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Three glasses with drinks in them and a lamp on top of a stone table top at Candy Bar in Detroit, Michigan. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

24 Essential Detroit Bars to Try

Standout spots to grab an espresso martini, local beer, or shot around town.

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Detroit is a great bar city. Whether grabbing a simple shot and beer to unwind after work at the corner dive, celebrating with friends in the area’s many new bars, rooting for the local teams at the sports-centric watering holes, or appreciating the latest in local beer — there’s bound to be a spot to fit anyone’s tastes.

Below, find the finest examples of what Detroit’s bar scene has to offer, from old-school jazz clubs to unpretentious wine bars. Quite a few of these bar menus also feature zero-proof options — ensuring fun for everyone.

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Baker's Keyboard Lounge

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Right off Eight Mile, Baker’s is one of the world's oldest continuously operating jazz clubs. The restaurant, known for its signature piano bar and soul food, features regular live events that draw music lovers from around the city. Go for house favorites like fried chicken, collard greens, and the incredible peach cobbler served with great live jazz. Consider calling ahead for a reservation.

Ladder 4 Wine Bar

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The Eater Award-winning Ladder 4 operates as a wine bar and a retail wine shop — with more than 200 varieties for sale. The space also features a full-scale dinner menu developed by John Yelinek, who also helms the popular Park Ranger pop-up. The spot hosts live music events and has three spacious patios and a backyard.

Two James Distillery

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The tasting room at Two James in Corktown gives both industrial and inviting vibes with its round concrete bar in the center, where a quirky, friendly bartender mixes up cocktails and mocktails. The cocktail menu here changes with the seasons and complements the flavor profiles of the distillery’s many spirits. The Amanda features two. The Nain Rouge Absinthe and Old Cockney Gin are paired with strawberry, egg white, and vanilla. Tours are also available by booking ahead. Looking for a bite before drinks? Two James owner David Landrum launched Supergeil, which specializes in Berlin-style döner and tinned seafood, as well as a bar fully stocked with Two James.

The Sugar House

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One of the bars that helped usher in Detroit’s cocktail revival, the Sugar House is known for training some of the best bartenders in the city (its owners have since opened several other excellent establishments). The bar serves an extremely deep and detailed list of classic drinks as well as original — often themed — recipes.

Motor City Wine

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Motor City Wine defies expectations of what a wine bar should be. This longtime drinking spot features a quality selection of bottles from around the world for sale in its shop as well as by-the-glass and bottled choices behind the bar. The fenced-in patio is a popular destination during the warm summer season, while the indoor space serves as a cozy option for sips and taking in DJ and jazz sets.

UFO Factory

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Indie music venue and bar UFO Factory offers a chill spot to grab a beer, a simple cocktail, and a snack. Yes, this spot is great for casual beer and reasonably-priced cocktails made with the bar’s selection of house-made cocktail mixers. In the snacks department is Laika Dog, featuring toppings such as the banh mi, Detroit-style with vegan coney chili, and the PB&J featuring Thai peanut sauce. When weather permits, the rooftop deck bar is used for outdoor drinking and free movie nights.

Nemo's Bar

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For more than 50 years, this Michigan Avenue tavern has catered to baseball and hockey fans, though the Tigers Stadium has long since moved out of Corktown. The bar is known for serving a classic cheeseburger and stiff, affordable drinks. Remember to bring cash.

‎Batch Brewing Company

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This Corktown brewery is a destination among beer fans. The beer garden keeps a rotating list of brews on tap, ranging from Kölsch to Doppelbock, to beer slushies and house-made sodas. The kitchen features a regular menu of pretzels, nachos, and a rotating list of offerings from their large smokers. Taqueria El Rey pops up with their fare every Monday and Tuesday. The spacious outdoor patio space is covered and will soon become a great place to watch local music.

Downtown Black-owned cocktail bar, Willow pays homage to Southern hospitality. The speakeasy is located in the alley around the corner from SavannahBlue downtown. Restaurateurs Ron Scott, J.D. Simpson, and Roger Yopp debuted the spot in 2022. Guests are greeted at the entrance by a maître d’ who leads them to the luxurious interior. The menu is designed to tell the story of the Black experience through the lens of drinks.

A photo of the yellow alley door of Willow which is painted with a willow tree. Serena Maria Daniels

The Royce Detroit

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The Royce is the Grand Circus Park-adjacent wine bar and bottle shop situated on the first and second levels of the Kales Building. The storefront features custom shelving made from walnut wood and piping, globe light fixtures, and library ladders. A 12-seat bar fills out the center of the first floor. Owner Ping Ho and wine buyer Bobby Vance have curated a massive wine program featuring some 300-plus bottles available for retail, an extensive menu for pours by the glass or bottle, and a selection of cured meats and cheeses. The spot even offers classes for those who want to expand upon their wine knowledge base.

