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Some of the offerings from The Upright, the new underground cocktail bar set beneath Oak & Reel.
The Upright

15 Fresh Detroit Bars to Check Out in November

Where to drink tiki cocktails, pour your own beer, and more

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Some of the offerings from The Upright, the new underground cocktail bar set beneath Oak & Reel.
| The Upright

The cold weather is finally upon us, but that hasn’t slowed down the blistering heat of new bar openings. Over the past months, the city has welcomed a slew of new bars. Each listing is less than two years old or has recently undergone major updates. Detroiters can chill in an underground lounge, try their hand at self-serve beer, or check out a rock show at a legendary Hamtramck music venue, newly revamped. Here’s where and what to dink in Detroit right now.

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Weiss Distilling Co.

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Distillery and tasting room Weiss Distilling Co. set up shop in January of 2022 in a span of buildings in Clawson. The 5,300-square-foot distillery, speakeasy, retail shop, and forthcoming theater/event space features a somewhat whimsical vibe, with low and neon lighting, wood tones and brass, copper and gold assets. It hosts frequent themed nights, like a spooky Halloween month and Weiss on Ice. Many of the design elements, including custom liquor lockers were envisioned by owner Dennis Weiss and his wife Amanda. 

Weiss Distilling Co.

the side bar

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Sliding in under the radar in early 2021, Royal Oak’s side bar quickly endeared itself to locals as a great spot to meet up outside of the usual Royal Oak bustle. With an extensive selection of bar bites, sandwiches, and weekday happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., side bar is proof that friendly service, good food, and a good drink selection are the linchpins of a good bar.

Lincoln Tap

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In the former Roak Brewing Company space, the team behind Eastern Market Brewing Company brings the state’s fist self-service beer to metro Detroit. Guests can choose from up to 30 different pours from EMBC and Ferndale Project and, using metered pour spouts, help themselves to samples or full pours.

Mai Tiki at TigerLily

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By comparison to its host restaurant, TigerLily in Ferndale, Mai Tiki is an exuberant celebration of all things kitsch, with ubiquitous grass trim, giant heads of dubious provenance, and signature tiki mugs. The only giveaway that this was once an office is the occasional peak of the acoustic drop ceiling. Enjoy classics including the Painkiller and the Zombie alongside new creations like the Magnum, a rum-pineapple-amaro concoction served in a blue tiki cup.

New Dodge Lounge

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The New Dodge isn’t new, but the new New Dodge is. The legendary Hamtramck music venue had seen better days when the team behind the Detroit Shipping Company bought it and spruced it up a bit. New Dodge hosts live music Thursday to Saturday, as well as open jams on Sunday and karaoke Tuesday. It’s also doubled down on Hamtramck’s soccer town reputation, with watch parties for international matches.

HenriettaHaus

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Dill pickle soup pizza and Belgian beer are a match made in Hamtramck. Set inside a former Polish deli transformed into a colorful, eclectic space, HenriettaHaus is part cafe with in-house coffee roasting, bar, and pizzeria featuring Polish-inspired pies. The quirky space is bright and jewel-like, featuring Victorian taxidermy, an intricate backbar and midcentury enamel tables. HenriettaHaus’s cocktail list is equally eclectic, with a large selection of European beers and bitters.

The Upright

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Lauded Milwaukee Junction restaurant Oak and Reel added an underground cocktail lounge in October 2022. The cozy wood-beam ceilings and the booth that stretches the length of the room inspire intimate conversation. Small plates and snack accompany classic and new cocktails and Oak and Reel’s impressive wine list.

The Upright

Spot Lite Detroit

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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.

Metropolitan Variety Store + Bar and Kitchen

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In its short lifetime, the West Village cocktail bar with attached gourmet food and beverage market has already pivoted to match the community needs. A newly revamped food service returns this month, featuring asparagus spring rolls, shrimp larb, and other bar bites. The attached variety store is a great place to check out new beer or funky natural wines.

