Detroit Local Bars, Neighborhood Bars and Dive Bars

Detroit is the city everyone loves to hate. No longer defined by recession, Detroit is rising from the ashes, attracting artists and musicians from around the country lured by cheap urban rents and an optimistic zeitgeist. Past manufacturing downturns and high gas prices only gave Detroiters a reason to sing the blues by suffusing the area with two great elements of social and musical manifestation— nostalgia and identity crisis. Local bars, watering holes, dance clubs and other cosmopolitan, drinking (and artistic) enclaves have a long history and are still going strong in Detroit. The following is selective list of favorite Detroit local bars including the best Detroit sports bar for a Red Wings game, the best Detroit dance club for Detroit techno and the best Detroit casino for easy slots, live music and Detroit local bands.
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2500 Club

2500 Park St., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.9077
2500 Club is your typical Detroit dive bar filled with twenty-somethings getting their heavy drink on, but we actually sort of like that; kid's have to prove themselves somewhere. Something that every dive bar needs, however, is some good hard core live music and 2500 Club fits the bill every weekend.

7 Brothers

11821 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.365.6576
It's easy to become a regular at 7 Brothers, a quintessential neighborhood bar in Hamtramck, metro Detroit's mecca of local, dive bars. The drinks are cheap, $1.25 PBR, and the bartender has been manning the wheel for a couple of decades. 7 Brothers is a favorite local hang out for a diverse crowd.


4265 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.833.1120
Voted as the best tequila bar, Agave feeds the local need for south of the border fare. Quickly becoming a busy neighborhood bar hangout, Agave, serves up excellent food in a good atmosphere and is so much better than spending time at your local Taco Bell, plus, last time we checked, the Bell didn't have any tequila.

Anchor Bar & Grill

450 W. Fort St., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.964.9127
Anchor Bar & Grill is everything you could want in a neighborhood bar, excellent food, quality drinks, and a comfortable atmosphere with a slew of regulars that will make it feel as though you've been drinking there for years. Sports fans, newsmen, business pros, and local denizens rub elbows while enjoying the traditional pub fare and true local bar feel.

Artie's Locker Room

3141 Caniff, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.893.8088
Is there a better city for neighborhood bars than Hamtramck? Artie's Locker Room keeps up that great Hamtramck tradition of providing locals with a place to bend their elbows in a familiar setting that's not your couch.

Baker's Streetcar Lounge

9817 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.873.8296
Baker's Streetcar Lounge is a local Hamtramck bar that not only caters to the neighborhoods drinking needs, but also serves up occasional live music.

Belmont Bar

10215 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.871.1966
A great place to toss a few back with friends, the Belmont Bar, makes everyone feel welcome and comfortable, exactly as a neighborhood bar should. Whatever your fancy is, dancing, pool, er, drinking the Belmont bar is the spot to hang with the locals.

Bronx Bar

4476 Second Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.832.8464
The Bronx Bar is everything you'd expect from a local Detroit dive bar, cheap drinks, no bands, no frilly cocktails, and a slew of local characters that preside over the bar like its a courtroom. Later in the evening, the jukebox kicks into overdrive, the pours become better(as if that's possible), and the Bronx Bar gets pretty raucous.

Cadieux Cafe

4300 Cadieux, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.882.8560
There's a unique European flavor to this neighborhood bar, in fact the Old World feel abounds at the Cadieux Cafe. A host of regulars call this local bar and restaurant home, it's a great place for seafood or to just hang with some friends.

Carriage House

24200 Grand River, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.535.3440
The Carriage House is a definitive live music Detroit Blues Club, the large capacity bar hosts some great Blues talent with open jam sessions a couple times a week and plenty of other entertainment such as billiards and darts, a great jukebox keeps the Blues rocking at the Carriage House.

Chicks Bar

18550 W. Warren, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.441.6055
Chicks Bar is an old time neighborhood bar that's not just for the neighborhood locals. It's the type of place your Dad used to tell you about, where everyone feels right at home and nobody minds if you let it all hang out. So far as local bars go, Chicks Bar has some tremendous food, especially if you go on Fridays (fish fry) or Sundays, which puts out a whole Polish spread.

