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The bright red cocktail is in a coup glass on a window sill covered in blue tile.
A cocktail at Magnet.
Michelle Gerard

Where to Drink Cocktails in Detroit Right Now

From rooftop cocktail lounges to neighborhood margarita bars, here’s where to grab drinks this fall

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A cocktail at Magnet.
| Michelle Gerard

There was once a time in Detroit when craft cocktail bars were so few and far between, nearly every one seemed noteworthy. That, thankfully, is no longer the case. With more and more bar-goers developing a palate for crafty drinks, bartenders are responding with ever higher levels of quality and creativity.

The cocktail heatmap highlights hot, new cocktail destinations (bars and restaurants under a year old or ones that have made a significant recent change to their menus). Visit the essential bars map for an introduction to Detroit's more established guard. Below find 14 drinking hotspots for fall from margarita bars to rooftop cocktail lounges. Here’s a guide to the cocktail destinations of the moment.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Peso Bar

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Trendy Hubbard Richard Mexican restaurant Peso serves an extensive list of easy drinking cocktails including 20 different styles of margaritas. The classic Mexican cocktail is paired with a broader selection of mezcal and tequila-based drinks including refreshing palomas and Jaliscan cantaritos served in clay mugs. During happy hour, the bar features $5 cocktails and tequila shots.

Bagley Central

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Polished neighborhood bar Bagley Central joined Peso in Hubbard Richard in April. The bar leans casual with affordable cocktails, beers, and seasonal sangria. Choose from options like the Tope Atomico with mezcal, habanero, cucumber, citrus, and orange liqueur or the classic Pimm’s Cup. Although it doesn’t have a kitchen, Bagley Central does serve jerky snacks and occasionally hosts pop-ups.

The Library

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While the refurbished Detroit Club is a members-only type spot, the Library cocktail lounge is open to the public. Like the throwback property, the menu at this low-key hideaway pays tribute to classics like Old Fashioneds and Hemingway daiquiris, but there are also original concoctions like the Spring Snow with sake, aquavit, lemon, jalapeno rice syrup, and Angostura bitters. Some of the drinks are even served in porthole infusers.

Evening Bar

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NoHo Hospitality transplanted New York’s former Evening Bar cocktail lounge into the Shinola Hotel in January. This high-end drinking spot serves classics like Death in the Afternoon alongside options like the Flunked Summer School with gin, elderflower liqueur, pineapple, grapefruit, and lemon. Folks who are feeling peckish can order items like caviar-topped potato skins and bacon-jalapeno deviled eggs off the snack menu.

Monarch Club

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With panoramic views of the Detroit cityscape and three outdoor terraces, the Monarch Club quickly became a popular spot for al fresco drinking. The public cocktail lounge perched at the top of the Metropolitan Building serves a mixture of classic drinks alongside original options such as the Dark Corners with rye whiskey, amaro sfumato, cherry liqueur, and orange bitters.

The latest entrant into the all-day bar scene in Detroit, Karl’s serves up classic cocktails, boilermakers, and boozy milkshakes from morning ‘til late night. The bar area is outfitted with a refurbished jukebox and overlooks the People Mover track, giving the retro diner a cosmopolitan feel. Occasionally, Karl’s hosts live DJs.

Sid Gold’s Request Room

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Head to the alley behind the Siren Hotel and duck inside Sid Gold’s Request Room, an intimate cocktail lounge with a mid-century feel, piano karaoke, and burlesque. Crooners can sing along to their favorite songs — be it goth rock or a 1980s ballad — performed by a live pianist.

Frita Batidos

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This bright, casual burger bar on Columbia Street also serves up some festive, tropical cocktails. Choose from options like mojitos, sangria, and pisco-hibiscus lemonade, served by the glass or in fishbowls for groups that don’t mind sharing their booze.

Destination 1905

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Located inside a rehabbed house on Kercheval Avenue in Indian Village, Destination 1905 opened in March. The bar has a relaxed, neighborhood vibe and a rotating menu dedicated to cocktails from around the world. In addition to the seasonal drinks, customers can also sip cocktails like the Layover with Beefeater Gin, Campari, tonic, tangerines, and coconut. There’s also a handful of snacks including burek and cheese plates.

Smith & Co.

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In addition to great beer, Smith & Co. mixes up riffs on classic cocktails including a few bottled options. Choose from crushable drinks like the Penicilina with tequila, ginger, lemon, honey, and mezcal or a spritz with Averna liqueur, cognac, rum, lemon, and chocolate bitters.

French restaurant Savant pairs options like croque madame, foie gras eclairs, and cheeseburgers with a lineup of high-end cocktails served in whimsical barware. Drink your cheese plate with the Canton of Freeburg, a gruyere-infused gin cocktail. During happy hour from 4:40 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Savant’s cocktails are 20 percent off.

Brown liquid sits in a round glass container shaped like a globe with continents and a ship etched on it. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

While the emphasis at Magnet’s bar is definitely on wines, the restaurant’s small list of cocktails is a good match for the wood-fired dishes coming out of the kitchen. Choose from refreshing, vegetal options listed by their base liquor. A mezcal cocktail is paired with flavors of smoked carrot, curaçao, and parsley, while a tequila drink features tomato and Campari. Round out a night of drinking with a pour of Magnet’s house amaro.

This bar and community arts venue in Hamtramck gives off a welcoming, neighborhood vibe with cozy vintage furnishings. On the menu at Barter, find nine quaffable cocktails daily including the frothy Golden Harvest with Montelobos mezcal, ancho reyes, passion fruit, lime, and turmeric syrup. A torched mini Eggo Waffle tops the Kerry’s Country Breakfast — a mixture of Benchmark Bourbon, smoked maple syrup, and black walnut bitters. 

