Michigan’s Oldest, Still-Operating Restaurant
The oldest saloon and oldest restaurant in Michigan just happens to be one and the same: the New Hudson Inn, located between Brighton and Novi, just off I-96.
Named after the town it resides in, the New Hudson Inn opened in 1831, which made it 190 years old in 2021. It’s not just the oldest, but the longest still-operating saloon/tavern/bar/inn in the state.
The inn had its beginnings in 1830, when Russell Alvord of New York obtained a land deed from then-president Andrew Jackson. The building originated as a stagecoach rest stop called “The Old Tavern” - later called the “New Hudson Hotel” - and it pretty much has the same architecture as it did all those years ago, obviously having continuous restoration. It catered to travelers coming and going to Detroit and Lansing, with a hotel that had a dance floor with springs! This was intended for the floor to move along with the patrons who were dancing on it. Plus, the rumors of the inn doubling as a brothel seems more likely than not.
This popular community was called “New Hudson Station” and it stood out as a most welcome sight for weary travelers and commuters.
Once the stagecoach became obsolete, the railroad kept the New Hudson alive, bringing in a steady flow of customers.
Oh, yes, there’s more. Above the main floor was a secret room which is said to have hidden escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad. This room is now available for the public to view, and contains personal items left behind by the slaves: clothes, coins, corset box, newspapers, and more. The Oakland County Historical Commission is doing its best to make sure the inn gets the Historical Marker it deserves. There are a couple of other bars that claim to be the oldest, but their start dates are listed as AFTER 1831.
The New Hudson Inn currently serves a wide variety of beer & ale, a build-your-own burger bar and music just about every night.
Drive over, have a beer and a burger, and check out some Michigan history! It’s located in Lyon Township, Oakland County.
MICHIGAN'S OLDEST, STILL-OPERATING RESTAURANT
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