Circa 1890 Saloon

5474 Cass Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.831.1122
A favorite local bar of Wayne State University students and faculty, Circa 1890 Saloon, has excellent food and good drinks at reasonable prices; why else would cash strapped collegians make this their neighborhood bar? Circa 1890 offers daily drink specials, billiards, darts, and other entertainment to help take your mind of that econ exam you just failed.

Comet Bar

128 Henry, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.964.1508
Comet Bar, a neighborhood bar located near the ballpark in Downtown Detroit, offers up great pub grub and excellent drinks with that true local bar flair. Check out Comet Bar during the summer and receive a few surprises that aren't part of your normal neighborhood bar amenities, more like your backyard ones; you can enjoy a game of volleyball or throw some horseshoes to pass the time, now how cool is that?

Danny's Irish Pub

22824 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.546.8331
Sporting the best Irish tap beer, but you could have guessed that, right? Danny's Irish Pub is exactly what you'd expect a neighborhood bar to be, laid back, comfortable, and a great place to bend your elbow. Many regulars sneak away a few hours at this local bar, but you don't have to be a regular to hang out here, Danny's makes everyone feel welcome and, really, that's what a neighborhood bar is all about.

Doc Z's Tavern

2764 Florian Ave., Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.875.3627
If you've checked out some other spots here, then you already know that Hamtramck is a neighborhood bar paradise and Doc Z's Tavern fits the mold perfectly with loyal regulars and good drinks.

Duggan's Irish Pub

31501 N. Woodward, Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.549.3659
A great place for that "business" lunch, Duggan's Irish Pub is an always packed neighborhood bar that serves something for everyone's palate. Also, there's an upstairs deck where you can sip on a Guinness and watch the world go by.

El-Capri Lounge

1673 E. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.923.3803
A very friendly neighborhood bar, at El-Capri Lounge the minute you walk through the door, you become a regular, spend a few nights there and they'll probably be naming a drink after you. DJ's spin every night at the El-Capri and it just isn't your standard club fare; that simply wouldn't work in a neighborhood bar. No, the music choices vary, but they're always good and the atmosphere is always fun.


525 Monroe, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.8193
The Exodus is a little neighborhood bar in Detroit that caters mostly to college students, serving decent food and drinks. For a quick sobering during those late night study sessions, Exodus also offers specialty coffee, we're not sure if they'll give you an Irish latte, though.

Foran's Irish Pub

612 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.961.3043
Foran's Irish Pub, like many things in Detroit, feels as if it has always been and will always be there. An old standby neighborhood bar, Foran's, is a favorite hangout of the City Hall gang, being its just a block away, but politicos aren't the only regulars. Stop on by and grab a beer and some grub before a night out in Downtown.

Four Green Fields

30919 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.288.2088
Probably the best place for a reunion with the old gang, Four Green Fields is a neighborhood bar that's not just for the neighborhood. Sporting that hard to beat Irish charm coupled with an endlessly packed bar is really what gives Four Green Fields its lasting spirit. Pop down a few drams of whiskey and join in a drunken sing along; you know that stuff is required at Irish bars.

Freer Bar

7355 Michigan Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.842.9336
Freer Bar is a no frills neighborhood bar that's never gotten away from its roots. You can visit and become anonymous, drinking in solitude, or join the crowd and tip a few back with your new family.

Gaelic League

2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.964.8700
Why is it that most neighborhood bars are also Irish bars? We really don't care as long as we can always find them. The Gaelic League is a straightforward neighborhood bar that doesn't aspire to be anything more; and really, why would it?