The Outpost by Traverse City Whiskey Co.

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Up North distillery Traverse City Whiskey Co. now has a metro Detroit basecamp in Ferndale. Customers can visit the tasting room, dubbed the Outpost, to sample a flight of whiskeys, bourbons, and gin as well as classic and original cocktails.

whiskey bottles Traverse City Whiskey Co. [Courtesy photo]

Peso Bar

Trendy Hubbard Richard Mexican restaurant Peso serves an extensive list of easy drinking cocktails including 20 different styles of margaritas. The classic Mexican cocktail is paired with a broader selection of mezcal and tequila-based drinks including refreshing palomas and Jaliscan cantaritos served in clay mugs. During happy hour, the bar features $5 cocktails and tequila shots.

Bagley Central

Polished neighborhood bar Bagley Central joined Peso in Hubbard Richard in April. The bar leans casual with affordable cocktails, beers, and seasonal sangria. Choose from options like the Tope Atomico with mezcal, habanero, cucumber, citrus, and orange liqueur or the classic Pimm’s Cup. Although it doesn’t have a kitchen, Bagley Central does serve jerky snacks and occasionally hosts pop-ups.

The Library

While the refurbished Detroit Club is a members-only type spot, the Library cocktail lounge is open to the public. Like the throwback property, the menu at this low-key hideaway pays tribute to classics like Old Fashioneds and Hemingway daiquiris, but there are also original concoctions like the Spring Snow with sake, aquavit, lemon, jalapeno rice syrup, and Angostura bitters. Some of the drinks are even served in porthole infusers.

Evening Bar

NoHo Hospitality transplanted New York’s former Evening Bar cocktail lounge into the Shinola Hotel in January. This high-end drinking spot serves classics like Death in the Afternoon alongside options like the Flunked Summer School with gin, elderflower liqueur, pineapple, grapefruit, and lemon. Folks who are feeling peckish can order items like caviar-topped potato skins and bacon-jalapeno deviled eggs off the snack menu.

Monarch Club

With panoramic views of the Detroit cityscape and three outdoor terraces, the Monarch Club quickly became a popular spot for al fresco drinking. The public cocktail lounge perched at the top of the Metropolitan Building serves a mixture of classic drinks alongside original options such as the Dark Corners with rye whiskey, amaro sfumato, cherry liqueur, and orange bitters.

Karl's

The latest entrant into the all-day bar scene in Detroit, Karl’s serves up classic cocktails, boilermakers, and boozy milkshakes from morning ‘til late night. The bar area is outfitted with a refurbished jukebox and overlooks the People Mover track, giving the retro diner a cosmopolitan feel. Occasionally, Karl’s hosts live DJs.

Sid Gold’s Request Room

Head to the alley behind the Siren Hotel and duck inside Sid Gold’s Request Room, an intimate cocktail lounge with a mid-century feel, piano karaoke, and burlesque. Crooners can sing along to their favorite songs — be it goth rock or a 1980s ballad — performed by a live pianist.

Frita Batidos

This bright, casual burger bar on Columbia Street also serves up some festive, tropical cocktails. Choose from options like mojitos, sangria, and pisco-hibiscus lemonade, served by the glass or in fishbowls for groups that don’t mind sharing their booze.

Destination 1905

Located inside a rehabbed house on Kercheval Avenue in Indian Village, Destination 1905 opened in March. The bar has a relaxed, neighborhood vibe and a rotating menu dedicated to cocktails from around the world. In addition to the seasonal drinks, customers can also sip cocktails like the Layover with Beefeater Gin, Campari, tonic, tangerines, and coconut. There’s also a handful of snacks including burek and cheese plates.

Smith & Co.

In addition to great beer, Smith & Co. mixes up riffs on classic cocktails including a few bottled options. Choose from crushable drinks like the Penicilina with tequila, ginger, lemon, honey, and mezcal or a spritz with Averna liqueur, cognac, rum, lemon, and chocolate bitters.

Savant

Brown liquid sits in a round glass container shaped like a globe with continents and a ship etched on it. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

French restaurant Savant pairs options like croque madame, foie gras eclairs, and cheeseburgers with a lineup of high-end cocktails served in whimsical barware. Drink your cheese plate with the Canton of Freeburg, a gruyere-infused gin cocktail. During happy hour from 4:40 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Savant’s cocktails are 20 percent off.

Brown liquid sits in a round glass container shaped like a globe with continents and a ship etched on it. Michelle Gerard | michellegerard

Magnet

While the emphasis at Magnet’s bar is definitely on wines, the restaurant’s small list of cocktails is a good match for the wood-fired dishes coming out of the kitchen. Choose from refreshing, vegetal options listed by their base liquor. A mezcal cocktail is paired with flavors of smoked carrot, curaçao, and parsley, while a tequila drink features tomato and Campari. Round out a night of drinking with a pour of Magnet’s house amaro.

Barter

This bar and community arts venue in Hamtramck gives off a welcoming, neighborhood vibe with cozy vintage furnishings. On the menu at Barter, find nine quaffable cocktails daily including the frothy Golden Harvest with Montelobos mezcal, ancho reyes, passion fruit, lime, and turmeric syrup. A torched mini Eggo Waffle tops the Kerry’s Country Breakfast — a mixture of Benchmark Bourbon, smoked maple syrup, and black walnut bitters. 

The Outpost by Traverse City Whiskey Co.

whiskey bottles Traverse City Whiskey Co. [Courtesy photo]

Up North distillery Traverse City Whiskey Co. now has a metro Detroit basecamp in Ferndale. Customers can visit the tasting room, dubbed the Outpost, to sample a flight of whiskeys, bourbons, and gin as well as classic and original cocktails.

whiskey bottles Traverse City Whiskey Co. [Courtesy photo]

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