The Renaissance of Oak Park

By: Mark H. Stowers

Prohibition ended in 1933 but in Oak Park, the city was “dry” from 1950 to 2013. Oak Park had been the largest of four dry cities in Michigan until July of 2013. The city had allowed stores to sell beer, wine and liquor by the bottle, but had banned all by-the-glass alcohol sales since the city was incorporated in 1945.

The Renaissance of Oak Park

These days, there’s a Renaissance happening in Oak Park – fueled by amazing restaurants and brew pubs, cooking up their own beer – and affordable and unique housing.

Dog and Pony Show Brewing opened their doors in what they believe is the “perfect location.”

“Oak Park has never had a brewery before. We thought it would be a great location,” Manager Ashley said. “It’s a great neighborhood. We’re right in line with Berkley and Oak Park. It’s just the perfect location.”

The brew pub, owned by a trio of brothers, offers 12 beers always on tap as well as one cider and “we have all different kinds of beer.”

Ashley has seen plenty more beer purveyors come on the scene on 11 Mile between Greenfield and Coolidge.

“There’s another brewery right down the road opening up. There’s another brewery called Black Hops. It’s all owned African American brewery. It’s great for foot traffic. There is a restaurant with a full bar that just opened called Oak Park Social. We’re very excited to see what’s going to happen in the next five years here.”

Jim Shaffer has been a resident of Oak Park and is often drawn back to help buyers and sellers of the 30,000 resident city.

“Oak Park is a cool, hip, happening place,” Shaffer said. “Oak Park obviously has a lot going on. It’s ‘location, location, location.’ Just like any other real estate. They are a sister city to Ferndale and Berkley as well as Royal Oak. You have the benefit of all of those downtown areas.”

He noted that Oak Park has its own special dining mile.

“Restaurant Alley down 11 Mile. They just started issuing liquor licenses a few years ago for the first time in decades,” he said. “Breweries and coffee shops – you get the benefit of all those other sister cities without the high price tag of housing.”

With a city pool, well-known library, Shepherd Park, and a vast Jewish community, Oak Park has become a true melting pot of all walks of life creating true diversity.

“Diversity is key and a strength in that community. And they’ve got three school districts – a portion that goes to Ferndale, portion that goes to Oak Park and a portion that has Berkley schools.”

He also noted, “there’s a new walking trail on Nine Mile and they’ve made lots of investment in infrastructure. The leadership there has a vision. The city is amazingly located, easy expressway access and easily walkable and bike-able to the sister communities.”

On the real estate side of things, Shaffer explained Oak Park’s property value is “interesting affordable with a mixed stock of housing. There’s a lot of things built in the 1950s, a lot of ranches, some cool mid-century modern stuff happening there. I used to live on Rowan Oak in Oak Park.”

With plenty to do and plenty to afford in Oak Park, check out the August 24th, 2022 Sip and Sell Seminar at the Dog and Pony Show Brewery. Click here for more!

Oak Park, interestingly affordable with a restaurant alley that everyone’s toasting!


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