Gusoline Alley

308 S. Center, Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.545.2235
Hands down one of the best local dive bars ever, seriously we love this place and have spent many a day and night there. Gusoline Alley is a mainstay on "best of" lists, the drinks are heavy and cheap (try to "drink the wall" as we used to call it), the atmosphere is retro cool without trying to be, and the jukebox has the best selection in town playing everything from Waylon Jennings, to Patsy Cline, to The Sex Pistols, and Gus's is always packed. We don't know if they still have them, but when we used to spend frigid Detroit mornings there, when the snow was six feet high, after more than a few shots, we used to dare each other to eat a pickled egg from the jar in the display case; now that's good clean dive bar fun.

Holbrook Cafe

3201 Holbrook, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.874.1965
The Holbrook Cafe is a favorite local bar that is also one of the largest places to see local live music. The Holbrook cafe is the epicenter of the live music universe during the Hamtramck Blowout music festival, but that doesn't need to be happening for this local bar to be packed.

Honest John's Bar and No Grill

488 Selden, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.832.5646
A great little local bar in the tavern style, Honest John's Bar and No Grill, contrary to the name, does indeed serve food and the prices are cheap. The beer and spirit selection is good and the atmosphere makes you feel as though you've been going there for years. Also, the bar's owner, is somewhat of a hero in the local charity community, he's raised nearly a million dollars for local charities. This spot is a local bar gem and it should make you feel good that your money is going toward something other than the destruction of your liver.

Ivanhoe Cafe-Polish Yacht Club

5249 Joseph Campau, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.925.5335
If you feel like time traveling, seriously the bar has been there for nearly a century, head on down to the Ivanhoe Cafe, the neighborhood bar that has took the best that Detroit could dish out and is still standing. With a loyal following that could probably tell you the history of Detroit better than the Chamber of Commerce, the Ivanhoe Cafe embodies what's great about local bars and come hungry because the food is amazing, and endless.

Jacoby's German Biergarten

624 Brush St., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.7067
An old style German Biergarten and favorite of locals, Jacoby's appeals to everyone. It offers the comforts of a dimly lit local bar and traditional German fare, with a simply phenomenal live music scene. Also, when many music acts tour Detroit and they want to down a few in a true local bar, they call Jacoby's home.

Jimmy's East End Pub

13200 E. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.372.0700
A great local bar that has a phenomenal burger, Jimmy's Est End Pub plays host to loyal regulars and wanna be rock stars, with two nights of karaoke. Real rockers play there as well at an open jam night. The drinking is good and seriously, the eating is better (a consistent pattern at a lot of local bars) with food available almost to closing time because Jimmy's wants to send you out into that cold Detroit night with a full belly.

L J's Lounge

2411 Micigan Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.0013
L J's Lounge is a neighborhood bar that takes it up a level with some cool DJ stylings on Wednesday nights and there's a billiards table to occupy your time between drinks.

Maggie's Irish Pub

13009-11 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.526.1006
A truly authentic local Irish bar, Maggie's, is a home away from home for many regulars, including many Police Clubs so you'll always feel safe. This quiet, comfortable neighborhood bar is a great place to sit and think, drink, play darts (traditional mind you), and spend the day without leaving your backyard.

Motor City

465 Schaefer, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.297.9858
A partying local bar for the younger set, Motor City, also serves good food late into the night and has live music to keep the crowds entertained.

Motor City Brewing Works

470 W. Canfield, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.832.2700
A great place to hang out with real people drinking real beer, Motor City Brewing Works, is a local bar that feels like your own house; if you lived with a brewer that made excellent hand crafted microbrews. Seriously, Motor City Brewing Works is a favorite of local bar goers who want to remain low key and indulge in what a bar should be.

New Way Bar

23130 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.541.9870
Don't let the name fool you, the New Way Bar has been around forever serving the local bar needs of Fernadale. Regulars are from all walks of life, but all share the same unpretentious attitude, the drinks are poured well and you can even catch a local band at the New way Bar some nights.

Norwalk Bar

9607 Conant, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.872.8923
Any drinker worth their salt shouldn't skip the Norwalk Bar, a classic neighborhood dive bar in Hamtramck, metro Detroit's nexus of great dive bars. The drinks are cheap, dirt cheap and Eddie, the owner for over sixty years, has a laizze faire attitude toward customer service, but give him time, this dive bar is a classic. if you're an impatient bar goer, go hit a club and chat on your cell phone about how good all of you look.

