Where to Drink in Detroit

From popular sports bars to swanky speakeasies, Detroit runs the gamut when it comes to drinking parlors. Wanna watch a Red Wings game? We’ve got you covered. Rather have an old-school cocktail made with high-end spirits? No problem. Wanna try a locally produced craft beer? We’ve got that, too. Detroit is an imbiber’s mecca, with many bars and watering holes within walking distance of cultural sites and hotels. Spend a night bar hopping the streets of Midtown or Downtown.

1439 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
“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.
1529 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Housed in the historic Hartz Building in Downtown Detroit, beer fans will love Detroit Beer Co. It has a rotating beer selection and brews seven or eight fresh house brews each day, which you can even watch being made as you sip your drink. The food menu features a wide selection of American food, from burgers and sandwiches to pizza and pastas. The beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips offers another way to taste a house brew.
300 East Adams Street
Elwood Bar and Grill now lies in the shadow of Comerica Park on Adams but it was built in 1936 by Charles Noble at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Woodward Avenue. Moved in 1997 to make way for the new Tigers stadium (Comerica Park) it was and still is downtown Detroit’s most recognizable art deco diner. Now restored following its move, it is the premier place for sports fans, history buffs, couples, singles, and anyone looking for a good time to hang out on game day or any other day of the year. Its proximity to Comerica Park and Ford Field (the latter is where the Lions play), also makes it ideal both for pre- and post-game enjoyment. A recently expanded menu also makes it a great place not just to drink, but also to eat.
47 Watson St, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
Grey Ghost Detroit is one of the most talked about cocktail bars in recent years. Helmed by a group of native and transplanted Detroiters, the swanky watering hole keeps them coming with its creative cocktail, beer, and wine lists. Sit back in one of the tufted banquettes as you dine on a light repast of charcuterie and locally sourced meats.
225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Nestled in the mural-laden Belt in Downtown, Standby is a speakeasy and lounge that caters to imbibers who desire craft cocktails using local or unique ingredients. The laid back atmosphere is enhanced by the friendly and knowledgeable staff, with DJs spinning cool tunes several nights a week.
1500 Woodward Ave floor 2, Detroit, MI 48226
American small plates and craft cocktails are what’s on the menu at this airy bar-cum-restaurant that features floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and an expansive tufted banquette. It also serves one of the best brunches in town.
1384 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Considered one of the friendliest sports bars in this sports-loving town, Nemo’s is a haven for anyone looking to catch a Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Lions, or Pistons game. A tin ceiling draws the eye but it’s the gregarious staff, classic drinks, and popular burgers than keep locals returning.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe