Food & Drink

The 18 Best Beer Bars in Michigan

Published On 04/23/2015 Published On 04/23/2015
Courtesy of Lance Hill
7 Monks Tap Room
Ale Mary's
Flickr/dokas
NICOLE RUPERSBURG/THRILLIST
Nicole Rupersburg/Thrillist
Flickr/ifmuth
The Beer Exchange
Logan's Alley
Neil Braybrook
One-Eyed Betty's
 NICOLE RUPERSBURG/Thrillist
Nicole Rupersburg/Thrillist
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1. 7 Monks Taproom 128 S Union St, Traverse City, MI 49684

Monk’s Kettle brings a little extra greatness to what’s already an idyllic Michigan town. Truth be told, Traverse City’s much more renowned for wine (and cherries) than its beer culture, but with 46 carefully curated taps on constant rotation, Monk's Kettle brings something different to the table. Both its taps and their its bottle selection lean heavily on mitten-based brews, though there’s also strong Belgian representation, as is obligatory whenever a bar has “monk” in the name. Talk up the bartender, because many of the taps will be draft-only Michigan releases that won’t be around long, then settle in for the long haul with one of their fantastic wood-fired pizzas to keep you company.

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2. Ale Mary's 318 S Main St, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (Royal Oak)

Designed for the beer aficionado, Ale Mary's is decorated with kegs, beer-related photography, a beer bottle cap wall, and even beer-infused food. Of course, there're also almost 100 kinds of beers in total you can enjoy with it, including generic and niche stouts, ales, IPAs, and porters to fit every palette. And while beer-battered fries and multi-taps are nothing new, a classy and upscale place to enjoy all your beer-related goods makes this spot a novel find.

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3. Ashley's Restaurant & Pub 338 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (Ann Arbor)

Few college bars boast the kind of beer cred this clubby Ann Arbor joint does, whose menu includes German and Belgian ales, Pacific Northwest representation, and, of course, hometown favorites like Founders and New Holland on its 70+ local and international taps. The appetizers and entree-size bites equally impress, with picks like bacon, cheddar, and chive fries, poutine, and a popular Build-Your-Own-Burger option.

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4. Grand Trunk Pub 612 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Detroit's Grand Trunk Pub, sometimes referred to as Foran's, has a storied history as home to a variety of random local businesses. This place was once a jewelry store, a railway ticket office, and possibly the home of a Harry Houdini magic shop. Nowadays, it offers over 170 craft beers, killer deep-fried pub food platters, and an Irish pub good-time atmosphere. They also host regular beer dinners and one of the best brunches in the city.

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5. One-Eyed Betty's 175 W Troy St, Ferndale, MI 48220 (Ferndale)

Answering the prayers of those who crave craft brews and top-notch bar food at 12am on a Tuesday, O-EB's a raucous ale den loaded with communal picnic tables, spacious leather booths, a trifecta of classic pinball machines, a stocked jukebox, and an unfinished beer cap mural you can contribute to.

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6. Slows Bar BQ 2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

From the award-winning and rightfully TV-famous Yardbird sandwich to the 100+ beer selection, this pork-packed mainstay has thoroughly earned all the attention it gets. The Cooley’s (who own the place) have done almost as fine a job boosting other businesses in Corktown as they have boosting the average local waist size.

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7. Ye Olde Tap Room 14915 Charlevoix St, Detroit, MI 48215

Some things have longevity, and a beer-and-shot combos are one of them: Ye Olde Tap Room on Grosse Pointe Park’s edge is proof. The place has been around since 1912, when it transformed from a trolley repair garage into the local favorite it is today. You can see relics of its duration in the decor, with a wall displaying vintage beer taps and booze adverts from eras past. The beer bar doesn’t rest on its laurels, however: some 285 suds are available bottled or on draft, in addition to a scotch menu, which make a perfect pair with free peanuts in their shells. Feel free to just toss the cracked shells on the floor, as long as you don’t end up on it too.

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8. Union Woodshop 18 S Main St, Clarkston, MI 48346 (Clarkston)

This BBQ stop in Clarkston has a reputation for delicious slow-smoked ribs, wood-fired pizzas, and Vermont cheddar mac and cheese. But there's no better way to explain their process, so we’ll let Union Woodshed do the talking: “It begins and ends in the backlot, with a green hickory smoker that's on a constant low-temp tear with an assortment of meats. It's a ritual that starts with a careful rub and ends only when we think its time to pull the meat from the bath of smoke we surround it with.” Nom. Their pizza is fired in an 800 degree inferno, made fresh daily.

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9. Vinsetta Garage 27799 Woodward Ave, Berkley, MI 48072 (Berkley)

Vinsetta Garage serves up deliciously up-ticked comfort food. The space's got a well-worn mechanical vibe from the former service station that'd been around since the Model T days.