Best Nightlife

Out of all the clubs and bars in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer a carefully vetted selection to let you explore Detroit nightlife on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Detroit Best Nightlife list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.


Stylishly attired professionals regularly descend on this moodily lit, sleekly furnished lounge, making it their go-to spot for after-work decompression and nighttime fun. Its happy hour events are well-attended, as are Friday's martini specials and Saturday's DJ party. Come for the cocktails and the company, and see what's best about the highly lauded place. Call ahead to ask about being placed on the door list for easier entrance.

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Dramatic architecture and decor render Got Rocks a sensual place to relax, indulge in a perfect martini, and absorb the sophisticated ambience. Weekend nights, DJs spin lounge music. If you just want to check out the scene, the curved bar makes a good post for watching the dance floor. Elegant appetizers and desserts are perfect for nibbling, or you can order from the downstairs chop house's full menu.

Read more about Got Rocks Diamond Crown Cigar Lounge →

Grosse Pointe

Exhibiting Continental flair, Cadieux Cafe is a great place to grab some dinner and hang out for the evening. Thanks to big pots of steaming mussels and one of the area's best repertoires of imported ales, the homey cafe is a local favorite. It also offers live bands throughout the week, not to mention karaoke events, jazz nights, and even open mic nights. A late-night menu helps you keep up your energy, which comes in handy during featherbowling competitions (it's similar to bocce). Call in advance to make bowling reservations.

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A prominent neighborhood presence, Small's is full of character, from its mahogany bar to its well-stocked jukebox to its architecture (the building was originally a bank). Typically, folks congregate in the front room to indulge in premium liquors and beers, while in the back room, live performers take the stage. Rock is the music of choice – catch good local bands Thursday through Saturday – although DJs occasionally spin as well. Other attractions include punk rock bingo, drink specials, and WiFi.

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The self-proclaimed "world's oldest jazz club" has been a city mainstay since 1934. Today, it keeps the tradition going with terrific music in an intimate space. Kick back and enjoy ever-so-smooth blues, bebop, and jazz as you treat yourself to a soul food feast that includes dishes like ocean perch, fried pork chops, chicken livers and gizzards, accompanied by mac 'n cheese, collard greens, and black-eyed peas.

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This trendy spot is located in the historic Iodent Toothpaste Factory, and a statue of a centaur boldly juts out from the building corner, coolly announcing the lounge to all passersby. The crowd is sophisticated and sexy – a perfect match for the extensive martini list and the opulent Art Deco furnishings. The bar and the leather-wrapped lounge seats provide the perfect atmosphere for relaxing with friends ... or making new ones.

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An electric blue sign and a dark stairwell lead patrons below the street into this basement martini lounge. Soft orange and red lights cast shapes of cutouts onto the walls, creating a warm, sensuous vibe. Friends come with friends, and the atmosphere is genial and intimate. The small space and casual demeanor of Gracie's clientele make for a nice break from the frenzied dance club scene and the extensive martini menu gives plenty of opportunities for experimentation.

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For something a little different from the typical nightclub scene, stop by La Casa De La Habana. This cigar and martini lounge imports its own tobacco and hand rolls cigars that are put on display in the walk-in humidor. Anyone can enjoy their cigars in a luxe wood-paneled, leather-wrapped bar and smoking lounge, but members receive additional amenities: a private humidor, discounts on cigars and cigar samplings, to name a few.

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For decades now, Bert Dearing Jr.'s place has been a haven for jazz-lovers and folks who want to kick back to mellow tunes and big servings of soul food. Enjoy a weekend filled with practiced, heartfelt sounds in his much-loved establishment in Detroit's Eastern Market. Different nights focus on different themes, including Wednesday's blues night and Thursday's open mic night. You'll likely encounter a host of famous musicians and Motown singers in the mix. Join them in digging into an order of wings or ribs, and absorb the soulful ambience of one of Detroit's best live music venues.

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