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The Whisky Parlor
The Whisky Parlor
Michelle and Chris Gerard

Where to Sip Whiskey in Detroit Right Now

Catch the Motor City's whiskey fever

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The Whisky Parlor
| Michelle and Chris Gerard

Michigan has nearly 30 distilleries and metro Detroit is home to some of the bigger ones — Two James Distillery and Detroit City Distillery just to name a few. This sprawling local spirit industry has given way to an even more robust assortment of whiskey bars serving of hard-to-find bourbons and specially reserved single-barrel booze.

Whether you're looking for peaty Scotch, a high-end pour of Pappy Van Winkle, or a spicy rye flight, there are plenty of spots devoted to slaking your thirst for choice brown spirits. Here, now, are 15 top spots to drink whiskey neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail right now.

Editor's Note: Restaurants are listed geographically. The numbers are not rankings. Eater Detroit's radius includes the metro Detroit area and occasionally stretches into Southeast Michigan although our main focus is Detroit proper. Nick Britsky is a member of Detroit's local USBG chapter. Have a suggestion for this map? Let us know in comments or at the tipline.

Next Read: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Detroit's Whiskey Scene

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Townhouse Detroit

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The list here is epic at 300 bottles and growing. Beverage Manager, Matthew Carter, has big plans for the program. Check out their members-only club, The Whiskey Society, with a personalized whiskey locker, special invites, discounts and other perks.

The Whisky Parlor

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With the dramatic two-story open ceiling, dark wood and warm colors, this bar is one of the best compliments to a high quality glass of whiskey. Peruse their 100+ selection of fine dark spirits from scotch to bourbon to rye. They also offer cocktail classes, live music, and even parlor game night. Happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cornerstone Barrel House

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This downtown pub offers an impressive selection of bourbon — nearly 40 bottles — as well as ryes, scotches, Irish and Canadian whiskeys, and "others." Come for the drinks, stay for the Whiskey Disco dance party on the weekends.

Nancy Whiskey's Pub

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Looking for a quick shot at a friendly neighborhood Irish bar? Nancy Whiskey has you covered. You won't find any fussy, top-shelf spirits, but the prices are right. Drop in on Friday night for a dose of Tullamore Dew and the weekly fish fry.

Two James Distillery

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This Corktown distillery's tasting room offers excellent cocktails and spirit flights. See how the unaged Rye Dog measures up to the Johnny Smoking Gun Whiskey (a smoked whiskey as the name implies) or the spicy rye-based Grass Widow Bourbon.

Thomas Magee's Sporting House

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Changing seasonal whiskey cocktails are on offer at this Eastern Market sports bar. Drop in on Sunday's for Irish whiskey bloody marys, Irish coffees. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Detroit City Distillery

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This Eastern Market distiller boasts a wide selection of spirits including a Bloodline Whiskey, Two-Faced Bourbon, and Homegrown Rye, made with Michigan-sourced rye grain. Try a flight of all the spirits (vodka and gin included) or order a cocktail.

One-Eyed Betty's

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The Ferndale bar known for its extensive beer selection, has an equally impressive whiskey menu, with over 100 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, scotches, and even eight moonshines.

The Oakland

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The proprietors of this Ferndale outpost travel to Kentucky to hand-pick whole barrels straight from the distillers. The chosen barrels are then bottled especially for The Oakland. In addition to these hand-plucked whiskeys, the speakeasy also has a deep “vintage” whiskey list that includes rare and expensive spirits, one actually over 99 years old.

Valentine Distilling Co

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This is one of the few places in Detroit that you can go to the source and drink a dram with the distiller. The spirits they make continually win awards and are respected around the world. Valentine made a splash with the launch of their Woodward Bourbon years ago and is reclaiming that magic with a few varieties of its recently launched Mayor Pingree Bourbon line.

Motor City Gas

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Royal Oak's first micro-distillery creates unique small batch whiskeys. Try a craft cocktail in the cozy tasting room. The Struggle Bus moonshine mixes well with anything including sadness.

Firebird Tavern

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Owned by several whiskey enthusiasts, the Firebird is constantly adding new and enticing bottles to its booze collection. Check out their limited release Firebird single barrel bourbons on special occasions. The bar is casual and incredibly unpretentious.

The Sugar House

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A number of bars are fighting for the title of largest selection of whiskey in Detroit, Sugar House is one of them. Their buyers are scouring both the wholesale market and the auction houses for the best spirits they can find. Check out their list or ask for something from their fancy cupboard at the end of the bar. Just make sure your pocketbook can take the abuse.

