Sid Gold’s request room
1515 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-444-4653; sidgolds.com/detroit
Sid Gold’s, a piano karaoke bar in New York, is located in Detroit in the Siren Hotel. This retro lounge offers live piano accompaniment for amateur singers, and the iPad songbook includes Broadway standards as well as recent hits. Walk down the alley behind the Siren Hotel (keep an eye on the neon sign) for an inviting interior and delicious menu of cocktails, snacks, appetizers and desserts.
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3500 Gilbert St., Detroit; 313-894-9329
This family-run Polish bar has been operating continuously since 1907. During that time, Abick’s has remained a friendly gathering place in the neighborhood, offering cold beers and camaraderie. The interior features the original tin ceiling, leather sofas and a cigar den with memorabilia from the Detroit Police Department, including a riot shield, gas masks and an antique telephone box.
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Bad Luck Bar
1218 Griswold St., Detroit; 313-657-9177; badluckbar.com
Tucked away in an alley near Capitol Park, Bad Luck Bar is an experimental craft cocktail bar with an inventive selection of mixed drinks. The menu includes imaginative, imaginatively named inventions such as Downward Facing Man (rum, cold brewed coffee, Zucca rhubarb liqueur) and The Seer (cognac, royal jelly honey, VEP Yellow Chartreuse, edible gold, lemon twist).
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4421 Woodward Ave, Detroit; 313-832-5700; thewhitney.com/ghostbar
Located on the third floor of The Whitney, Ghostbar offers delicious drinks in an ornate space. With live jazz on Saturdays and a menu of creative cocktails, local beers, wines and appetizers, this bar offers a relaxed atmosphere in one of Detroit’s most beloved historic buildings.
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33 John R St., Detroit; 313-306-2380; monarchclubdetroit.com
This rooftop lounge offers breathtaking views of downtown Detroit from the top of the newly restored Metropolitan Building. Make sure to book online, in the warmer months it is a popular place.
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Raven Lounge and Restaurant
5145 Chene St., Detroit; 313-924-7133; ravenloungeandrestaurant.com
Located in a modest building on the corner of Chene and Farnsworth, Raven Lounge is one of Detroit’s oldest blues clubs. This social club, which dates back to the 1960s, offers live music, soul food and a friendly atmosphere to dance and socialize.
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305 Fleet St., 734-404-5552; theebenezerplymouth.com
This speakeasy style opened in the basement of a more than 100-year-old bank building on the corner of downtown Plymouth in 2020. To enter, walk through an alley behind the building near the parking structure.
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213 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-997-0800; babsunderground.com
The hidden entrance to Bab’s leads to a spacious basement bar offering craft cocktails, craft beers and rare bourbons. With a vintage photo booth, arcade games, pinball games and multiple televisions, Babs’ offers a relaxed atmosphere to watch games, socialize and enjoy creative cocktails.
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Jolly Old Timers
641 W. Forest Ave, Detroit; 313-831-5342
Located on the lower level of a private residence, Jolly Old Timers Club is a secret bar serving a selection of beers and mixed drinks in a friendly atmosphere. A red light on the outside of the building lets customers know when the establishment is open, and the inside is a cozy oasis with wood panels of Detroit culture. The clubhouse has been open in various forms and locations since the 1950s, and rumor has it that the former mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young, was a member.
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Two Way Inn
17897 Mt. Elliot St., Detroit; 313-891-4925; 2wayinn.com
Two Way Inn is one of Detroit’s oldest bars, dating back to 1876. After being buzzed into this hole-in-the-wall establishment, guests will enjoy the selection of domestic, imported and local craft beers. The food is also delicious, and in the winter, owner Mary Aganowski prepares large batches of soup that guests can enjoy with their drinks.
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The last word
301 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-585-5691; thelastwordbar.com
Tucked away behind an almost unmarked door, this light-hearted bar is a hidden gem on the edge of Ann Arbor’s Main Street area. Offering an inventive cocktail menu and a small selection of bar snacks, The Last Word serves delicious food and drinks in an intimate, polished atmosphere.
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The perfect beat
1941 S. Fort St., Detroit; 313-388-6262
This neon-lit club in southwest Detroit has an insane (in a good way) interior with fake palm trees, statues and mirrors in the ceiling. It will take a while to order a drink – there is only one bartender – but it’s worth it for the ‘gram’.
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Castalia and Sfumato
3980 E. 2nd Ave, Detroit; 313-305-1442; castaliacocktails.com
Located in the same Midtown mansion as its sister company, Sfumato Fragrances, this innovative bar offers cocktails to suit Sfumato scents. Try Tiger’s Eye (Thai iced infused gin, nutmeg, coconut milk, cayenne and turbinado), which goes well with Siren’s Song fragrance.
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1400 Woodward Ave, Detroit; aftenbar.com
This speakeasy-style bar is accessible through a hidden entrance in Parker Alley behind the Shinola Hotel. The relaxed, subdued atmosphere is complemented by a delicious drinks menu reminiscent of the classic elegance of the roaring thieves.
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215 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-794-1261; johnnysroyaloak.com
This speakeasy is accessible through a door disguised as a walk-in freezer, and you will need a special code (which can be found on the website) to gain access. The food menu dates back to the 1920s, and it includes sumptuous options such as salmon fillet stuffed with shrimp mousse and Luxardo cherry cream Brûlée.
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The Relief & Resource Co.
113½ Mill St., Fenton; 313-832-5700; reliefandresource.com
At the back of the Latin American street food cafe El Topo is a Pringles vending machine. It’s actually a secret door to Relief & Resource Co., a speakeasy-style cocktail lounge.
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607 Shelby St., Detroit; shelbydetroit.com
Located behind the blue metal door at the back of Downtown Coffee Down Under, The Shelby opened in a former 100-year-old safe deposit box. In addition to classic cocktails, it also serves a locally sourced menu.
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