Nain Rouge Brewery

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Nain Rouge Brewery, located in Midtown adjacent to Smith & Co, is dedicated to promoting diversity in the brewing industry, and works with Eastern Michigan University to produce college-level coursework in brewing and hospitality. At the taproom, guests can shake off the cold with a chocolate vanilla porter, or chill out with a rosehip-infused IPA or a crisp Kolsch.

Reservations at the newest arena district restaurant are booked solid for months, but you may luck into a bar seat. If not, Basan is absolutely worth the wait. Four Man Ladder Group, which also brought Grey Ghost and Second Best to Detroit, committed to a lushly elegant renovation of the Eddystone Building ground floor. Seasonal cocktails by Alex Kirles include a Japanese-inspired Old Fashioned with crysanthemum and yuzu and the bright and citrusy Smooth as Sunshine, with rum, sesame, passionfruit and mint. For a fun dessert cocktail, the Ube-B is made with vodka, port wine, sweetened condensed milk, black sesame oil, lemon-hawthorn bitters, blueberry cordial, ube and is garnished with a butterfly-shaped sponge cake on a Pocky stick.

The Ube-B cocktail at Basan.
Basan Detroit

Spkrbox

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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 during the 2022 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.

The Last Chance Saloon

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The most recent offering from ubiquitous Detroit hospitality group Detroit Optimist Society, the Last Chance Saloon opened in November with little fanfare. The lowkey Michigan Avenue bills itself as “your dad’s 70s hangout” bar regularly offers the Workingman Special: a can of beer and a shot of whiskey, bartender’s choice, for $5.

Supergeil

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Supergeil — which landed in Corktown in summer 2021 — specializes in Berlin-style döner kebabs and tinned seafood (sardines, tuna, mackerel, and mussels). The European-style bar and restaurant has an extensive list of spirits, including vermouths, aperitivos, and fortified wines. The bar opens for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and has plenty of weekday happy hour specials.

M Cantina

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Junior Merino was a star of the New York cocktail world and celebrity mixologist for years until he decided to focus on his real passion — the food and drink of his homeland. His award-winning Dearborn Mexican restaurant added a liquor license in 2021 to highlight Merino’s massive collection of agave spirits, likely the largest in Michigan. Tequila and Mezcal lovers will be in awe of the hundreds of choices, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the Midwest.

Weiss Distilling Co.

Distillery and tasting room Weiss Distilling Co. set up shop in January of 2022 in a span of buildings in Clawson. The 5,300-square-foot distillery, speakeasy, retail shop, and forthcoming theater/event space features a somewhat whimsical vibe, with low and neon lighting, wood tones and brass, copper and gold assets. It hosts frequent themed nights, like a spooky Halloween month and Weiss on Ice. Many of the design elements, including custom liquor lockers were envisioned by owner Dennis Weiss and his wife Amanda. 

Weiss Distilling Co.

the side bar

Sliding in under the radar in early 2021, Royal Oak’s side bar quickly endeared itself to locals as a great spot to meet up outside of the usual Royal Oak bustle. With an extensive selection of bar bites, sandwiches, and weekday happy hour from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., side bar is proof that friendly service, good food, and a good drink selection are the linchpins of a good bar.

Lincoln Tap

In the former Roak Brewing Company space, the team behind Eastern Market Brewing Company brings the state’s fist self-service beer to metro Detroit. Guests can choose from up to 30 different pours from EMBC and Ferndale Project and, using metered pour spouts, help themselves to samples or full pours.

Mai Tiki at TigerLily

By comparison to its host restaurant, TigerLily in Ferndale, Mai Tiki is an exuberant celebration of all things kitsch, with ubiquitous grass trim, giant heads of dubious provenance, and signature tiki mugs. The only giveaway that this was once an office is the occasional peak of the acoustic drop ceiling. Enjoy classics including the Painkiller and the Zombie alongside new creations like the Magnum, a rum-pineapple-amaro concoction served in a blue tiki cup.

