The Best Bars in Metro Detroit

Whether we want cocktail conversation, a playoff game, fine wine, or a quiet booth, most of us seek a bar that just feels right. Following is a list of popular metro Detroit pubs — courtesy of Hour Detroit subscribers, who e-mailed us with their personal favorites. Their picks range from top-shelf to basic brew. Cheers.

Piano barsNo. 1 Watering Hole

Centaur, 2233 Park Ave., Detroit;
“Upscale martini lounge with quite an extensive martini menu. Crowd is a good mix of young professionals and attractive, fun people. I would say most are in the 23-40 year age range.” — Michelle Clement


Top Taverns:

Amici’s Pizza & Living Room
3249 12 Mile Rd., Berkley;

• “The Living Room is quaint and charming with great service and fantastic martinis, not to mention great pizza if you get hungry!”
Deanna M. Nelson
• “Owners Jennifer and Maureen are civic and community-minded. They have been certified as a green restaurant, one of the first in Michigan. They also have gluten-free beer and pizza.” — Cathy King

The Bosco
22930 Woodward, Ferndale;

Chen Chow Brasserie
260 Old N. Woodward, Birmingham;

• “Trendy [with] a Manhattan-chic ambience. A see-and-be-seen crowd, most in the 30-45 age range.”
Michelle Clement

The Capital Grille,
2800 W. Big Beaver, Troy;

Cliff Bell’s
2030 Park Ave., Detroit;

• “The best jazz in Detroit, the best Jazz Age décor — including original barrel-vaulted ceilings lined with gold leaf — and specialty drinks made by knowledgeable and friendly bartenders — all in the heart of downtown’s enter- tainment district.” — Betty Brownlee

Dino’s Lounge,
22740 Woodward, Ferndale;

• “The owner seems to always be there and cares that his name is on the door. Consistently very good food (love Sunday brunch and have gone out of my way for the steak bites), and the bartenders know what they are doing. The crowd is a great mix of professionals, musicians, artists, and others. Live music some nights.”
Andrea Schroeder
• “Dino’s in Ferndale is the best bar along the Woodward Corridor. A great dimly lit sports tavern during the week with more of a loungy vibe on weekends. Solid kitchen with a revamped menu and the best sweet potato fries around. Karaoke night rocks, and so does MBE (Missy the Bartender Extraordinaire).” — John D. Gwyn

Goodnite Gracie
222 S. Sherman, Royal Oak;

Town Pump Tavern, 100 W. Montcalm, Detroit;
• “It just feels right, as if you’re living the show Cheers . Convenient to the stadiums. It doesn’t take forever to get a drink when it’s busy, and it’s not overwhelmingly large.”
Justin Winkelman

220 & Edison’s,
220 E. Merrill St., Birmingham.

More Favorites:

Big Rock Chop & Brew House 245 S. Eton St., Birmingham;

Black Lotus Brewing Company
1 E. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson;

• “They brew their own beer, have a casual atmosphere, remember customers by name, and offer live music on occasion. Best of all, it’s non-smoking.” — Zachary McCallum

Flood’s Bar & Grille,
731 St. Antoine, Detroit;

201 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham;

• “You can enjoy the view from an indoor window seat or one of their outdoor tables. The bartenders and staff are very prompt. And the large plasma-screen TV in the bar lets you watch sports while enjoying a cocktail or two.” — Barbara Banco

Green Lantern Lounge,
28960 John R, Madison Heights;

Gracie’s Underground,
22757 Woodward, Ferndale;

1777 Third St., Detroit;

• Great jazz, great drinks.
Ronald D. Vallan

Mitchell’s Fish Market,
117 Willits, Birmingham;

1384 Michigan Ave., Detroit;

• “In the shadow of old Tiger Stadium, it’s perfect for catching a beer before a Tigers game, and offers a cheap, quick, and enjoyable painted school bus ride to and from Comerica Park.” — Michael Dudek

Northern Lights Lounge,
660 W. Baltimore, Detroit;

• “Retro décor, mood a-go-go lighting, dance floor. Good sound system and music choices help push that activity along.”— Scott R. Hull

The Park Bar,
2040 Park Ave., Detroit;

• “Their large windows allow patrons to see all of the activity going on outside. You have baseball fans, football fans, concert-goers (from the Fillmore and Fox), as well as the many other people going to the other great bars in the area. No matter if it is a Sunday night or midweek night, there always seems to be something to keep you entertained. They also do a great job as a musical venue (up on the second floor). If you are hungry, they have the Bucharest Grill attached to the bar. And they have an exceptional tap-beer selection.”
Michael L. Martorelli

156 Monroe, Detroit;

Red Coat Tavern,
31452 Woodward, Royal Oak.

