This time of year, Detroiters inevitably looking for refreshing refuge from sweltering summer nights at the many quality watering holes. Detroiters have plenty of options for quenching that thirst for a drink, whether it be for cold Michigan-made beer, the latest in cocktail hotspots, or from one of the region’s many classic establishments offering affordable pours. This map is best used for a peek new guard. Each listing is two years old or less and brings something different to the table, or has undergone a significant change in the past year. Whether it be an event space serving up German beers and wines from an outdoor garden space, a neighborhood cocktail spot with a custard walk-up window, or a coffee shop-brewery combo that blasts the best in EDM, here’s where and what to drink this moment in Detroit.Read More
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HM Style Lounge & Chill Room
Owner Herschell Masten, former co-owner of British Sound Systems, a U.K.-based EDM and house music label, brings his experience abroad to Rosedale Park. He’s modeling HM Style on the pubs in London, which double as a community meeting spot. So in addition of being a place to grab a beer or a cocktail, the lounge hosts regular music events, nightly programming based on a musical genre, seniors night, and artists’ events.
For years, M Cantina served an impressive selection of non-alcoholic cocktails. But the owners recently secured a liquor license and have spent months stacking what they believe to be the largest collection of agave-based spirits in Michigan, with more than 1,000 different bottles on hand. Pair a beverage with enticing tacos such as Peking duck, chile relleno, grasshopper, vegan rice . mole barbecue short rib, marinated shrimp, or duck carnitas.
Ladder 4 Wine Bar
It is one of the coolest spaces for a bar in Detroit, hands down, Ladder 4 occupies a century-old fire station in Southwest Detroit. With seating for 300 on two floors, the space still manages to be intimate, thanks in part to the staff’s dedication to spreading the gospel of natural wines. Rooftop outdoor lounges round out the space for a unique Detroit experience.
Supergeil, which just landed in Corktown, specializes in Berlin-style döner kebabs and tinned seafood (sardines, tuna, mackerel, and mussels). It’s owned by David Landrum of Two James Spirits, which has a distillery and tasting room across the street, so unsurprisingly, cocktails also are a draw. The two-page drink menu includes ciders, wine and beer along with a list of gin and tonics that can be enjoyed at its 4 p.m. happy hour.
The Lexington Bar
Former Proof martini lounge owner Dave Frassetto and his friend Julius, started serving libations in the Woodbridge neighborhood last year. The bar features 20 taps of beer, cider and seltzer, plus cocktails inspired by the musical tastes of the staff, Each day, there are $5 specials on beer and a shot, and on a rancor (2 ounces of vodka and a can of Red Bull),
Hotel Saint Regis Detroit
The Hotel St. Regis has recently renovated its B L V D Lounge in the lobby, bringing back midcentury glamour to Midtown. Customers here enjoy a twist on the classics. Sit in the golden suede chairs around the bar, while overlooking East Grand Boulevard. On Fridays, live entertainment includes open mic and poetry readings.
Time Will Tell
This petite-sized bar in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction area is the latest creation to come from the Detroit Optimist Society’s lineup of watering holes. Here, the ownership adds a bit of whimsy to the space with cute 50s vibes and a jukebox loaded with 80s and 90s classics. To drink, expect to find a variety of agave-based drinks like the Hiatus Cowboy — the spot’s take on an old fashioned made with Espolon reposado tequila instead of whiskey, mole syrup, bitters, and grapefruit. Also available, a brief menu of craft beers and wine by the glass.
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 alcoholic 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, and ginger, honey, and lemon. Happy hour is available 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday.
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Set inside a former Polish deli transformed into a colorful, eclectic space, Hamtramck’s HenriettaHaus is part cafe with in-house coffee roasting, bar, and pizzeria featuring Polish-inspired pies. The bar focuses on Belgium-style beers from labels like Chouffes, awashizuku sparkling sake from Kiuchi Brewery, and other rare European bottled beers, as well as a variety of cocktails, such as the Emperor 96 made with barley shōchū, lemon, Cynar & soda. Guests have the option to purchase a bottle to go. Pair that with a dill pickle soup pizza.
