Est. 2004 | Hamtramck
Punk rock and Pappy
Look, pretty much this whole list could be Hamtramck bars. And pretty much every Hamtramck bar could be on this list. But we have to be picky, and this one has live music and serious punk-rock pedigree, and also "character," which is a word a lot of people use when they mean "could use some elbow grease and a Clorox wipe" but are trying to be nice about it. Grimey in the best way possible! As the Painted Lady, this bar just celebrated its 15th anniversary, but the old Victorian house it's housed in dates back to the early 1900s, and it's served as a punk bar for decades. Also, they're playing a serious whiskey game, leagues beyond that of the average dive bar where Jack and Jim are the top-shelf pours (think more along the lines of Pappy and friends).
Est. ??? (Built in 1918) | Hamtramck
The entry point to Hamtramck dive bar culture
Okay, we have to include ONE more Hamtramck, but no more after that! There are dozens of beloved dive bars in Hamtramck, but Whiskey in the Jar might just be the most beloved of all. This is the non-Hamtramckian's beginner bar; an entry point to Hamtramck's robust dive bar scene, where first-timers are greeted with a shot of Jerzy and there's a steady stream of Hamtramck tourists (especially during "holidays" like Paczki Day and their annual Tracksuit party), but mostly it's all locals and regulars who know each other.
Est. 1966 | Downtown
A downtown dive still thriving in the midst of New Detroit
For more than 50 years now, Greenwich Time Pub has reliably served cheap beer and excellent cheeseburgers, and thanks to all the "new Detroit" activity, they are once again as busy as they've ever been. Located right next door to Checker Bar -- still a dive in its own right, but a little more stylized for industry folk and anti-Quickenstan downtown scenesters -- Greenwich Time Pub is frozen in time, but in the most delightful way. It is one of the last remaining echoes of mid-century downtown Detroit. Original owner Harry Hans, who bought the bar back in '66 (the building itself is much older), still mans the grill along with his son, and his daughter runs the bar. This is a long-time family-operated business where the regulars are also family and newcomers are welcomed with cheap beer (for those not riding the High Life, they also have things like Bell's Two-Hearted), excellent homemade bar food (they're known for their burgers, but might actually serve the best Reuben in the city), and friendly service.