• “The best burger, coleslaw, and fries you will ever find. Red Coat is Royal Oak’s Cheers.”
Kimberly Bryant

The Rhino,
1407 Randolph, Detroit.

The Rugby Grille
(The Townsend Hotel),
100 Townsend St., Birmingham;

• “The bartender pours a good drink, guests are interesting to talk to, and the atmosphere is comfortable. A great place to unwind.” — Carol Lewis
• “The glasses are polished, and you always get a dish of nuts. Attention to detail makes this place special.”
John Garr II

Tap Room,
201 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti;

Telly’s Place, Inc.,
20795 Mack, Grosse Pointe Woods.

Tom’s Oyster Bar,
318 S. Main St., Royal Oak

Also Popular:

The Anchor
450 W. Fort St., Detroit.

The Apartment Nightclub,
1500 Woodward, Detroit;

Arbor Brewing Company,
114 E. Washington, Ann Arbor.

Atlas Global Bistro,
3111 Woodward, Detroit;

Baile Corcaigh,
1426 Bagley, Detroit;

• “The best bar and Irish restaurant outside of the Emerald Isle. The drinks are generous and served with delight, and the Dingle Pie is out of this world.”
Cynthia Cassell

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge,
20510 Livernois, Detroit;

The Baltimore,
1234 Randolph, Detroit.

• “Go all the way to the back and it’s like a back-alley bar in Chicago. It has the best grilled-cheese sandwiches in town made by Teddy and Mama, the owners. Like Coyote Ugly, you can get on the bar and dance.” — Amy Terrill

The Belmont,
10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck;

• “The crowd is friendly and diverse, the bartender is as professional as she is beautiful, the selection on tap and in bottles and cans is a dream, the jukebox is brilliant, the bands great and affordable, the rotating art shows are well worth looking at, the location is easy to find with plenty of free parking. What got me to the Belmont in the first place is Punk Fitness on Tuesdays, the best thing that ever happened to me. Finally, a fitness program I can get behind. It’s my recess time.” — Susan Lindson

Bert’s Marketplace,
2727 Russell St., Detroit;

• “An ambience that screams Detroit. The atmosphere is fun. The music is fabulous. The food is great! Close to downtown Detroit attractions, including the stadiums.”
Jacquelyn Theriot Merchant

Beverly Hills Grill,
31471 Southfield Rd.,
Beverly Hills.

Bonefish Grill,
26045 Town Center Dr., Novi;

Champ’s Pub,
140 E. Grand River, Brighton;

Cherry Martini,
50296 Cherry Hill Rd., Canton;

Chick’s Bar,
18550 W. Warren, Detroit;

• “Dive bar with ambience. Draft specials: $1.10. Food specials: $1.”
Terry Novak

Club Bart,
22728 Woodward, Ferndale;

Club Pink,
19910 Hoover, Detroit.

• “Best metro Detroit lesbian bar.”
Stephanie Holloway

Club 22,
46793 Hayes, Shelby Township.

Copper Canyon Brewery,
27522 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield;

Detroit Yacht Club,
Starboard Haven, 1 Riverbank Rd., Detroit;

Dick O’Dow’s,
160 W. Maple, Birmingham.

The Engine House,
309 Cass Ave., Mount Clemens;

5th Avenue Ballroom,
25750 Novi Rd., Novi;

The Firehouse,
48925 Gratiot, Chesterfield Township.

Gaelic League/
Irish-American Club Bar,
2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit;

• “Warm, comfortable, inviting. Guinness on tap. The folks are down-home friendly.” — Liam Neary

Hard Luck Lounge,
15412 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park;

Harry’s Bar & Grill,
2482 Clifford, Detroit;

• “I love the deck, the mixed rum drink, and the Sesame Seed Salmon is to die for.” — LahTisha Evans

Jack’s Waterfront Restaurant, 24214 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores;

Joe Kool’s,
1835 E. Big Beaver, Troy;

The Keys,
140 N. Main St., Mount Clemens.

