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Rock Ventures Launches Three Detroit Restaurants

Gilly’s Clubhouse & Rooftop—two concepts under one brand—and Saksey’s Cocktail Lounge represent the new options in the Motor City

By Kathy Gibbons

Detroit-based holding company Rock Ventures and commercial real estate firm Bedrock Detroit have partnered with 7OH2 Hospitality on three dining concepts with event space opening downtown in The Motor City. Founded by Dan Gilbert of Rock Ventures, Rock is dedicated to fostering positive impact for businesses and people in communities the company serves, while Bedrock is a full-service real estate firm that has invested and committed $6 billion-plus in more than 100 properties in Detroit and Cleveland, Ohio. 7OH2 is a boutique hospitality and marketing company comprised of food and beverage professionals—new to the Detroit market.

Rendering of the clubhouse portion of Gilly’s Clubhouse & Rooftop
Rendering of the clubhouse portion of Gilly’s Clubhouse & Rooftop || Photo by Coeval Studio

“I was in Vegas for 12 years working in and operating venues inside of casinos, so I had a very deep-rooted relationship with the convention services teams and convention managers teams, and an understanding of how important building venues that support those types of events can be,” says 7OH2 founder Josh Lang. When he came to Detroit and took stock of the hospitality landscape, he observed that there is a healthy market for private event sales. “There are corporate events everywhere, almost every day,” he says.

Lang had that in mind while developing the new venues in the Bedrock-owned Kay Baum Building on Woodward Avenue. “We created four different floors that could potentially be purchased for private events at the same time,” he notes. Gilly’s Clubhouse & Rooftop, recently opened, represents two concepts under one brand. “The clubhouse portion of it is a sports bar on two floors with a main level that has patio access,” Lang explains, noting that Gilly’s has its own kitchen. “It has a cafe, it has standard barroom tables, rectangular highboys for six to eight people, a DJ booth, TVs everywhere, plus one major [120-square-foot] TV. And the mezzanine overlooks the main floor.” He also adds, “It’s a great space for someone to be on the mezzanine and give a speech; then we can transfer the video feed to all the TVs and have it show on the big screen.” A glass-enclosed private dining room on the mezzanine can hold groups of up to 125.

On the rooftop, an Airstream trailer built into the wall is the base for a kitchen turning out Mexican street classics, with beverages revolving around tequila. There’s also an atrium along with a separate terrace that seats 25 outdoors.

The other venue is Saksey’s Cocktail Lounge, opening this summer. Housed in the lower level of Gilly’s, it’s a sports bar based on the vision of Gilbert’s late son Nick, who developed the initial design and concept for the venue before his death from a genetic disorder last year. The food menu presents sharable plates with cocktails mixed tableside. Saksey’s also will be available for private events.