Six Appeal

Whiskey-centric gathering spot in Grosse Pointe pays homage to the Prohibition-era booze runners


Published:

Photograph by EE Berger

The Whiskey Six. It may sound like a hockey team that likes to party, but it’s Grosse Pointe’s newest gathering place, a restaurant/bar with a name that refers to the six-cylinder automobiles that were used during Prohibition to bring illegal booze across the frozen river and Lake St. Clair from Canada to Michigan when the boats used during the warmer months couldn’t get through.

Legend has it that many of the Whiskey Sixes ended up on the bottom of the Detroit River. To emphasize the theme, a fully restored 1928 Studebaker is the focal point of the décor, and it looks as if it could easily drive off from its perch on a reclaimed barnwood platform set just below ceiling height above the white marble-topped bar and spacious dining room. 

And it could, say the proprietors who collaborated on the handsome spot with its highly detailed brick, wood, and glass façade at 646 St. Clair Ave.

They wanted their classic American pub to have a local tie, and since the Grosse Pointe shoreline was one of the major places where whiskey was smuggled in from Canada, the iconic six-cylinder car, found in northern Minnesota after a search, was apropos.

It’s not known whether this particular handsome deep blue ’28 Studebaker at the Whiskey Six ever sped across the frozen river carrying its illegal golden treasure. But there’s no harm in imagining that it did. 

One of the co-proprietors, Mike Bileti, manages the Whiskey Six on a daily basis for the group that includes James Bellanca III, John Frohlich, Tony Galbo, and Dan Francis — all local businessmen with Grosse Pointe ties.

The high-ceilinged restaurant is in a completely rebuilt space just off Kercheval Avenue in the Village, as the business section of Grosse Pointe is known. In the spring, its 176-seat indoor capacity will be increased with another 45 outdoors on the large tree-shaded patio surrounded by a decorative wrought-iron enclosure.

The Whiskey Six is Grosse Pointe’s largest restaurant by far. And despite the rather formal-looking façade with its paned windows and copper carriage lamps flanking the entrance, it has a casual atmosphere emphasized by a number of 55-inch television screens and menu of “classic American pub food.” 

The menu relies on as many Michigan-sourced products as possible, all prepared in house. Burgers made from a house blend, artisan pizzas, sandwiches, steaks, and local fish are augmented — appropriately enough — with “a vast selection of whiskeys,” Bellanca adds.


The Whiskey Six, 646 St. Clair Ave., Grosse Pointe; 313-939-2403. Open 3 p.m.-2 a.m. daily. Lunch is planned, as well.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Prime + Proper Progress Report

The Detroit steakhouse is on its way to becoming one of downtown’s destination dining spots

Exploring the Art of Over-the-Top Cocktails

We gave five of metro Detroit’s top bartenders full creative freedom to craft their most avant-garde concoctions. What we got exceeded our highest expectations

Inside the Resurrected Takoi

The restaurant has survived arson and controversy to claim a top spot in Detroit's culinary scene

This Bank-turned-restaurant is Another Reason to Love Clarkston's Dining Scene

The Fed Community is serving up good food in a kid-friendly atmosphere

River Bistro is One of Detroit's Hottest New Restaurants – and It's Not in Downtown

The Northwest Detroit restaurant is just the beginning for the hometown chef
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. This Family-Owned Butcher Shop Serves Detroit’s Top Restaurants
    Ferndale’s Farm Field Table supplies grass-fed beef that’s a cut above competitors
  2. Review: An Inside Look at the Newly Restored Detroit Club
    The once elusive location returns with an exquisite menu and opulent interior
  3. Manchester United, Liverpool F.C. to Face Off in Ann Arbor
    U-M will host the International Championship Cup match in July
  4. 50 Years Later: A Look Back at the Tigers’ 1968 World Series Win
    The underdog team staged a mighty comeback during the historic season
  5. Cocktail Recipe: Aquavit Gimlet
    Long Road Distillers recommends a twist on the classic
  6. Outdoor Entertaining: Put the ‘Great’ in Your Party on the Lake
    Sophisticated recipes, guides, and tips for a nautical brunch
  7. Meet the Detroit Startup Churning Out ‘Adult’ Cotton Candy
    Spun Sugar puts spiked and sophisticated spins on the childhood favorite
  8. Could These Minimalist Pieces Be the Future of Furniture?
    Floyd Detroit is crafting beds, tables, and desks that are meant to last
  9. Your Biggest Questions About Sunscreen, Answered by a Pro
    From how often to apply to the ingredients that make it work, a local dermatologist tells all
  10. Everything You Need to Know About Aquavit
    Michigan distillers get hygge with a new trend’s distinct Scandinavian accent