Some of the most outstanding destinations for drinking in metro Detroit.
Published: October 15, 2013
The Dakota Inn Rathskeller 17324 John R St., Detroit; 313-867-9722; dakota-inn.com: Owned and operated by the same family for more than 70 years, the Dakota Inn Rathskeller can get boisterous at 7 on a Saturday night. Inside and through the heavy wooden doors is the din of mirth as friends and families assemble to celebrate birthdays and other life events, or just grab a beer and sausage.
Derby’s 22031 Dequindre Rd., Hazel Park; 248-544-8040: Cinderblock shot-and-a-beer bar where the waitresses wear bikinis. George, the handyman, says, “It’s pretty nice inside, for a neighborhood bar. We’ve got a jukebox, a pool table, dart machines, golf machines. We have a karaoke DJ on the weekends — and cheap beer: $1.75 until 8 p.m. any bottle. Or $1 bottled beer for the Lions game, and $1 bottles for many college football and NFL games.” Wednesday is bikini night. The ladies wear bikinis and drinks are $1 a bottle and $2 a shot.
Detroit Beer Co. 1529 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-962-1529; detroitbeerco.com: DBC seems like a little bit of upscale Royal Oak dropped in the thick of downtown Detroit. Their renovation of the century-old Hartz Building, with its tin ceilings and brick walls, looks especially attractive. Added attractions are the sweet smells of brew emanating from the basement, and, oh yeah, beers such as Detroit Dwarf, Detroit Red and usually several appealing seasonal brews.
Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-961-3043; grandtrunkpub.com: It’s Saturday morning — you’re looking for good grub and drink that’s not OJ. What to do? It’s easy: Head to downtown Detroit to the Grand Trunk (formerly just “Foran’s”), where brunch and booze ain’t no joke. The funky, compact bar sits inside the old Detroit Grand Trunk ticketing station. The House pop is Faygo and the bread’s from Avalon Bakery, the produce is from Eastern Market, and the taps boast 14 various Michigan brews.
Fort Street Brewery 1660 Fort St., Lincoln Park; 313-389-9620; fortstreetbeer.com: Brewpub and restaurant with a friendly atmosphere, games, and a large beer list, including house-brewed suds like “Doug’s Turbo Sarsaparilla,” a root beer-flavored beer. Look out for daily specials like $5 pepperoni pizzas during Monday Night Football.
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company 3965 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-9627; greatlakescoffee.com: More than a coffeehouse, Great Lakes offers Michigan craft beer, organic-type wines and a list of 10 cocktails you won’t find anywhere else, as well as coffee-infused beer. Come for the wireless, stay to get wired. Open 7 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays.
Green Dot Stables 2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-962-5588; greendotstables.com: This year, Metro Times readers voted Green Dot the Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 in Wayne County. A former bar for the horse racing set, it now caters to a hip crowd with televised soccer matches, small but tasty “sliders” whose flavors dance all over the map, and a full bar serving such fanciful creations as the Green Dot Wallbanger and Zug Island Ice Tea.
Griffin Claw Brewing Co. 575 S. Eton St., Birmingham; 248-712-4050; griffinclawbrewingcompany.com: Along with its seasonal Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale, half-pound Claw Burgers, and funnel cakes, one of Griffin Claw’s biggest attractions is the traditional outdoor biergarten. Enjoy a game of cornhole outside and then warm up near the blazing fire pit while sipping on Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA.
Goodnite Gracie Jazz & Martini Bar 301 Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-2070; 224 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak, 248-584-7400: Though the musical flavorings change throughout the week at both of the Goodnite Gracie lounge locations, they consistently serve up myriad martinis metro Detroiters crave. The original location in Royal Oak serves up their magnificent martinis and all other fantastically fermented beverages at a half-off happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Gusoline Alley 309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235: A classic dive bar, its regulars are as colorful as witty scribble on bathroom walls; and like any authentic dive, there’s real storytelling floating in its narrow room, amid so much bumper-sticker artistry. Even old Buk might’ve been a regular — or maybe we’re just romanticizing the hell out of this place.
Hamlin Corner 386 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-556-5428; hamlincorner.com: Self-described as Royal Oak’s biggest upscale sports bar, with 250 seats and a large dance floor, Hamlin Corner is a new nightlife hot spot. The menu offers traditional bar favorites, like fish and chips and mac and cheese, as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options. The bar also supports many Michigan-based companies, featuring pizza from Primo’s Pizza of Birmingham daily and many others.
Imperial 22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-850-8060; imperialferndale.com: Probably known more for its tacos than its bar, Imperial has an ample selection of Mexican beer (at least a dozen different cervezas) as well as a large variety of “regular” beers, including domestic and foreign. Their signature beer is the aptly named “Hillbilly Cooler” which consists of your choice of 32-ounce Corona Familiar or 24-ounce PBR can nestled inside a sturdy brown paper bag filled with ice. (See our story on P. 36.)
Jolly Pumpkin 311 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-913-2730; jollypumpkin.com: While pub-like in atmosphere, the food is a bit more up-to-date. Diners not yet familiar with Jolly Pumpkin beers might want to ease into the experience with something slightly tamer, like a North Peak Amber Ale.
> Email Metro Times Staff