The Best Bars and Clubs in Downtown Detroit
Since establishing itself as a titan of the auto industry in the early 20th century, followed by its subsequent decline and contemporary revitalization, Detroit has amassed one of the country’s most interesting and eclectic bar scenes. From hole-in-the-wall speakeasies to sweeping art deco interiors, the city’s haunts invite you to become a part of their history as soon as you walk through the doors. In the mood for a cityscape skyline? Rooftop bars abound, perfect for sipping a custom cocktail while gazing over sweeping views of downtown skyscrapers lining the Detroit River. For the contemporary drinker, the city’s food and beverage scene is in the midst of a creative resurgence, drawing specialty mixologists and craft breweries out of the woodwork and into your glass.
Wander up the stairs of this Greektown institution, and you’ll emerge on the rooftop and find yourself greeted by the neon lights and thumping music of Exodos Lounge. The original Greektown rooftop lounge, Exodos regularly features some of Detroit’s best DJs, and their spacious open air dance floor is perfect for getting down on a hot summer night. On Mondays, this club transforms into a jazz club featuring local performances.
Named for its original Prohibition founder, John Clifford Bell, Cliff Bell’s is a stage and speakeasy featuring at least nine live jazz performances weekly. Originally opened on Park Avenue in 1935, Cliff Bell’s was a household name until its closure in 1985. Twenty years later, in 2005, the long-shuttered establishment was purchased and restored to its original glory. Just six months after that, Cliff Bell’s reopened and began presenting the “busiest stage in Michigan.” Performers include local jazz musicians, international touring acts and everything in between.
The Annex has perfected the art of nightlife. Conveniently located in downtown Detroit and sister club to 3Fifty Terrace, the Annex’s massive dance floor, immersive audiovisual installations, state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and CO2 cryo show are perfectly primed for an unforgettable night. Emerging artists and the biggest names in EDM alike come to play the Annex’s stage, while all are invited to drink, dance and mingle in the best party Detroit has to offer.
Abick’s Bar is one of the oldest bars in Detroit. With more than a century of service under its belt, including a period of time as a Prohibition era speakeasy, Abick’s has emerged as a cornerstone of neighborhood history. Located on a residential street, this cash-only bar was built in 1907 and is packed with memorabilia and neighborhood ephemera, including framed issues of the Detroit Times declaring both the beginning and end of WWII. This bar, however, is more than just a relic of the past. Locals gather here to catch up, reconnect, and wind down with service that truly feels like home.
Tin Roof Detroit aims to bring together a community of professional and amateur musicians, both onstage and off. With three levels in addition to a rooftop patio and an expansive ground floor open air patio, this live music joint is all about giving music lovers a place to relax and connect when they’re not performing. Come for the live music performances featuring a wide range of well known and underground artists, and stay for the incredible food and community just waiting to be discovered!
Second Best is a neighborhood hangout designed for anyone and everyone. From the team that brought you the award winning Grey Ghost, Second best boasts 2,300 square feet featuring exposed brick, wood paneling, and frosted lighting from globe lights and tiffany lamp fixtures to sustain the ideal ambience for your night. The tongue in cheek name is a declaration that you don’t need to be lauded as ‘the best,’ to provide the best time.
Delmar is a centerpiece of nightlife in downtown detroit. With a rooftop kitchen and premium bar, this premier venue occupies an iconic corner of its own in Greektown, between the Renaissance Center, Comerica Park, and Ford Field. Emphasizing a dynamic nightlife, incredible entertainment, and one-of-a-kind experiences, this bar is destined to become the number one spot to turn up and wind down.
In the mood for a low key night? Firebird is a casual all American bar and restaurant in downtown Detroit with a creative, approachable take on dining. Since 2013, this neighborhood watering hole has catered to locals and travelers alike, inviting all to drink, dine, dance, and indulge. Firebird is an all day affair– stop in for lunch, and come back later to dance to live DJ sets. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, with no reservations accepted.
Cornerstone Barrel House is a locally owned restaurant, whiskey bar, and lounge featuring fresh food along with a vast collection of specialty bourbon, rye, and whiskey drinks. With exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood trimmings and a rich mahogany bar, this old school establishment is the perfect haunt in which to sit back with a glass, watch a game, and indulge in perfectly crafted ambiance.
Perhaps you’ve been musically inspired by Cliff Bell’s and are looking to take the stage yourself. If that’s the case, it may be time to make a stop at Sid Gold’s Request Room. With locations in the country’s greatest musical cities, Sid Gold’s dispenses with the karaoke machines and replaces them with a rotating cast of brilliantly accomplished pianists, supplying them with a baby Baldwin that can accompany any song that strikes you. Don’t be shy! This karaoke and cocktail bar offers a magically intimate, one-of-a-kind experience thoroughly calibrated to transform you into the ultimate performer.
Fish Tacos. Mouthwatering burgers. Mile high Nachos. Bookies Bar and Grille has something for everyone, along with beer buckets to wash it all down with. Looking for a ride from the game? This bar and grill also provides shuttle service from all Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, and Red Wings events, as well as Major Downtown Concerts. Additionally, this venue can be booked for events of up to 500 people. Stop by to cool down and refuel after a day exploring the sights and sounds of Detroit!
The Elephant Room provides accessible, upscale drinking and dining seven days a week. Featuring a variety of holiday and special events, this bar and restaurant expertly crafts dozens of cocktails while providing hearty meals with which to accompany them. With dark wood inlaying its walls and gluten free options available, The Elephant Room is sure to leave an impression.
Expect a warm welcome at Townhouse, a new American restaurant featuring a seasonal menu dedicated to showcasing the freshest premium ingredients in Detroit. Designed with a passion for showcasing the best of American comfort foods, the Townhouse menu features inspired interpretations of traditional meals, elevated with fine dining hospitality and culinary techniques. Passion for the craft of cuisine is more than apparent, and guaranteed to satisfy.