Detroit, also known as the Motor City, is a city in the American Midwest known for its rich and varied bar scene in addition to its history as an automotive hub. This city, which is tucked away along the banks of the Detroit River, is full of bars that showcase its vibrant culture and strong sense of self. Detroit’s bars capture the city’s distinct fusion of history and innovation, from posh cocktail lounges in the heart of downtown to traditional neighborhood pubs in Corktown. Your guide to discovering Detroit’s top bars, offering a diverse array of tastes and experiences, is this article. Come along with us as we explore Detroit’s soul, one drink at a time, and allow the city’s distinctive character to enthrall you.
A well-known Detroit bar serving cocktails, wine, beer, and small plates is perfect for sharing with your friends on a night out. The Sugar House is one of my go-to bars in the city and one that I recommend to anyone visiting for the first time. It’s on Michigan Avenue in the Corktown neighborhood.
Located on Broadway Street near Grand Circus Park, Candy Bar is a unique and beautiful bar that transports you out of downtown and into another era. Its gorgeous interior is very impressive and is a great place to take someone visiting the city.
Lost River in Detroit offers some truly interesting, island-inspired cocktails and rum like Ray’s Mistake, Toucan Sam, and Dead Man’s Hand. They also serve a few beers and wine options and offer cocktails. You might also want to peruse their rum list! They have a vibe at the bar that I’ve never experienced anywhere else.
The Bad Luck Bar on Griswold Street is a unique bar experience where you can order some truly interesting cocktails in an upscale setting. The interior is sophisticated and dark, matching its experimental drinks menu. While this bar isn’t for everyone, it’s certainly a memorable experience for those with the budget!
Batch Brewing Company is a taproom that offers classic bar food options, like nachos, sausage, a burger, and some more interesting options like bread pudding and smoked whole hog Cubano. I highly recommend trying out the creamy Reuben soup, though! They also have a great beer list, including some non-alcoholic options.
Bookie’s Bar & Grille in downtown Detroit is a fantastic place for a meal, a drink, and if you want to watch the game with friends. They offer classic food options like burgers, fries, steak, and more. You can choose to visit for lunch as I did or for a delightful evening dinner.
Cadieux Cafe offers Belgian specialties, including fries, sandwiches, and burgers. I loved the love of music and the wide array of beers to try out from countries worldwide. They’ve also been open since 1933, so there is some real history to be found there.
Castalia at Sfumato is a craft cocktail bar in Midtown that values finding a balance between flavor and fragrance. They present each drink with a scent with the hope of elevating the drinking experience. If you’ve never tried this bar, it’s worth giving it a shot. The smells and drinks are a surprisingly pleasant experience!
MotorCity Wine is a wine bar on Michigan Avenue that’s one of my favorite places to go if I want to enjoy a high-quality list of interesting wines. They have wines from all over the world that change weekly, something I could inspire you to come back, again and again, to try more!
Nemo’s Bar on Michigan Avenue is a Detroit classic. The bar is a must-visit if it’s your first time in the city and is interested in enjoying drinks with friends and some delicious, well-priced food. I got the Beyond Burger and tried a few different beers and couldn’t have enjoyed it more!
The Ghostbar at the Whitney is an exciting, unique bar on the third floor of the Whitney Mansion. The drinks are a little pricey, but it’s a fun option if you’re celebrating or just want to splurge. Plus, you can order food!
The Monarch Club is a rooftop bar in downtown Detroit located in the penthouse of the Metropolitan Building! It has a very specific mystique that can’t be found in any other city bars. You can enjoy unique cocktails and some delicious food options.
The Old Miami is a dive bar, nightclub, and one of Detroit’s best small music venues. They are open seven days a week and have a patio bar for special events. You might also get lucky and be there on the weekend when there are one or more food trucks on the premises!
If you’re looking for wine, cocktails, and food, I highly recommend trying The Royce Detroit. It was rated one of the 50 best wine bars in the US, and I could see why. They have a wide selection but not so many wines that you’ll be unsure if you’re getting something good.
The Skip in the Belt Alley in Downtown Detroit is an open-air cocktail bar with a classy island-style interior. They serve frozen and tropical drinks as well as some delicious craft brews. Even if you’re not a big drinker, the atmosphere is well worth the visit.
The Lexington Bar on Trumbull Street has a dark and brooding interior and features 20 tap bears, some seltzers and ciders, and cocktails. Interestingly, their cocktails are inspired by the staff’s musical tastes.
Kiesling on Milwaukee Avenue is located in a historic building built in the 1890s. The bar itself opened in 2018, and recently, they’ve opened a kitchen that plays host to some amazing guest chefs. I enjoyed the cocktail selection, especially the Pure Speculation and Lo-Fi.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 5 reputable blogs and websites, including detroit.eater.com, visitdetroit.com, metrotimes.com, tripadvisor.com and hotels.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.