If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then our Detroit guide is just what you want. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in Detroit for hanging out and kicking back in. From long-lived mainstays like Town Pump Tavern to busy places like Bo's Brewery & Bistro that get lots of 10Best reader approval, we present the top bars in town and offer details about them all. What's the energy like? How do the bartenders pour? Are most bars located in the Downtown area? No fear - we share all the facts!


Warehouse District

Housed in an 18,000 sq ft re-purposed factory building, the Atwater Block Brewery seeks to revive the proud tradition of Detroit breweries. The lagers that are produced here are German in everything but location – not only are the malt and hops imported from Germany, the brewing equipment is also German. The brewery also produces specialty ales, made from the finest American hops. The Dirty Blond (unmalted wheat, coriander, and orange peel) and the Vanilla Java Porter (coffee beans, vanilla extract, chocolate malt) are just a few of the tasty beers on tap here.

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Part of the Majestic Theater Center complex, the Garden Bowl (built in 1913) ranked as the metropolitan area's oldest and largest bowling alley for several years – at one point it featured a billiards tournament area and more than 20 lanes. Today, the Garden Bowl offers 16 lanes of bowling fun, complete with DJs and a full bar. On the second level is the trendy Magic Stick pool hall. The nearby Majestic Theater is a live music venue that has featured the likes of Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, and Los Lobos.

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A great suburban alternative, this estimable establishment gets lots of positive buzz. The well-attended place offers both a restaurant and bar, and both of them are perennially busy. The menu takes inspiration from around the world, and its beautifully presented dishes are both delicious and affordable. Among them are cumin- and ancho chili rubbed grouper and herb-tinged Tuscan steak. Make it a point to hang out at the bar, either as a way to absorb its energy and camaraderie or as a way to bookend a terrific meal. A neighborhood favorite.

Read more about Gravity Bar & Grill →


Devoted to making and serving handcrafted brews, Motor City draws a crowd of connoisseurs, who appreciate the extra effort and the premium flavors. Offering ales, lagers, porters, stouts, and even hard ciders, the place knows how to accommodate folks of all tastes. A half-dozen brews are served year-round; others make seasonal appearances. Brick-oven pizzas are the accompaniment of choice.

Read more about Motor City Brewing Works →

Family-friendly and bursting with energy, this establishment is known for beer-drinking, sing-alongs, and good times galore. The place's Bavarian architecture and its collection of steins and mounted deer heads lend notes of authenticity, and you'll find folks regularly quaffing premium brews and dancing in traditional style. In keeping with the theme, patrons don German garb and belt out familiar tunes with abandon. Naturally, you can enjoy a good bratwurst or sauerbraten when the appetite calls.

Read more about Dakota Inn Rathskeller →

A terrific place to meet up with friends at the beginning of a night out in the Motor City, this West Montcalm Street watering hole scores big points for its pub grub and impressive selection of domestic and imported quaffs. Located behind the building that houses the Second City Theater, the Town Pump features upscale, pub-like decor, including a few cozy couches that are great places to lounge after work and plan the night's adventures.

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A favorite with downtown business types, who want to stop off for a quick brew, some tasty grub, and a chance catch up on the latest sports news before calling it quits for the night, Royal Oak features some of the area's top Belgian-style ales and a pub menu that that offers a surprisingly eclectic array of options. From Louisiana-style jambalaya and fish 'n' chips to calzones and shepherd's pie, the Royal Oak's kitchen serves up some of the metro area's best bar food.

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One of Pontiac's preferred watering holes, this family-owned place specializes in microbrews. You'll find an upscale scene at Bo's, complete with hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, stainless steel railings, and a neat mezzanine area. Add to the mix a few big-screen televisions, and it's easy to see why local business folks flock here after work or on weekends to catch the game. Bo's menu, almost as popular as its beers, includes fajitas, pizzas, chicken potpie, burgers, salads, and sandwiches.

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A neighborhood fixture since 1904, Jacoby's wood-paneled and brick-walled interior hasn't changed much since the beginning. The 20 beers on tap (and many others available) make sure that everyone has his/her drink of choice, and hunger-killing bar snacks like crabcakes and calamari means there are no reasons to stop making friends at Jacoby's.

Read more about Jacoby's German Biergarten →