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Where to Sip Mocktails That Are Better Than a Shirley Temple

Yes, people are drinking more alcohol during the pandemic, but others are turning to these Detroit bars’ flavorful booze-free cocktails

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Alcohol sales in Michigan have soared during the pandemic. But whether because of allergies, religion, or a lifestyle shift, boozy beverages aren’t always an option.

Thankfully, non-alcohol beverage choices have graduated beyond the super-sweet Shirley Temples and virgin margaritas. Some bars have stepped up their nonalcoholic game with mocktails (aka drinks without the buzz ) that are just as flavorful, creative — and sometimes half the price of — as their alcoholic counterparts. They’re often also half the price.

From a creamy lemonade to a spicy raspberry lemon cooler, these bars and restaurants’ mocktails leave no reason to be mocked.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Evening Bar

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This intimate and modern bar at the Shinola Hotel crafts seasonal cocktails utilizing organic fruit and vegetable extracts. The Like a Virgin drinks menu has several no- or -low-alcohol drinks such as a creamy lemonade and a tasty strawberry shrub and club.

The bar at Evening Bar shows a bar with five stools facing a fully stocked bar of bottles on display. there’s a large mirror in the background.The surface of the bar and the floors are wood. HayesDavidson

The Monarch Club

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Detroit has a few options to grab a rooftop drink but the castle- and social club-inspired Monarch Club atop the 14-story Metropolitan Building downtown is believed to be the tallest. The club has a bar and a variety of lounge-style seating inside, plus four outdoor spaces with seating and fire pits. Mocktails here are “dealer’s choice,” meaning decided by the bartender.

Grey Ghost Detroit

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Impress a date, client, or out-of-town guest with a stop at Grey Ghost. With a name that nods to the alias of the most notorious rum-running pirate on the Detroit River during the Prohibition era, it’s got a great speakeasy vibe. The restaurant has five mocktails that would pair well with steak, oysters, or fried bologna, from the house rock and rye, to the refreshing Lift Off, which combines orange, cucumber, melon, ginger, cream, and lemon flavors.

The Peterboro

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The Peterboro serves stylish, contemporary takes on American-Chinese classics. Pair the so-braised chicken wings or dumplings with a fruity Golden Hour, made with orange juice, lime, coconut, and tonic; or the refreshingly spicy Suckerpunch, created with hibiscus, lime, habanero, and grapefruit.

A restaurant dining room full of chairs surrounding two communal tables. Round Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling. Gerard + Belevender

Castalia at Sfumato

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On the first floor of a Victorian mansion, Castalia serves cocktails inspired by the natural fragrances of its sister perfume shop, Sfumato. Focusing on the harmony between flavor and fragrance, each drink is paired with a scent. The mocktails are about half the price of cocktails, but the roster is almost as long. The Bright Idea (hibiscus, grapefruit juice, raw sugar, and soda water) pairs with the Epiphany scent; Perpetual Motion (bitter cherry, orange peel, gentian root, orris root, barley, and grains of paradise) pairs with the Gravitas scent.

TRIA - Inspired American Cuisine

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Inside the lobby of the Henry Hotel, this American brasserie is a great upscale, casual setting for lunch, dinner, or drinks. Pair munchies, entrees, desserts, with a mocktail. For a drink with a kick, there’s the spicy raspberry lemon cooler with ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, spicy habanero lime syrup, and raspberry syrup. Get a lift with the sunrise, made with orange juice, sour mix, ginger ale, and grenadine garnished with orange and a marachino cherry.

A glass of the spicy raspberry lemon cooler with ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, spicy habanero lime syrup, and raspberry syrup. It’s garnished with a lime slice.
Spicy raspberry lemon cooler
TRIA

Dragonfly

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Dragonfly, the new bar attached to the Freya tasting menu restaurant in Milwaukee Junction, has a lineup of no- and low-alcoholic drinks. The Iron & Silk is made with baobab passionfruit, cinnamon maple, and passionfruit soda. The refreshing Heart So White is a surprising blend of chocolate coconut water, strawberry, lavender, and a non-alcoholic sparkling aperitif. The cocktails can also be paired with the menu at Freya.

The Dragonfly has four or five tables for two, with a rounded bar in the background. Monica Williams

Chive Kitchen

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No longer offering day-to-day full-service dining experience, the vegetarian cafe and deli has been converted to a more casual grab-and-go counter space with ticketed events. Thankfully, the mocktails remain on the menu: Order the Pear Limonata, made with juice from pears, lemon, mint, and mineral water, or the Rose Berry Baby Spritzer (house strawberry juice, muddled strawberries, mint, rose water, lime juice, and mineral water).

Zao Jun New Asian & Sushi

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Ginger, scallions, and chili peppers dominate the creative dishes at this hip, stylish, Pan-Asian restaurant. That might be cause for a drink. Try Zao-made lemonade, created with lemongrass, ginger, and fresh-squeezed lemon; or cool things off with a Vietnamese banana milk that’s flavored with cinnamon syrup.

The Oakland

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In the heart of Ferndale, this friendly neighborhood speakeasy serves whiskey and cocktails under ornate chandeliers. It also pours the non-alcoholic Beach Ball (coconut milk, lemon, pineapple, cinnamon, and orgeat made in-house).

Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails

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Cocktails are in the name of this popular farm-to-table eastside restaurant. Have an organic, grass-fed beef with the non-alcoholic Shirley Ginger (ginger beer, club soda, lime juice, grenadine lime rounds, maraschino cherries) or the Rosemary Blueberry Splash (blueberries, rosemary sprig, stripped, honey syrup, lemonade, sparkling mineral water, ice muddle blueberries, rosemary, and honey).