Paramita Sound

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This downtown record shop doubles as a wine bar and is the ideal pocket-sized spot to start an evening on the town. Situated in the Siren Hotel, guests can get comfortable at the bar with a selection of wines by the glass, a limited menu of beers and hard ciders, and mixed drinks whilst perusing the spot’s collection of vinyl records available for sale and taking in the sounds of the in-house DJ, broadcasts of the big sports game, or special musical events.

Candy Bar

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The pretty-in-pink, swanky downtown cocktail bar makes for the ideal date night, either to begin the evening or for a fancy nightcap. The plush velvet booths and massive chandelier put guests in the mood to be glamorous, while the drink menu changes regularly. Original cocktails have included the fruity Oaxaca Sunset with tequila, mezcal, watermelon, lime, and cilantro to complement the spot’s fun takes on classics like espresso martinis. Reservations are recommended, however, walk-ins are always welcome.

The Skip

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The Skip in the Belt alleyway gives guests energetic downtown vibes, with a cozy, festival feel no matter the time of year. During the warmer months, the indoor-outdoor spot opens its walls so that guests can spread out with frozen cocktails and catch summer breezes in the outdoor seating area. During the winter, the place closes off the outdoor area but keeps things fun with a variety of tiki-style drinks and usually nostalgia-inducing holiday specials. Satellite Food Truck’s sister cart, Hell Yeah Dog, serves fancy hot dogs for late-night munchies.

Cøllect Beer Bar

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Across from the Gratiot Market is Cøllect Beer Bar. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy rooftop views that overlook the market, an occasional pop-up and DJ set, unique beer list, a small pour of the German digestif Underberg (which Cøllect has on tap). Food from Bunny Bunny and its pop-up Big Girl Detroit round out the experience. There’s a cooler full of beers by the can, wines by the bottle, and non-alcoholic options from across the state.

Detroit City Distillery

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This Eastern Market distillery produces a diverse selection of high-quality spirits at its nearby production facility ranging from whiskey to gin and vodka, including its annual limited-edition honey bourbon, made in collaboration with Bees in the D. The tasting room boasts moody lighting, a variety of original and classic cocktails that change with the seasons, and during the summer DCD expands out onto Riopelle where bartenders sling drinks from an outdoor bar and guests can lounge about and maybe snack on the Indian street food available at Midnight Temple next door.

Spot Lite Detroit

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This spacious bar, gallery, record shop, and event space has quickly become the place for East Siders and non-East Siders alike. Meeting someone for a morning coffee meeting? The indoor Cairo Coffee kiosk has that covered. For after-work cocktails, the full-scale bar offers up classics like martinis, sangria, mojitos, and beer and wine. Spot Lite also frequently hosts private parties, gallery exhibitions, prime DJ sets, and other special events (especially during Movement).

Cadieux Cafe

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This old world Belgian establishment near East English Village is carrying on the Flemish tradition of featherbowling (similar to bocce ball). Reserve a lane for a group and roll some wooden wheels while sipping a beer. The bar serves a selection of European brews plus the standard domestic and craft beers. It’s also known for that quintessential Belgian beer accompaniment — steamed mussels.

Temple Bar

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This come-as-you-are, LGBTQ-friendly spot has been serving drinks in Cass Corridor for decades. Drop in for a local selection of beers and music. Park in the back lot and enter through the gate to access Temple’s outdoor space.

Castalia at Sfumato

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Dive down to the basement level of an old Victorian mansion in Cass Corridor to find this small and cozy bar. By day, the space operates as fragrance brand Sfumato, and by night it converts into a sleek lounge called Castilia that pairs cocktails with perfumes for a multi-sensory drinking experience. The non-alcoholic menu is curated in the same manner as the spirit-forward one, so guests can enjoy one or both options. When making a reservation, guests are able to reserve charcuterie for their party, which is also paired with a scent experience.

Stadt Garten

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Midtown’s German beer and wine patio features a robust beverage menu of wine and beer from Germany and underrepresented regions of Europe — all ordered from a window facing the spot’s outdoor garden area. Guests can grab a bottle of wine, share a handful of snacks, enjoy a food truck or pop-up on select days, and gather around a small fire pit on cool summer evenings.

Cata Vino

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This sibling of La Feria spotlights Spanish sherry and Basque cider in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere. Selections are available by the bottle, the glass, and in flights, so customers can sample different styles of sherry. Pair the drinks with tapas-style bar snacks like Serrano ham, olives, and tinned fish.

