, non-positive manner. Odd choice... not sure I care to try.
Sus L February 07, 2012 at 07:30 PM
The vision for Clubhouse BFD is that everyone will feel welcome and comfortable. I suspect that not "everyone" would be comfortable taking their children to a Pub atmosphere. It's not like a Mr. B's or an East Side Mario's but we are very kid friendly, just not in your usual midwestern way. Regarding the reference to the name BFD. It stands For Beer, Food, Drink... and whatever else comes to mind is your choice. We know the acronym and frankly it's meant to be exactly what it is. Not too serious, and not used in a dismissive, non positive manner. Might seem "odd" to you, but hopefully you'll give us a try anyway.
Susan Heholt February 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Any update on the opening day? I would love to be there for the first glimpse, and finally get a chance to see what we have been hoping would come to that location for a LONG time!
Kristin Bull (Editor) February 15, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Clubhouse BFD is officially open for business. Let us know if you try it out!
John Ross February 18, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Stopped here to check it out after work. Nice decor and pub atmosphere, but drink prices on the "high" side. "Craft" beer does not necessarily mean I want to pay $5 - 8 a pint! With a Chapmans Mill just across the street and CK Diggs with a similar beer offering just a half mile south with a much better happy hour ($3.50/pint all 40 pours) probably would just pass on them just for pricing reasons. However, another choice In the area is always nice and we'll see if they can compete.
Susan Heholt February 18, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Well, we finally got a chance to go inside & check out the new place. Nice people! Beer prices are, well,,, pricey. We chose to eat the mussels which were very good, and the macaroni and cheese (we added shrimp) which was creamy, warm and scrumptious. The bread pudding alamode was absolutely wonderful. Not sure there is much more on the menu that is worth the prices they are asking, but the ones we tried were delicious, but expensive. We enjoyed our time there, and I think they might do well, but will have to get in tune with their immediate competition. I agree with John, there are too many really good alternatives that price well, for Clubhouse BFD not to pay attention.
Kristin Bull (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Thanks for the reviews, John and Susan. Our Laura Cassar ate there this weekend, too. We are excited to read about her experience on Wednesday!
Patch February 23, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Susanne, very encouraged by your potentially large selection of Michigan craft beers. The more you feature, the more I (and my friends) will stop by. Many colleague educated folk around the area have been hungering for a place that features craft beers instead of the national brand “water” beers, which lack character, taste, or “beer” for that matter.

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