Perched atop the restored Metropolitan Building in downtown, the Monarch Club rooftop bar opened on Saturday, May 11, with sweeping views of the Detroit skyline. Located on the 13th story of the neo-Gothic property that was once home to the city’s jewelers and watchmakers, it’s the tallest rooftop bar available to the public in the area. With three outdoor terraces, it’s an impressive vantage point to look out at the city’s iconic architecture.
Visitors can access the Monarch Club by wandering into the refurbished lobby of the Element Hotel and hopping on an elevator. The doors open onto the main landing of the 150-seat bar, which is filled in by plush, red banquette seating and a white marble-topped bar. A pair of double doors demarcate additional lounges for regular bar service or private events with access to two of the building’s three patio spaces. The rooms were once concrete boxes used primarily by technicians servicing machinery at the top of the building. No they feature finished blue walls, leather armchairs, and views of the city through arched windows.
The third patio area, which will remain open to the public regardless of private events, overlooks the north side of the building towards Woodward Avenue and Comerica Park. Each of the terraces is outfitted with tables and fire pits for relaxing and enjoying the scenery — maybe even some baseball game fireworks — during nice weather.
Chef Jared Bobkin, a Hell’s Kitchen alum who previously ran food services for the Oakland Hills Country Club, is overseeing day-to-day operations at the Monarch Club alongside beverage director Mike Eisenberg of Grey Ghost, Detroit Optimist Society, and Roast. The pair together with Monarch Club’s operator Azul Hospitality and the development team at the Roxbury Group came up with the bar menu. Both Bobkin and Eisenberg agree that the primary focus is on the drinks.
Eisenberg says he tried to develop a list of classic drinks like French 75s and gin martinis and break them up with more original drinks like the Sasha Says with El Jimador Reposado, maple syrup, and egg. There’s also a handful of beers and wine — especially the effervescent varieties that Eisenberg says pair well with patio drinking. Drinks range from around $8 up to $22. Bobkin’s snacks are designed to complement the cocktails with options like barbecue brisket sliders and Zia’s meatballs, a traditional Italian meatball topped with a crispy disc of parmesan cheese.
Photographer Michelle Gerard visited the Monarch Club ahead of its public opening when the spring weather cooperated to check out the lounges and most importantly those stunning rooftop patios. Take a tour of the bar in the gallery below.
The Monarch Club is located at 33 John R St. (13th floor); open 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.