Kiesling

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Eater Award-winning saloon brings a strong cocktail game to the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. With past lives as a general store, a saloon, and a cop bar, this beautifully restored spot honors its history by maintaining the interior’s immaculate woodwork, exposed brick, and hand-painted mural uncovered during the spot’s renovation. Guests can keep things simple with the bar’s $5 beer and shot special or get creative with a long list of classic cocktails with a twist.

Dragonfly

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The folks behind Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails and the Oakland bar in Ferndale recently opened Freya, a tasting-menu establishment, and Dragonfly, a more casual bar that leans in on the low ABV movement with a variety of cocktails, low alcohol beverages, and mocktails — both set next to each other in the Milwaukee Junction area. Herbal teas, fruits and veggies, and natural sweeteners are used to flavor cocktails like the Forgotten Kingdom with Smokey Mist Tea Liqueur, oolong tea liqueur, ginger, honey, and lemon. Happy hour is available 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.

Bumbo's

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This refurbished neighborhood bar in Hamtramck has friendly service and delicious, affordable cocktails and beer. The drink menu changes frequently, but expect a list of cocktails that range from light and refreshing, as with the Frenchie made with gin or vodka, elderflower liquor, and grapefruit, to the stiffer drinks like the Boulevardier or Negroni with bourbon or gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. When the winter hits, Bumbo’s has been known to serve hot toddies, perfect for sipping on the fenced-in, heated patio.

Baker's Keyboard Lounge

Right off Eight Mile, Baker’s is one of the world's oldest continuously operating jazz clubs. The restaurant, known for its signature piano bar and soul food, features regular live events that draw music lovers from around the city. Go for house favorites like fried chicken, collard greens, and the incredible peach cobbler served with great live jazz. Consider calling ahead for a reservation.

Ladder 4 Wine Bar

The Eater Award-winning Ladder 4 operates as a wine bar and a retail wine shop — with more than 200 varieties for sale. The space also features a full-scale dinner menu developed by John Yelinek, who also helms the popular Park Ranger pop-up. The spot hosts live music events and has three spacious patios and a backyard.

Two James Distillery

The tasting room at Two James in Corktown gives both industrial and inviting vibes with its round concrete bar in the center, where a quirky, friendly bartender mixes up cocktails and mocktails. The cocktail menu here changes with the seasons and complements the flavor profiles of the distillery’s many spirits. The Amanda features two. The Nain Rouge Absinthe and Old Cockney Gin are paired with strawberry, egg white, and vanilla. Tours are also available by booking ahead. Looking for a bite before drinks? Two James owner David Landrum launched Supergeil, which specializes in Berlin-style döner and tinned seafood, as well as a bar fully stocked with Two James.

The Sugar House

One of the bars that helped usher in Detroit’s cocktail revival, the Sugar House is known for training some of the best bartenders in the city (its owners have since opened several other excellent establishments). The bar serves an extremely deep and detailed list of classic drinks as well as original — often themed — recipes.

Motor City Wine

Motor City Wine defies expectations of what a wine bar should be. This longtime drinking spot features a quality selection of bottles from around the world for sale in its shop as well as by-the-glass and bottled choices behind the bar. The fenced-in patio is a popular destination during the warm summer season, while the indoor space serves as a cozy option for sips and taking in DJ and jazz sets.

UFO Factory

Indie music venue and bar UFO Factory offers a chill spot to grab a beer, a simple cocktail, and a snack. Yes, this spot is great for casual beer and reasonably-priced cocktails made with the bar’s selection of house-made cocktail mixers. In the snacks department is Laika Dog, featuring toppings such as the banh mi, Detroit-style with vegan coney chili, and the PB&J featuring Thai peanut sauce. When weather permits, the rooftop deck bar is used for outdoor drinking and free movie nights.

Nemo's Bar

For more than 50 years, this Michigan Avenue tavern has catered to baseball and hockey fans, though the Tigers Stadium has long since moved out of Corktown. The bar is known for serving a classic cheeseburger and stiff, affordable drinks. Remember to bring cash.

‎Batch Brewing Company

This Corktown brewery is a destination among beer fans. The beer garden keeps a rotating list of brews on tap, ranging from Kölsch to Doppelbock, to beer slushies and house-made sodas. The kitchen features a regular menu of pretzels, nachos, and a rotating list of offerings from their large smokers. Taqueria El Rey pops up with their fare every Monday and Tuesday. The spacious outdoor patio space is covered and will soon become a great place to watch local music.

Willow

Downtown Black-owned cocktail bar, Willow pays homage to Southern hospitality. The speakeasy is located in the alley around the corner from SavannahBlue downtown. Restaurateurs Ron Scott, J.D. Simpson, and Roger Yopp debuted the spot in 2022. Guests are greeted at the entrance by a maître d’ who leads them to the luxurious interior. The menu is designed to tell the story of the Black experience through the lens of drinks.

