Dave Kwiatkowski’s cocktail empire the Detroit Optimist Society is bringing its next project — Mutiny Bar — to Southwest Detroit. Kwiatkowski confirms to Eater that the bar is slated to open to the public on November 11 at the corner of West Vernor and Lansing Street.
The new cocktail spot is currently under renovation inside the VL Bar, a slightly dive-y neighborhood watering hole with a wood paneling aesthetic that once offered affordable domestic beers, shots, and 25-cent pool.
Kwiatkowski says that he was a longtime patron of the VL, which shares a wall with Chicago’s Pizza. He eventually purchased the brick building from the owner in October and closed it shortly after for updates and redecorating.
“We’re playing with the idea of dive tiki,” Kwiatkowski says. “Mutiny goes against the kind of pretension that a lot of other bars have and, I guess, a lot of my other bars have.” Customers can expect “blender drinks” and karaoke. Bartender Chris Vanderginst, who worked as general manager at The Sugar House in Corktown for the past year and a half, will be running the day-to-day operations.
The narrow bar space will bear similarities to its previous occupant. However, customers can expect some changes to the interior. “We pulled out the floors and found there was some terrazzo under it,” he says of the renovations. The Detroit Optimist Society team also recently replaced the VL signage with a blue and yellow flag featuring Mutiny’s emblem — an “M” and a fist holding a dagger.
Mutiny is just one of several recent additions to the Detroit Optimist Society stable of bars and restaurants. The group currently counts The Sugar House, Wright & Company, The Peterboro, and Bad Luck Bar among its properties. Earlier this month, Detroit Optimist also took over operations of The Buhl Bar in downtown Detroit. Kwiatkowski is currently in the process of developing a charcuterie and wine restaurant called Gratiot Avenue Provisions in a space near Eastern Market.
Mutiny Bar is part of a recent influx of restaurants and bars in the dense Southwest Detroit neighborhood. The tiki lounge is just a few blocks from PizzaPlex and the under renovation Flowers of Vietnam as well as bar, pizzeria, and music venue El Club.