Evening Bar

The bar at Evening Bar shows a bar with five stools facing a fully stocked bar of bottles on display. there’s a large mirror in the background.The surface of the bar and the floors are wood. HayesDavidson

This intimate and modern bar at the Shinola Hotel crafts seasonal cocktails utilizing organic fruit and vegetable extracts. The Like a Virgin drinks menu has several no- or -low-alcohol drinks such as a creamy lemonade and a tasty strawberry shrub and club.

The bar at Evening Bar shows a bar with five stools facing a fully stocked bar of bottles on display. there’s a large mirror in the background.The surface of the bar and the floors are wood. HayesDavidson

The Monarch Club

Detroit has a few options to grab a rooftop drink but the castle- and social club-inspired Monarch Club atop the 14-story Metropolitan Building downtown is believed to be the tallest. The club has a bar and a variety of lounge-style seating inside, plus four outdoor spaces with seating and fire pits. Mocktails here are “dealer’s choice,” meaning decided by the bartender.

Grey Ghost Detroit

Impress a date, client, or out-of-town guest with a stop at Grey Ghost. With a name that nods to the alias of the most notorious rum-running pirate on the Detroit River during the Prohibition era, it’s got a great speakeasy vibe. The restaurant has five mocktails that would pair well with steak, oysters, or fried bologna, from the house rock and rye, to the refreshing Lift Off, which combines orange, cucumber, melon, ginger, cream, and lemon flavors.

The Peterboro

A restaurant dining room full of chairs surrounding two communal tables. Round Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling. Gerard + Belevender

The Peterboro serves stylish, contemporary takes on American-Chinese classics. Pair the so-braised chicken wings or dumplings with a fruity Golden Hour, made with orange juice, lime, coconut, and tonic; or the refreshingly spicy Suckerpunch, created with hibiscus, lime, habanero, and grapefruit.

A restaurant dining room full of chairs surrounding two communal tables. Round Chinese lanterns hang from the ceiling. Gerard + Belevender

Castalia at Sfumato

On the first floor of a Victorian mansion, Castalia serves cocktails inspired by the natural fragrances of its sister perfume shop, Sfumato. Focusing on the harmony between flavor and fragrance, each drink is paired with a scent. The mocktails are about half the price of cocktails, but the roster is almost as long. The Bright Idea (hibiscus, grapefruit juice, raw sugar, and soda water) pairs with the Epiphany scent; Perpetual Motion (bitter cherry, orange peel, gentian root, orris root, barley, and grains of paradise) pairs with the Gravitas scent.

TRIA - Inspired American Cuisine

A glass of the spicy raspberry lemon cooler with ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, spicy habanero lime syrup, and raspberry syrup. It’s garnished with a lime slice.
Spicy raspberry lemon cooler
TRIA

Inside the lobby of the Henry Hotel, this American brasserie is a great upscale, casual setting for lunch, dinner, or drinks. Pair munchies, entrees, desserts, with a mocktail. For a drink with a kick, there’s the spicy raspberry lemon cooler with ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, spicy habanero lime syrup, and raspberry syrup. Get a lift with the sunrise, made with orange juice, sour mix, ginger ale, and grenadine garnished with orange and a marachino cherry.

A glass of the spicy raspberry lemon cooler with ginger beer, fresh lemon juice, spicy habanero lime syrup, and raspberry syrup. It’s garnished with a lime slice.
Spicy raspberry lemon cooler
TRIA

Dragonfly

The Dragonfly has four or five tables for two, with a rounded bar in the background. Monica Williams

Dragonfly, the new bar attached to the Freya tasting menu restaurant in Milwaukee Junction, has a lineup of no- and low-alcoholic drinks. The Iron & Silk is made with baobab passionfruit, cinnamon maple, and passionfruit soda. The refreshing Heart So White is a surprising blend of chocolate coconut water, strawberry, lavender, and a non-alcoholic sparkling aperitif. The cocktails can also be paired with the menu at Freya.

The Dragonfly has four or five tables for two, with a rounded bar in the background. Monica Williams

Chive Kitchen

No longer offering day-to-day full-service dining experience, the vegetarian cafe and deli has been converted to a more casual grab-and-go counter space with ticketed events. Thankfully, the mocktails remain on the menu: Order the Pear Limonata, made with juice from pears, lemon, mint, and mineral water, or the Rose Berry Baby Spritzer (house strawberry juice, muddled strawberries, mint, rose water, lime juice, and mineral water).

Zao Jun New Asian & Sushi

Ginger, scallions, and chili peppers dominate the creative dishes at this hip, stylish, Pan-Asian restaurant. That might be cause for a drink. Try Zao-made lemonade, created with lemongrass, ginger, and fresh-squeezed lemon; or cool things off with a Vietnamese banana milk that’s flavored with cinnamon syrup.

The Oakland

In the heart of Ferndale, this friendly neighborhood speakeasy serves whiskey and cocktails under ornate chandeliers. It also pours the non-alcoholic Beach Ball (coconut milk, lemon, pineapple, cinnamon, and orgeat made in-house).

Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails

Cocktails are in the name of this popular farm-to-table eastside restaurant. Have an organic, grass-fed beef with the non-alcoholic Shirley Ginger (ginger beer, club soda, lime juice, grenadine lime rounds, maraschino cherries) or the Rosemary Blueberry Splash (blueberries, rosemary sprig, stripped, honey syrup, lemonade, sparkling mineral water, ice muddle blueberries, rosemary, and honey).

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