The Pine Tap at DTE Energy Music Theatre near Detroit.
Beer flowed at the season-opener Eddie Money show May 25 at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich. Improvements to the facility added excitement to the opening, which marked the venue’s 40-year anniversary.
“We’ve added broader, new menu offerings throughout the venue, enhancements to the audio system and a cleaned-up look for the entire facility and grounds,” said CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment Dennis Mannion. “Fans can also enjoy The Pine Tap, our new open-air beer garden, which is a great spot to gather before and after the show.”
Jeff Corey, VP of Public Relations for PS&E, said that the beer garden is the most exciting new addition because it provides fans with a postconcert option.
“Before the improvements, fans had nowhere to go after a show except to their cars,” said Corey. “It’s a great spot to meet after a show to have a couple drinks while traffic clears.”
The Pine Tap serves more than 20 types of beer, spanning craft, retro and traditional brews, as well as full bar service and food options. The new hangout creates eight additional points of sale. Even though the beers are higher quality, fans shouldn’t expect the price tag to increase as well.
“The beers are priced the same amount people would normally pay for beers at a sporting or concert event,” said Corey.
It has been a slow run so far for The Pine Tap because, of the four concerts at DTE Energy Music Theatre so far this season, the demographics haven’t been the beer-drinking type.
“The Drake show had an average attendee age of about 17,” said Corey, “and another show was contemporary Christian music, so we’re waiting to get some real feedback on the beer garden.”
Levy Restaurants is providing 34 new food items throughout the venue, including spicy choices like Ancho Spiced Chicken Quesadillas, Wings, and Buffalo-Style Sausage Bites.
Corey said it is too early to track changes in per caps, but he expects that the new menu items will provide enough variety that there will be something for everyone.
The theater has also introduced a Meyer MILO Line Array sound system. Previously, speakers sat on the stage, which interfered with some sightlines. The new sound system is fully suspended above the stage to eradicate those problems. Corey said that the system allows for improved audio quality without having to raise the volume.
DTE Energy Music Theatre also has new signage to complement its new color scheme.
“We have various shades of green and keep within that palette,” said Corey. “In the past we had a lot of different colors and now we’re trying to keep a more consistent look that’s a little less chaotic.”
The barrage of changes comes after PS&E introduced a new ownership board last fall.
“We’ve done something to improve some aspect of the venue pretty much every year,” said Corey, “but now the new board is committed to continuing to better the property. We do have a 40-year-old venue, so there’s always something to do.”
Interviewed for this story: Jeff Corey, (248) 377-8204; Dennis Mannion, (248) 377-8200