There is some heart in Paris, but not like here. Here, the city is alive.
The metro Detroit party scene has been thriving for about as long as metro Detroiters have wanted to party — so, essentially, forever. James Johnson says he remembers sneaking into downtown Detroit clubs at just 16 years old. He continues to venture downtown to enjoy the nightlife, but today, he’s making legal memories with girlfriend, Gaelle Bolunga.
A native of Paris, Bolunga says some might expect a Parisian to turn her nose up at an industrial city like Detroit. The reality though is that she enjoys the mood of the city, which is one you can’t get anywhere else.
Eli Chodock, who has worked at Café D’Mongo’s Speakeasy for four years, agrees. He says he has never found another bar where people are as close to being family as they are at Café D’Mongo’s.
Even when I’m not working at Café D’Mongo’s, I find myself here working … on drinking.
“There are not many places you can go where everyone is the best of friends, and even if they aren’t, they will be by the end of the night.”
The nightlife scene has been growing in recent years — not just downtown, but in many parts of the area, from Ferndale to Ann Arbor. In fact, there are so many options, it’s almost overwhelming. Not to worry, we’ve hand-selected the very best.
Nightlife Venues That Locals Love
Bad Luck Bar
Mixologists at this upscale bar create some of the most unique cocktails in the city. 1218 Griswold St., Detroit; 313-657-9177; badluckbar.com
The wood and leather interior, classic cocktails, and hidden location of this casual lounge will have you feeling like you’ve walked into a 1920s speakeasy. 213 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-997-0800; babsannarbor.com
Sip creative craft cocktails, like Kerry’s Country Breakfast, which is made with bourbon, black walnut bitters, maple syrup, and a mini-waffle garnish, in a sophisticated and vintage-inspired atmosphere. 11601 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck; 313-707-0986; barterdetroit.com
In a beautiful historic building in downtown Brighton, Brewery Becker offers hors d’oeuvres and artisanal beer crafted in-house. 500 W. Main St., Brighton; 810-844-0225; brewerybecker.com
Café D’Mongo’s Speakeasy
With classic drinks, live music, and vintage novelties plastered on every surface, this eccentric bar is like a window to the past. 1439 Griswold St., Detroit
This historic Art Deco restaurant and bar regularly hosts jazz, blues, and soul acts to accompany its sophisticated cocktails. 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com
This psychedelic live music venue is flooded with black lights and graphic neon posters. 1274 Library St., Detroit; 313-788-7015; deluxxfluxx.com
The indoor and outdoor spaces at this lounge come to life with dancing to music from DJs and live performers. 529 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-962-1300; exodusrooftop.com
This lively bi-level bar entertains guests with lots of TVs and sports games during the week and live DJs on the weekends. 215 Fifth Ave., Royal Oak; 248-629-9423; fifthaveroyaloak.com
This laid-back tavern with multiple bars offers drinks and pub fare. 15 N. Walnut St., Mt. Clemens; 586-468-7777
Rosie O’ Grady’s
A popular spot among the LGBTQ community, this bar and grill has a patio lounge and large food menu. 279 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-591-9163; rosieogradysirishpub.com