The Butter Run Saloon

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The 30-year-old Butter Run Saloon has a reputation for one of the best whiskey selections in metro Detroit. When you see the menu, you'll understand why. The deep list runs the gamut from Kentucky bourbons to Irish whisky and Japanese whiskey and beyond.

Ale Mary's Beer Hall

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Known for its great beer selection and themed dinners, this Royal Oak hot spot is cultivating a killer whiskey list. The choices vary from the big brands all the way to the more obscure Japanese ones. While it may be tempting to grab a beer from their always incredible draft list, change up your flow with a fine aged distillate.

Townhouse Detroit

The list here is epic at 300 bottles and growing. Beverage Manager, Matthew Carter, has big plans for the program. Check out their members-only club, The Whiskey Society, with a personalized whiskey locker, special invites, discounts and other perks.

The Whisky Parlor

With the dramatic two-story open ceiling, dark wood and warm colors, this bar is one of the best compliments to a high quality glass of whiskey. Peruse their 100+ selection of fine dark spirits from scotch to bourbon to rye. They also offer cocktail classes, live music, and even parlor game night. Happy hour runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cornerstone Barrel House

This downtown pub offers an impressive selection of bourbon — nearly 40 bottles — as well as ryes, scotches, Irish and Canadian whiskeys, and "others." Come for the drinks, stay for the Whiskey Disco dance party on the weekends.

Nancy Whiskey's Pub

Looking for a quick shot at a friendly neighborhood Irish bar? Nancy Whiskey has you covered. You won't find any fussy, top-shelf spirits, but the prices are right. Drop in on Friday night for a dose of Tullamore Dew and the weekly fish fry.

Two James Distillery

This Corktown distillery's tasting room offers excellent cocktails and spirit flights. See how the unaged Rye Dog measures up to the Johnny Smoking Gun Whiskey (a smoked whiskey as the name implies) or the spicy rye-based Grass Widow Bourbon.

Thomas Magee's Sporting House

Changing seasonal whiskey cocktails are on offer at this Eastern Market sports bar. Drop in on Sunday's for Irish whiskey bloody marys, Irish coffees. Happy hour runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Detroit City Distillery

This Eastern Market distiller boasts a wide selection of spirits including a Bloodline Whiskey, Two-Faced Bourbon, and Homegrown Rye, made with Michigan-sourced rye grain. Try a flight of all the spirits (vodka and gin included) or order a cocktail.

One-Eyed Betty's

The Ferndale bar known for its extensive beer selection, has an equally impressive whiskey menu, with over 100 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes, scotches, and even eight moonshines.

The Oakland

The proprietors of this Ferndale outpost travel to Kentucky to hand-pick whole barrels straight from the distillers. The chosen barrels are then bottled especially for The Oakland. In addition to these hand-plucked whiskeys, the speakeasy also has a deep “vintage” whiskey list that includes rare and expensive spirits, one actually over 99 years old.

Valentine Distilling Co

This is one of the few places in Detroit that you can go to the source and drink a dram with the distiller. The spirits they make continually win awards and are respected around the world. Valentine made a splash with the launch of their Woodward Bourbon years ago and is reclaiming that magic with a few varieties of its recently launched Mayor Pingree Bourbon line.

Motor City Gas

Royal Oak's first micro-distillery creates unique small batch whiskeys. Try a craft cocktail in the cozy tasting room. The Struggle Bus moonshine mixes well with anything including sadness.

Firebird Tavern

Owned by several whiskey enthusiasts, the Firebird is constantly adding new and enticing bottles to its booze collection. Check out their limited release Firebird single barrel bourbons on special occasions. The bar is casual and incredibly unpretentious.

The Sugar House

A number of bars are fighting for the title of largest selection of whiskey in Detroit, Sugar House is one of them. Their buyers are scouring both the wholesale market and the auction houses for the best spirits they can find. Check out their list or ask for something from their fancy cupboard at the end of the bar. Just make sure your pocketbook can take the abuse.

The Butter Run Saloon

The 30-year-old Butter Run Saloon has a reputation for one of the best whiskey selections in metro Detroit. When you see the menu, you'll understand why. The deep list runs the gamut from Kentucky bourbons to Irish whisky and Japanese whiskey and beyond.

Ale Mary's Beer Hall

Known for its great beer selection and themed dinners, this Royal Oak hot spot is cultivating a killer whiskey list. The choices vary from the big brands all the way to the more obscure Japanese ones. While it may be tempting to grab a beer from their always incredible draft list, change up your flow with a fine aged distillate.

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