New Dodge Lounge

The New Dodge isn’t new, but the new New Dodge is. The legendary Hamtramck music venue had seen better days when the team behind the Detroit Shipping Company bought it and spruced it up a bit. New Dodge hosts live music Thursday to Saturday, as well as open jams on Sunday and karaoke Tuesday. It’s also doubled down on Hamtramck’s soccer town reputation, with watch parties for international matches.

HenriettaHaus

Dill pickle soup pizza and Belgian beer are a match made in Hamtramck. Set inside a former Polish deli transformed into a colorful, eclectic space, HenriettaHaus is part cafe with in-house coffee roasting, bar, and pizzeria featuring Polish-inspired pies. The quirky space is bright and jewel-like, featuring Victorian taxidermy, an intricate backbar and midcentury enamel tables. HenriettaHaus’s cocktail list is equally eclectic, with a large selection of European beers and bitters.

The Upright

Lauded Milwaukee Junction restaurant Oak and Reel added an underground cocktail lounge in October 2022. The cozy wood-beam ceilings and the booth that stretches the length of the room inspire intimate conversation. Small plates and snack accompany classic and new cocktails and Oak and Reel’s impressive wine list.

The Upright

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.

Metropolitan Variety Store + Bar and Kitchen

In its short lifetime, the West Village cocktail bar with attached gourmet food and beverage market has already pivoted to match the community needs. A newly revamped food service returns this month, featuring asparagus spring rolls, shrimp larb, and other bar bites. The attached variety store is a great place to check out new beer or funky natural wines.

Nain Rouge Brewery

Nain Rouge Brewery, located in Midtown adjacent to Smith & Co, is dedicated to promoting diversity in the brewing industry, and works with Eastern Michigan University to produce college-level coursework in brewing and hospitality. At the taproom, guests can shake off the cold with a chocolate vanilla porter, or chill out with a rosehip-infused IPA or a crisp Kolsch.

Basan

Reservations at the newest arena district restaurant are booked solid for months, but you may luck into a bar seat. If not, Basan is absolutely worth the wait. Four Man Ladder Group, which also brought Grey Ghost and Second Best to Detroit, committed to a lushly elegant renovation of the Eddystone Building ground floor. Seasonal cocktails by Alex Kirles include a Japanese-inspired Old Fashioned with crysanthemum and yuzu and the bright and citrusy Smooth as Sunshine, with rum, sesame, passionfruit and mint. For a fun dessert cocktail, the Ube-B is made with vodka, port wine, sweetened condensed milk, black sesame oil, lemon-hawthorn bitters, blueberry cordial, ube and is garnished with a butterfly-shaped sponge cake on a Pocky stick.

The Ube-B cocktail at Basan.
Basan Detroit

Spkrbox

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 during the 2022 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.

The Last Chance Saloon

The most recent offering from ubiquitous Detroit hospitality group Detroit Optimist Society, the Last Chance Saloon opened in November with little fanfare. The lowkey Michigan Avenue bills itself as “your dad’s 70s hangout” bar regularly offers the Workingman Special: a can of beer and a shot of whiskey, bartender’s choice, for $5.

Supergeil

Supergeil — which landed in Corktown in summer 2021 — specializes in Berlin-style döner kebabs and tinned seafood (sardines, tuna, mackerel, and mussels). The European-style bar and restaurant has an extensive list of spirits, including vermouths, aperitivos, and fortified wines. The bar opens for lunch on Fridays and Saturdays and has plenty of weekday happy hour specials.

M Cantina

Junior Merino was a star of the New York cocktail world and celebrity mixologist for years until he decided to focus on his real passion — the food and drink of his homeland. His award-winning Dearborn Mexican restaurant added a liquor license in 2021 to highlight Merino’s massive collection of agave spirits, likely the largest in Michigan. Tequila and Mezcal lovers will be in awe of the hundreds of choices, many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the Midwest.

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