There are lot of places in Detroit 2.0 to get craft cocktails in loft-like spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows and stamped tin ceilings. But what has happened to the old-fashioned blue-collar Detroit dive bar? Even the diviest of dives in Midtown (The Bronx, Jumbo's, Temple Bar) have been infiltrated with all manner of oversized glasses and possibly ironic facial hair. At that point, the inherent "divieness" becomes a decided (and marketable) aesthetic instead of a natural state of being.
Now, if you want real dives, like real low-down dumps full of old dudes smoking cigarettes (even though Michigan passed the smoking ban four years ago), you have to look a little bit further out. It's the once-promised land of Hamtramck – named a bit prematurely as one of the "15 hippest places to live" by Utne Reader in 1997, which also included Williamsburg, Wicker Park, and Los Feliz (back when they were all actually sh*tholes) on their list, and look what happened to those places.
Yet, Hamtramck remains the last bastion of unpolluted divebardom in Detroit. It's just dirty and nasty and grubby and skeezy, all crust punks and unemployed theatre rats and dudes who work manual labor jobs by day and play hardcore shows at night, where your worth as a Detroiter is judged not by how many mobile app startups you have launched, but by how many bands you have played in -- and it's brilliant. Bless you, Hamtramck, for all that you are, and please don't ever change.