• “Dueling piano players get the crowd to participate. There is also an outdoor patio for those Michigan summer nights.” — Susan Gristchuk

Kruse & Muer on Main,
327 S. Main St., Rochester;

La Dolce Vita,
17546 Woodward, Detroit.

Larco’s Italian Chophouse,
645 E. Big Beaver, Troy;

Liberty Bar & Grill,
85 N. Saginaw, Pontiac.

The Library Sports Pub & Grill, 42100 Grand River, Novi.
• “Live bands on weekends, plenty of TVs for sports watching, and the best bar food in the city. I think their pizza is the best in metro Detroit, and I’m a regular at the Green Lantern in Madison Heights. Their wings blow away anything that Buffalo Wild Wings puts in a basket. When you order a pitcher of beer, they also bring two full glasses with it. How can you beat that?” — David Smiles

Lily’s Seafood,
410 S. Washington, Royal Oak;

• “As members of the Wine Club, we enjoy meeting at Lily’s once a month to taste different wines hosted by businesses in Royal Oak. It’s a comfortable place to go alone, and has friendly bartenders, waitresses, and owners. A great place to meet
for any parade in Royal Oak.”
Bill and Paula Edson

1427 Randolph, Detroit.

• “On Friday nights, they start off with mellow live jazz and, as the evening progresses, a DJ comes in and plays for a younger, professional crowd. They have all the premium liquors available.”
Bridgett Embry

Magic Bag,
22920 Woodward, Ferndale;

Malarkey’s Irish Sports Bar, 35750 Warren, Westland;

Marge’s Bar & Grill,
15300 Mack, Grosse Pointe Park;

Mario’s Italian Grill,
1477 John R, Troy;

501 Monroe, Detroit;

Memphis Smoke,
100 S. Main St., Royal Oak.

Mixx Lounge,
43155 Main St., Novi;

Mon Jin Lau,
1515 E. Maple, Troy;

Mt. Chalet,
32955 Woodward, Royal Oak.

The Oak Café, 1167 Oak St., Wyandotte;

Paint Creek Tavern,
613 N. Main, Rochester;

• “The ‘Yacht Club’ is the best little bar in all of metro Detroit. The joint has been in business for years, and a patron will always find a mix of old-timers from the “village” days to the young urban professionals who push their strollers past the boutiques and galleries of contemporary Rochester. The beer is always cold, and the burgers and fries are the best I’ve ever eaten. Prices are time-travel low. The best aspect is the deck overlooking Paint Creek and the Paint Creek Trail. Nothing beats gathering with friends on the deck for a cheap, delicious meal, cold drinks, and rollicking conversation while taking in the best people-watching in downtown Rochester.” — Brad Irwin

The Perfect Beat,
1941 S. Fort St., Detroit.

• “The atmosphere is wonderful, the wait staff is great, the live entertainment is wonderful.” — Vicki L. Jackson

The Post,
408 W. Congress, Detroit;

Ronin Sushi Bar Restaurant,
326 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak;

Roosevelt’s Billiards Bar & Grill, 27843 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills;

Signature Grille at
Riverfront, third floor, 250 Riverfront Dr., Detroit.
• “Excellent third-floor view of the river. One of the best-kept secrets in Detroit.” — Leroy Bray

Small’s Bar & Grill,
10339 Conant, Hamtramck;

The Sidetrack Bar & Grill,
56 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti;
• “ GQ magazine (2005) named its burger one of the nation’s 20 best.”
Gary Lillie

Sports Brew Pub,
166 Maple, Wyandotte;

Ye Olde Tap Room,
14915 Charlevoix,
Grosse Pointe Park.
• “Fantastic beer selection, peanut shells on the floor, killer scotch selection, and the hands-down friendliest, most knowledgeable bartenders I have found in Detroit.”
Elizabeth Hennessey

Tequila Rain,
44325 W. 12 Mile, Novi;

Union Street Saloon,
4145 Woodward, Detroit;
• “There are no TVs, which encourages conversation. Very eclectic crowd.” — Saundra Staats

Uptown Eatery,
19701 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield.

417 S. Main St., Royal Oak;

The Well,
1228 Randolph, Detroit.

The Whitney (third floor),
4421 Woodward, Detroit;
• “It’s the one bar in metro Detroit where I’ve never had to explain my favorite cocktail: a sidecar. And it’s especially fun on the nights when they have a live piano player.”
Tanya Lundberg