Did another Prohibition era Detroit bar just fade away? As with many closures the facts surrounding the alleged closure of Stonehouse Bar aren’t completely clear. Is this a temporary hiatus or more permanent? We're not ready to say for sure.
First, let’s start with the sad report from Mickey Lyons, a respected bar historian and author who’s very tuned into the small network of really old neighborhood bars in Detroit. Today, on her personal blog, Prohibition Detroit, Lyons writes that the Stonehouse Bar — a storied biker hangout near 7 Mile and Woodward where the Purple Gang allegedly used to drink — "closed without fanfare. Officially, this week." However, Lyons doesn't provide a specific source for her confirmation. The bar has apparently been shuttered for renovations for an unknown length of time. Even Google seems to be onboard with the assessment.
One commenter on Lyon’s blog notes that she visited the bar on Fat Tuesday this year, but that by the Tigers season opener things were shut up tight. The bar’s social media also tells a story. While for a while the Facebook page was updated regularly with information about drink specials and events, there hasn’t been a new post since December 29.
Eater reached out to the bar through the listed phone number and, as is typical in these situations, didn’t receive an immediate response. Visiting the building this afternoon, an old two-story Victorian farmhouse, the windows were papered over and an old sign hung on the door stating that it would reopen in "2 weeks."
Despite the signs that Stonehouse might be closed for good, one source contradicts the rumored permanent shutter. Al Williams, who works out of an office across the street from Stonehouse, claims to be a friend of the owner and insisted that the bar is not closed. He tells Eater the man in charge of the property is in the process of transferring the liquor license from his deceased mother’s name into his own name. Whether this second hand account is actually correct remains to be seen. Eater has reached out to the owner through several channels. Stay tuned.
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