"Have you heard about d'Mongo's? It is Ryan Gosling's favorite place to visit when he comes to town!"
Although I never saw Ryan Gosling, bartender Red knew immediately that I was new in Detroit and that I'd never been in before. She recommended I try the Detroit Brown, made with Michigan's own ginger ale: Vernors.
As I sipped gently from the cold glass and looked over the top of its rim at the eclectic crowd filling the speakeasy, I couldn't help but think, "Who cares what celebrity does or doesn't frequent this place, I'd come back here for the drinks and the crowd any day!"
Cafe d'Mongo's draws a crowd every night it is open—which is usually only on Friday, maybe Saturday—and whether the customers come because of the drinks, the music, the crowd, or because they hope to see Ryan Gosling or Mark Wahlberg, the point is they keep coming. There's an element of secrecy that has kept even my hotel's valet from being able to tell me how to get to the revered speakeasy, yet it's one of the first places I heard about when I asked people on the street where I needed to go get a drink in Detroit.
If you find yourself at Cafe d'Mongo's, tell Red I say hello, and order the Detroit Brown.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Hailed for its classy ambiance, Café D’Mongo’s takes you back to the 1920’s with its speakeasy vibe. A live band, friendly staff, and eclectic décor make this spot one-of-a-kind in Detroit’s bar scene. But plan accordingly; D’Mongo’s is only open Friday and Saturday nights. And don’t be surprised if you have a run-in with Ryan Gosling—he’s said to be friends with owner Larry Mongo, and has visited a number of times.
Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy, a tarnished gem hiding in plain sight in Downtown Detroit, encapsulates stylish patrons buzzing with alcohol and wallowing in Detroit's glittering Jazz Age glory. Artifacts, oversized vintage photographs, and brass instruments drip from the green walls; live guitars and pianos blast throw-back jams; and the friendly owner, a bit of a local celeb, exudes pride in his longtime establishment as he welcomes his guests with a shining smile. Try the Detroit Brown—whiskey, Vernor's ginger ale, and bitters—for a fully Detroit experience. Open Friday and Saturday nights.