Food & Drink

Detroit's Best Bartenders Want to Pour You a Drink Tonight

Published On 12/08/2016 Published On 12/08/2016
bartender detroit
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Roger James
Kyle Marks
Nick Bristky/Thrillist
Nick Britsky/Thrillist
Nick Bristky/Thrillist
Nick Bristky/Thrillist
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1. Wright & Co. 1500 Woodward, Detroit, MI 48226

Serving upscale New American tapas and craft cocktails in a refined, Deco-inspired space, Wright & Co. is a popular destination for happy hour and date nights alike. Food offerings range from elevated gastropub fare like pork belly sliders with tomato jam and arugula to larger plates like sautéed sea scallops with yellow squash purée, asparagus and succulent chive butter sauce, and the sheer variety makes for a myriad of ways to approach the market-driven menu. While the cocktail list changes seasonally, expect eclectic ingredients, house-made infusions, and top shelf liquors like añejo rum, mezcal, small batch whiskeys, and chartreuse to make regular appearances. The six-course Sunday brunch tasting menu attracts the masses, but daily happy hour steals make for a lively ambience any night of the week.

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2. The Peterboro 420 Peterboro St, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

Located in what was once Detroit's Chinatown, The Peterboro pays homage to the area's cultural history with a contemporary American-Chinese menu from Chef de Cuisine Brion Wong and a bar program that is nothing less than you should expect from the Detroit Optimist Society, the folks behind The Sugar House, Wright & Co., Café 78, and Honest John's. Take the "C.R.E.A.M.," a cocktail made with bourbon, rice and almond milk, cinnamon syrup, and bitters that might as well be double as your dessert as well.

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3. The Whisky Parlor 608 Woodward Ave , Detroit, MI 48226

Located above the more baroque Grand Trunk Club, the Whisky Parlor is finished in cozier dimensions, with a carpeted floor and tableclothed tables that illuminate under candle lights. Guests here can choose from over 100 whiskeys, while sinking into a relaxed night backdropped by live jazz music.

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4. Standby 225 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Discreetly nestled in The Belt art alley, Standby serves inventive New American fare and creative booze-forward cocktails in a trendy, sultry space. Helmed by chefs Jesse Knott and Lindsay Salminen (of Detroit Delhi fame), the kitchen puts a modern spin on classic dishes like pierogies, served here with a whiskey-mushroom filling with tamarind, chile d'arbol, and scallion; in a similar vein, meat offerings like chicken liver mousse and country terrine illustrate the emphasis on house-made recipes. Accessible mixology continues to define the cocktail list, which is organized by spirit type and blends quirkily named signatures with timeless classics. If the place gets too crowded for your tastes, it's worth the short walk down the road to The Skip, Standby's seasonal sister bar. The libations go down just as quickly, and the open-air patio features a massive Shepard Fairey mural.

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5. The Oakland 201 W 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220

Don't be confused about the "Art Novelty Company" title that adorns their website -- The Oakland is all about cocktails. Well, cocktails and the creation of a sumptuous turn of the century aesthetic.

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6. The Keep 140 Cadillac Square, Detroit, MI 48226

This spot’s laid-back speakeasy vibe is served with crafty mixed beverages and plenty of dudes with well-groomed facial hair from the hip barbershop above. And though the bar is subterranean, it's got an outdoor patio where you can relax in the summer months with one of their draft cocktails or beers in hand.

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7. The Skip 1234 Library St, Detroit, MI 48226

A sister bar concept to Standby, also located in The Belt art alley, The Skip turns the cocktail bar concept on its head, serving up frozen drinks (think frozen negronis and grown folk margaritas), five different kinds of boilermakers, and an Old Fashioned made with rum. As far as post-imbibing fare, the open-air cocktail bar also serves Latin American street food.