Food & Drink

The 12 best Hamtramck dive bars

Published On 12/10/2014 Published On 12/10/2014
Polish Sea League
Nicole Rupersburg
New Dodge Lounge
7 Brothers
Paycheck's Lounge
Kelly's Bar Hamtramck
Hamtramck Moose Lodge #1670
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1. Whiskey In The Jar 2741 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

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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2. Polish Sea League 2601 Edwin St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Polish Sea League is a neighborhood, been-around-forever bar. They offer cheap drinks and a nice selection of bar diversions (pool, darts, juke box, etc). And if you're Polish? Even better.

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3. Two Way Inn 17897 Mount Elliott St, Detroit, MI 48212

The Two Way Inn, established in 1876 by Colonel Philetus Norris, is the oldest bar in Detroit having gone through many reincarnations as village jail and general store, brothel, speakeasy, and now as a “fine dive.” You wont find a menu here, but owner and bartender Mary will host a weekly “popup” or two with homemade comfort foods like pasta, meatloaf, and shepherd’s pie. The first Sunday of every cold-season month Danielle hosts a brunch where she makes drinks from her homemade stash of vegetable infused alcohol. You have to be buzzed in for a bottle of domestic, international, or local craft beer, or to catch a glimpse of Col. Norris who is rumored to have never left this dark, weathered, underground-style bar.

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4. Painted Lady Lounge 2930 Jacob St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

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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5. New Dodge Lounge 8850 Joseph Campau St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

New Dodge Lounge is an old-school, no-frills concert venue/bar. Come when you know a good act will be onstage. Just be prepared: people smoke like chimneys in here.

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6. Seven Brothers Bar 11831 Joseph Campau St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Seven Brothers is a classic hole-in-the-wall dive bar. For decades, this local haunt has been serving cheap drinks to loyal fans.

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7. Paycheck's Lounge 2932 Caniff St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Paycheck's is Hamtramck's oldest live music venue, and they still bring in a mix of punk bands, hardcore/metal bands, industrial bands, punk tribute bands, singer-songwriters, and whatnots, with a proper stage and everything.

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8. Small's 10339 Conant St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Small's is a legendary spot that's brought in acts like the Melvins, Jello Biafra, and Fu Manchu. This corner neighborhood bar doubles as a rock venue and club-- both local and international bands and DJs come to perform. Choose from a wide selection of beers and well liquors. The bar's gorgeous, antiquated Art Deco theme (complete with multicolor stained glass windows) recalls the Motor City's golden years. Plus, once a month Small’s hosts Ray & Laura’s Comedy Showcase, a show run by two two Hamtramck comedians (which means they’re hilarious, and also likely buzzed) that invites independent local and national acts to take the newly inaugurated stage in the bar’s front room for celebrity guest impersonators, game show parodies, and good ol’ fashioned stand-up.

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9. Suzy's Bar 2942 Evaline St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Suzy's is a cozy dive bar in Downtown Hamtramck with cheap drinks and lots of regulars.

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10. Kelly's Bar 2403 Holbrook St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Kelly's is a Hamtramck dive bar with cheap drinks and tasty food. Be sure to go on a Thursday, when tacos are 50 cents, and domestic beers are two dollars. Locals, bikers, and hipster clientele flock to this Irish spot for its gritty IDGAF attitude, generous pours, and the likelihood that when it gets late, the scene will get rowdy.

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11. Hank's Bar 3001 Holbrook St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Hank's in Hamtramck offers up cheap drinks in a very dive-y atmosphere with a jukebox blasting '80s music.

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12. Hamtramck Moose Lodge 9421 Conant St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

It's a dive bar that is also a Moose Lodge, that does a number of community events and fundraisers (because it is a Moose Lodge) and also has fish fry dinner Fridays during Lent (because Polish Catholic) that kicks off with a big Pączki Day breakfast (because Hamtramck).