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This intimate underground restaurant in the Financial District may be hard to find initially, but it’s worth the little extra effort. Featuring superb cocktails, such as the classic espresso martini or the Rip Tide, a twist on the classic negroni made with roasted, pineapple Averna, rum and Bruto Americano, round out the cocktail experience with a fanciful shared plates menu featuring beef tartare, and “escar-no” a vegetarian dish that trades shelled gastropods for mushrooms in buttery sauce. For the 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. happy hour, order cocktail stalwarts like a daiquiri, old fashioned, or amaretto sour — all for $8.
Detroit Beer Exchange
The owner behind Kalamazoo Beer Exchange has brought a stock-market bar to downtown Detroit, where beer costs fluctuate like stock prices. In addition to beer, there are appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and desserts, and a weekend brunch.
Josh Greenwood, owner of longtime Capitol Park coffee shop/techno oasis Urban Bean Co., closed his spot during the pandemic to work on its next iteration, Spkr Box, a cafe and bar that flung open its doors on May 27 for a sneak peek during the Movement electronic music festival. The reimagined space underwent an extensive facelift, including upgrades to the spot’s window panes, a tiny second-level bar, upgrades to the DJ booth, a new sound system, a liquor license, and food sourced by Village Hand Pies. One key highlight, the basement Orange Room, a futuristic looking underground lounge with soundproofing that produces crystal clear sound quality. Expect classic cocktails, beers, and of course, boozy coffee creations.
Paramita Sound got its start in 2014 in West Village selling records and holding monthly music events, but has since moved onto a 650-square-foot space inside the Siren Hotel. Wine and records just go together naturally. Guests at Paramita Sound can sip and sample a selection of reds, whites, orange, and sparkling wines, a variety of domestic and craft beers, and vinyls.
Spot Lite Detroit
Spot Lite is a performance space, small record store, and art gallery. It also includes a bar/cafe. Owned by Jesse Cory and Roula David, a former bartender, means visitors can sip on classic martinis, sangria, mojito, and pesca while listening to EDM. The bar’s signature cocktails also come with tiny pieces of art from the print shop next door that are daintily affixed to glasses so guests can take home a little memento of the evening.
The teams that run downtown Detroit custard window Huddle, Eastern Market bar Collect, and east side tropical craft cocktail and rum bar Lost River partnered to run this West Village haunt. Go to this old house for wine, cocktails (vodka-, gin-, and rum-based ), custard, or a mix of both. One of the highlights is this spot’s take on the hummer, which is said to have originated in Detroit. It includes two Hawaiian rums along with Huddle vanilla custard.
Metropolitan Variety Store + Bar and Kitchen
Set inside the former Craft Work space in West Village, the cocktails nicely complement the eatery’s menu, which highlights local Michigan produce with Latin American influences. For example, the Fall Rouge, a toasty gin-based drink, gives Michigan cherries a shout out with a vanilla cherry syrup.
Good Vibes Lounge
The East English Village bar is a neighborhood spot that’s gained popularity through word of mouth. Good Vibes credits the to-go cocktails, as well as its more recent ticketed brunches featuring trap and R&B music, and popular dishes like its lobster burger and the seafood combo for the bar’s survival and success.
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Urbanrest Brewing Co., 65-seat taproom located on the east side of Ferndale, expanded just under a year ago with a location in the suburban city’s downtown, described by the spot’s founders as “our little playground.” Sip on an array of lagers, IPAs, low ABV kombucha, a small selection of wine, as well as house-made soft serve ice cream. Order from a walk-up window and enjoy summer nights on the patio. Want to take brews to go? This spot has that, too.
Set in the garden of an 1880s Gothic-Victorian mansion at Second and Alexandrine, this year-round German wine and beer garden offers guests 50 wines from Germany, Austria, and other underrepresented European regions, as well as more than a dozen German beers — all available for ordering through a window. Indoor seating is in the works and a brief list of bar snacks are also available.
Nain Rouge Brewery
Midtown now has a new brewery in Nain Rouge Brewery, located next to Smith & Co. The Detroit News says the spot is “named after the storied mischievous imp of Detroit and harbinger of doom” and features a variety of brews like the Jalopy, a session IPA. The brewery’s beers are sold exclusively at Smith & Co.’s bar and the business has also partnered with Eastern Michigan University’s Fermentation Science program to serve as a brewing school to promote diversity in the beer industry.