Food & Drink

These are Detroit's best cocktail bars

Published On 11/06/2013 Published On 11/06/2013
Courtney Ochab
Bailout Productions
Courtney Ochab
Great Lakes
Courtney Ochab
Rodin
Centaur Bar
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1. Sugar House 2130 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48026 (Corktown)

One of Detroit's leading mixology bars, this hip Corktown spot uses eclectic spirits and mixers to make inventive and delicious drinks. Bartenders clad in tiki shirts or vests shake and stir creative concoctions with off-the-beaten-path liquors -- cacaçha, mezcal, absinthe, madiera, and chartreuse, to name a few -- and homemade infusions and syrups. While the specialty menu rotates seasonally, the staff's encyclopedic knowledge of classics from Aperol Spritzes to Zombies ensures a constant flock of regulars, aided by the antique hunting lodge décor (taxidermy animals mounted throughout, vintage bar stools, original brick facade from 1888) and dim, sultry ambience.

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2. Roast 1128 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226-1907

Headed by Iron Chef Michael Symon, Roast is a massive, highly decorated, 200-seat steakhouse. Its bar/lounge is also known for dishing out some of Detroit's best cocktails, each made with fresh ingredients. Located within the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, the bar’s Renaissance-style ambiance will make your night out feel classy as can be.

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3. Two James 2445 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

This Corktown distillery -- the city's first -- churns out gin, vodka, and whiskey, and comes with a bar serving cocktails infused with the liquors. It's located in a former taxi garage, a grungy element which it preserves through exposed steel and a concrete counter curved into an exaggerated horseshoe shape. The whole setup is airy, open and conducive to socializing, though you're also welcome to shop their retail selection for whiskey to go.

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4. Great Lakes Coffee 3965 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

Great Lakes has a bit of everything: great coffee, tasty small plates, and rotating wines and cocktails. They focus on small scale productions and locally-sourced ingredients, with awesome offerings like cold-brewed coffee ON TAP and house-made syrups and infusions for their cocktails. The Midtown coffee shop has become a gathering place with the warm atmosphere featuring reclaimed wood and smart design elements, it's easy to see why.

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5. Cliff Bell's 2030 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Hands-down Detroit's finest cabaret club, Cliff Bell's is a cocktail bar, restaurant, and entertainment destination with dramatic Art Deco décor that includes a curved wood ceiling, mahogany leather banquettes, and a vintage Steinway grand piano. Stop by to wash down great jazz and burlesque with quality martinis and other beverages mixed by well dressed and professional bartenders.

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6. Rodin 15 E Kirby St, Detroit, MI 48202 (Midtown)

This bar & bistro is named after the sculptor of The Thinker, and mixes enough Parisian-inspired cocktails to ensure that no one will mistake you for him.

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7. Centaur Bar 2233 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Centaur Bar is your new best friend: aside from serving you small plates until 2am and giving you a free ride to all the Red Wings home games, they have 1/2 off wine Wednesdays and a killer 5$ martini (they have over 25 kinds) happy hour every day.