Food & Drink

15 Detroit Bars Open on Christmas Day

Updated On 12/22/2016 at 04:21PM EST Updated On 12/22/2016 at 04:21PM EST
mgm grand casino
Courtesy of Detroit Public Relations

While checking Christmas Day schedules with area watering holes, we were met with such responses as: "I hope not," "Are we what on the what now?", and “Are you OK?” But, without fail, there remain the few and the proud, the bars that even Christmas can’t put a cork in. So, whether you're stuck with family, without family, or just avoiding the whole thing altogether, head to these reliable spots down to pour you a drink.

JEFF WARANIAK/Thrillist

The Old Miami

Midtown

It would take a hurricane to keep The Old Miami from opening its doors, which means you can go from Grandma's couch to... someone else's Grandma's couch. This year, the Old Miami should open around noon on Jesus’ alleged day of birth, and dinner will be served at 2pm.

Whiskey in the Jar

Hamtramck

Ah yes. This bar would likely serve up cheap suds during the apocalypse, so clearly, staying open during Christmas is like any other day of the year. When we inquired as to when the doors might swing open, an unidentified, saucy bartender responded with, “We open at, like, seven. We like to let you sit with your family and stew on that shit for a while. It makes it more exciting when you come in.”

Roy Ritchie Photography

Abick’s Bar

Southwest

This neighborhood bar is a hidden gem and, of course, open on Christmas Day for its usual stream of loyal locals. Expect the doors to open around “6, 6:30, or so.”

Michael Symon's Roast

Roast

Downtown

If Keno and Stroh’s don’t appeal to you, hit Roast and keep it classy at one of the best hotel bars in town. Michael Symon himself wants you to have a Merry Christmas.

Donovan's Pub

Donovan’s

Southwest

Southwest’s favorite neighborhood staple would never leave its regulars hanging.

My Dad's Bar - Detroit

My Dad’s Bar

Kercheval

We mean… of course it's open.

Bumbo's

Bumbo’s

Hamtramck

This Hamtramck bar, one of the newer dives on the scene, commences Christmas Day hooch-selling around 7pm.

3 Nicks Tap Room

Southgate

It's true, even on Christmas Day: a Downriver party don't stop... at least, until the Bud Light runs out. Festivities begin at 4pm.

Sneakers Pub

Sneakers

Ferndale

Service with a smile? Maybe. Service when all you need is a one-way ticket to Blottoland? You got it.

Flickr/Thomas Hawk

Stonehouse

Ralston St

This place has more ghosts in its closets than your entire family combined. No but really, Stonehouse is haunted. Belly-up and hope the spirit you meet is as benevolent as Clarence Odbody.

Pulp Detroit

Volt

Downtown

Nestled within the Renaissance Center's Marriott Hotel, here you'll be surrounded by fellow drinkers who skipped town for the holidays on purpose.

Courtesy of Detroit Public Relations

MGM Grand Casino

Downtown

Open 365 for your all your vice-related needs. Who needs holiday scratch-offs when you’ve got the 3D version of gambling AND multiple bars to drink at?

Greektown Casino-Hotel

Greektown Casino

Greektown

Play some Christmas blackjack!

Motorcity Casino Hotel

Motor City Casino

Downtown

Roll some Christmas craps!

Courtesy of Painted Lady Lounge

The Painted Lady Lounge

Hamtramck

The Painted Lady Lounge is a great bar to go to when you want to booze without anyone knowing (or, more importantly, caring) that your pants have been unbuttoned all day to make more room for ham and Hamm’s.

Your friendly neighborhood house party

It’s been six years now that the Mitten state has been able to purchase libations on Christmas Day (possibly the best thing accomplished by the Legislature under Gov. Rick Snyder’s tenure), so your best bet may just be your buddy’s basement. Hopefully there’s a kegerator and shot roulette

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Megan Frye is a writer based in Detroit and Mexico City. Regardless of her location, she can be found decking the halls with boughs of bad decisions all year round. Tweet her with your holiday misgivings at @fryechild.  

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1. Greektown Casino-Hotel 555 E Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

We love stopping by Greektown Casino to play some blackjack.

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3. MGM Grand Detroit Casino & Hotel 1777 3rd St, Detroit, MI 48226

This casino is open every day of the year. You probably shouldn't visit it that often.

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4. Old Miami 3930 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

The Old Miami wears its heritage on its sleeve, starting with the “Thank you, Veterans” printed in large white lettering on the bar’s forest green awning. Established in 1975 as a haven for Vietnam veterans, the Old Miami has served Detroit for decades as a hybrid music-venue-meets-drinking-den. The walls are lined with military memorabilia, and a jukebox plays Patsy Kline next to the pool table. If you’re not swaying to the music on the dance floor, chances are you’re cozied up in one of the oversized couches or chairs near the fireplace chatting up a fellow patron whose past is inevitably a lot more interesting than yours.

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5. Whiskey In The Jar 2741 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212 (Hamtramck)

Named after an Irish-folk-song-turned-Metallica-classic and situated in a Polish neighborhood, Whiskey in the Jar sets its cultural bar high. But thanks to a diverse crowd and an even more varied selection of beers, bar-goers shed their differences at the door and unite for evenings of singing, dancing, and, of course, drinking. Here, wood-paneled walls are bedecked with beer advertisements, Christmas lights are posted all year long, and -- perhaps most importantly -- the digital jukebox plays songs of all genres. After a few drinks, you’ll want to snap a photo with the resident “ratalope,” a taxidermied rodent whose dignity was once stolen and replaced with antlers.