A photo of the yellow alley door of Willow which is painted with a willow tree. Serena Maria Daniels

The Royce Detroit

The Royce is the Grand Circus Park-adjacent wine bar and bottle shop situated on the first and second levels of the Kales Building. The storefront features custom shelving made from walnut wood and piping, globe light fixtures, and library ladders. A 12-seat bar fills out the center of the first floor. Owner Ping Ho and wine buyer Bobby Vance have curated a massive wine program featuring some 300-plus bottles available for retail, an extensive menu for pours by the glass or bottle, and a selection of cured meats and cheeses. The spot even offers classes for those who want to expand upon their wine knowledge base.

Paramita Sound

This downtown record shop doubles as a wine bar and is the ideal pocket-sized spot to start an evening on the town. Situated in the Siren Hotel, guests can get comfortable at the bar with a selection of wines by the glass, a limited menu of beers and hard ciders, and mixed drinks whilst perusing the spot’s collection of vinyl records available for sale and taking in the sounds of the in-house DJ, broadcasts of the big sports game, or special musical events.

Candy Bar

The pretty-in-pink, swanky downtown cocktail bar makes for the ideal date night, either to begin the evening or for a fancy nightcap. The plush velvet booths and massive chandelier put guests in the mood to be glamorous, while the drink menu changes regularly. Original cocktails have included the fruity Oaxaca Sunset with tequila, mezcal, watermelon, lime, and cilantro to complement the spot’s fun takes on classics like espresso martinis. Reservations are recommended, however, walk-ins are always welcome.

The Skip

The Skip in the Belt alleyway gives guests energetic downtown vibes, with a cozy, festival feel no matter the time of year. During the warmer months, the indoor-outdoor spot opens its walls so that guests can spread out with frozen cocktails and catch summer breezes in the outdoor seating area. During the winter, the place closes off the outdoor area but keeps things fun with a variety of tiki-style drinks and usually nostalgia-inducing holiday specials. Satellite Food Truck’s sister cart, Hell Yeah Dog, serves fancy hot dogs for late-night munchies.

Cøllect Beer Bar

Across from the Gratiot Market is Cøllect Beer Bar. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy rooftop views that overlook the market, an occasional pop-up and DJ set, unique beer list, a small pour of the German digestif Underberg (which Cøllect has on tap). Food from Bunny Bunny and its pop-up Big Girl Detroit round out the experience. There’s a cooler full of beers by the can, wines by the bottle, and non-alcoholic options from across the state.

Detroit City Distillery

This Eastern Market distillery produces a diverse selection of high-quality spirits at its nearby production facility ranging from whiskey to gin and vodka, including its annual limited-edition honey bourbon, made in collaboration with Bees in the D. The tasting room boasts moody lighting, a variety of original and classic cocktails that change with the seasons, and during the summer DCD expands out onto Riopelle where bartenders sling drinks from an outdoor bar and guests can lounge about and maybe snack on the Indian street food available at Midnight Temple next door.

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Spot Lite Detroit

This spacious bar, gallery, record shop, and event space has quickly become the place for East Siders and non-East Siders alike. Meeting someone for a morning coffee meeting? The indoor Cairo Coffee kiosk has that covered. For after-work cocktails, the full-scale bar offers up classics like martinis, sangria, mojitos, and beer and wine. Spot Lite also frequently hosts private parties, gallery exhibitions, prime DJ sets, and other special events (especially during Movement).

Cadieux Cafe

This old world Belgian establishment near East English Village is carrying on the Flemish tradition of featherbowling (similar to bocce ball). Reserve a lane for a group and roll some wooden wheels while sipping a beer. The bar serves a selection of European brews plus the standard domestic and craft beers. It’s also known for that quintessential Belgian beer accompaniment — steamed mussels.

Temple Bar

This come-as-you-are, LGBTQ-friendly spot has been serving drinks in Cass Corridor for decades. Drop in for a local selection of beers and music. Park in the back lot and enter through the gate to access Temple’s outdoor space.

Castalia at Sfumato

Dive down to the basement level of an old Victorian mansion in Cass Corridor to find this small and cozy bar. By day, the space operates as fragrance brand Sfumato, and by night it converts into a sleek lounge called Castilia that pairs cocktails with perfumes for a multi-sensory drinking experience. The non-alcoholic menu is curated in the same manner as the spirit-forward one, so guests can enjoy one or both options. When making a reservation, guests are able to reserve charcuterie for their party, which is also paired with a scent experience.