After a long wait, Ferndale's Loving Touch is set to open next week

Chris Johnston thinks patrons will be most impressed with the little details in his latest venture in downtown Ferndale – The Loving Touch.

Details like the live greenery, the back atrium and wood from local trees in the pool hall next door to the Woodward Avenue Brewers on Woodward Avenue. The space is set to open on Tuesday.

"It's been a long time coming but I think people will be impressed with what we have been working on for the last 1.5-2 years," says Chris Johnston, one of the co-owners of the highly anticipated billard joint

Its tongue-in-cheek name (after an old massage parlor) and suggestive sign (neon mud flap girl) have attracted the most attention. However, Johnston thinks patrons will remember the place for its atmosphere, such as its painstakingly finished wood.

"It's not rough around the edges but it’s not polished either," Johnston says. "It's subtle."

The pool hall replaces the old Paperbacks Unlimited storefront next to the WAB facing Woodward. The 5,000-square-foot space will have eight or nine pool tables and an atrium in the back. Two walls will be alive with plants.

Johnston also owns a piece of The Emory and the WAB with the same partners invested in The Loving Touch. And they are pushing the envelope with local officials.

First the name is taken from an infamous massage parlor in downtown that closed in the early 1990s.

Second is the proposed pool sign. The Loving Touch owners want to create a neon version of the mud flap girl that will seductively "kick" a pool ball, lighting up the name of the business. Johnston and his partners see this a potentially iconic piece of art that goes well with the Woodward Dream Cruise. As cool and tongue-in-cheek retro as it is, the idea has received a cool reception from a few city officials.

Source: Chris Johnston, co-owner of Woodward Avenue Brewers and The Loving Touch
Writer: Jon Zemke
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