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6. Abick's 3500 Gilbert St, Detroit, MI 48210

The longtime owner of Abick’s passed away in 2014, after a long stint living above the bar her parents opened in 1919, but the place still has the near-century-old familial charm it always has: original tin ceilings, a old-time brass cashier, walls filled with old family photos. A cigar lounge, all smoke and scotch, lives in the back of the dive, for puffing pleasure. You can find a reliable platoon of regulars shooting pool under the bar’s green-tinted lamps, but that doesn’t mean the atmosphere is exclusive to the old guard: the wave of young people moving into the neighborhood have adopted this anachronistic standby as their new favorite, too.

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7. 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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8. Donovan's Pub 3003 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48216

The first person to greet you as you enter Donovan’s is no person at all; rather, a massive, slobbering pit bull serves as the welcoming committee at this Detroit dive bar. By the looks of it, the bar is pretty average, but Donovan’s is one of the only Irish bars in the city that gives as much wall real estate to bottles of liquor as it does to photographs of Mexican revolutionaries on its back wall. Come mingle with Detroit locals here and revel in the flat-screen in the corner, which draws almost as much attention as the popcorn machine below it, popping fresh (and free) snacks for all.

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9. My Dad's Bar 14911 Kercheval St, Detroit, MI 48215

Drinking at My Dad's Bar feels a little like apprehensively sipping stolen wine coolers in your parent's basement -- but the drinks here are actually good. Between the mismatched chairs scattered around formica tabletops, the vintage beer signage, and the old-world collection of tabletop lamps, it's hard to ignore feeling like you've schemed your way into having friends over while your folks are on vacation -- but no one is crying or throwing up. This time around, you can classily sip on a Old Fashioned while flipping through jukebox tracks or chatting someone up on one of the plush couches. The beer-and-shot deal is a crowd favorite, musicians perform live in the backyard in the warmer months, and best of all, no one will ground you.

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10. Bumbo's 3001 Holbrook St, Hamtramck, MI 48212 (Hamtramck)

Somewhere between old-school dive and classic cocktail bar, this spot is a local favorite. The repurposed 1930's tin ceiling is vintage but not stale, the jukebox is filled with recent tracks, and the black leather bucket seats lining the bar are somewhat timeless. Detroit natives can treat themselves to house cocktails served in thrifty glassware while perusing the menu of classic Polish eats, or chatting with the ever-present power couple who founded the joint. As with the atmosphere, the fare consists of updated versions of reliable Polish staples -- things like Gouda-Dijon pierogis and kielbasa served over chipotle sweet potato puree -- along with a handful of standard bar snacks. Typically populated with a crowd of Detroit natives, Bumbo's is reliably affordable, low-key, and somehow still pretty chic.

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11. Three Nicks Tap Room 14594 Eureka Rd, Southgate, MI 48195

3 Nicks Tap Room is just about the only place to go if you're looking for 99-cent all-you-can-eat spaghetti, served by a girl in a bikini. The bar offers an award-winning burger, plenty of alluring waitresses, and 22 separate HD TVs for game days. The space is dark and smoky, lit mainly by a spread of neon signs advertising everything from Bacardi Rum to the Detroit Lions, and the music tends to be just loud enough. The fare is good ol' American bar food -- wings and fries, hoagies and burgers -- served quickly, and best enjoyed with a cold beer. The joint is typically packed to capacity on game days, but monthly karaoke and trivia events are fairly popular as well -- and regardless of the night, you'll find a pack of jovial Detroit locals enjoying their pints (and their wait staff) at this Downriver spot.

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12. Sneakers Pub 22628 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220

This is one of our favorite bars in Detroit.

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13. Stonehouse Bar 19803 Ralston St, Detroit, MI 48203

This bar is so old-school, it is rumored to have been a hangout for Prohibition-era Detroit gangsters, the Purple Gang -- and even a brothel at one time. Hypotheses aside, this bar today has a coveted Victorian-style covered front porch, a jukebox, cold beer, and cheap prices that may explain all the regulars.

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14. VOLT 400 Renaissance Dr, Detroit, MI 48243

Located in the Marriott at the Renaissance Center, this bar and lounge offers views of Downtown Detroit in tandem with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Bar fare includes baked pretzel sticks, a turkey club with fries, blackened shrimp tacos, and house-braised corned beef. Choose a seat at the fuchsia neon-lit bar or a plush velvet armchair and take advantage of the prime people-watching real estate.

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15. Painted Lady Lounge 2930 Jacob St, Hamtramck, MI 48212 (Hamtramck)

Hamtramck’s Painted Lady lounge (rumored to be Detroit’s oldest) could use a paint job, sure, with turquoise and coral pink chips falling off of the wood-sided facade of a former Victorian-style home, but fixing that would betray the standby’s unpretentious, rough-and-tumble charm. Regulars gulp PBR on-tap after downing well shots as regular punk music acts keep them nodding their heads in the fashionably unfashionable orange-walled space. Weekly events, from movie nights to live comedy to bar-side taco nights keep the place full.

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