O'Halloran's Tipperary Pub

8287 Southfield Rd., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.271.5870
O'halloran's Tipperary Pub, a neighborhood bar that is Irish to its core, offers up its loyal contingent of regulars traditional Irish live music on the weekends and well priced libations everyday.

Old Miami

3930 Cass, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.831.3830
The Old Miami is a must see neighborhood dive bar for anyone visiting Detroit. It was established in 1975 as a place for Vietnam Veterans and still sports some very cool military memorabilia on its walls. Amenities that not many neighborhood bars have include a fireplace (Detroit gets down right frigid in the winter), couches, and a backyard. That's right a backyard, complete with porch and a stage where you can catch up and coming live music, mostly from Detroit's punk set; now what more could you want in a dive bar? We'll tell you; nothing.

Outer Limits Bar

5507 Caniff, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.368.8192
Another dive bar in Hamtramck (imagine that) with all the classic dive bar trappings that continually make them so appealing to drink in. However, the Outer Limits Bar, is situated right next to a wedding chapel in case you don't sober up in time to realize the person you've been having drinks with all night long isn't "the one."

Pulse Detroit

156 Monroe, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.420.0313
Pulse is an upscale cocktail lounge catering to Detroit's hip set, but with a relaxed atmosphere despite its sophistication. Not exactly what you think of when you say neighborhood bar, Pulse, however, is quickly becoming a regular hot spot to many locals that are looking for a more mature setting than a local beer joint.

Ramp Room

6439 John C. Lodge, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.873.3290
The Ramp Room is a beautiful collision of neighborhood bar and classic Detroit diner. The food is very inexpensive and there's plenty of it, and the drinks are in a similar price range. Really an enjoyable local bar and just a great place to hang out.

Rock on 3rd

112 E. Third, Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.542.7625
In a town that is quickly becoming a trendy spot to party in, it's good to see that the Rock on 3rd remains just a simple neighborhood bar that provides all of the comforts you'd expect. Also the Rock offers a great happy hour and live music on some nights; plop down on a bar stool, grab a beer, eat a burger, and enjoy a special local bar.

Rosie O'Grady's

175 W. Troy, Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.591.9163
Recently added to the coveted "best of" list for a neighborhood bar, Rosie O'Grady's makes it a point to reward those that have rewarded her. Nestled in Ferndale, it's a great local bar to hang with friends and enjoy some food, also Rosie's serves up a host of live entertainment from local music acts, to karaoke, to DJ's.


112 S. Main, Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.546.0606
Rumors has been a Royal Oak neighborhood bar staple for years and we've sat at the upstairs patio bar more summer nights than we care to count. Always featuring live music and fun is what has kept Rumors perpetually in the middle of the local bar scene.

Sherry's on Vernor

7631 W. Vernor, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.841.0670
Sherry's is a great local bar to hang out in, listen to always free live music on the weekends, and bend your elbow with new friends and old. Usually Sherry, the proprietor of this fine establishment, will come on over and chat with for a while until the next regular comes in; now that's local bar flair.


10339 Conant, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.873.1117
With the laid back retro cool style that metro Detroit Local Bars are known for, Small's is a dimly lit paradise to meet people for a few rounds. If you take someone there on a first date, Small's, will automatically transport you to ultra hip status.

Sneakers Pub

22628 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.545.8243
a very comfortable neighborhood sports bar, Sneakers Pub, plays host to a slew of regulars and also sponsors them in local sports leagues. The drinks flow and the usual pub fare gets the job done, exactly what you want out of a neighborhood bar. Stop on by for a softball tournament celebration and try to recapture your glory days.

Stonehouse Bar & Grill

19803 Ralston, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.892.0125
Billed as Detroit's oldest standing bar, the Stonehouse Bar & Grill, is a true neighborhood bar. Business professionals sit side by side with local twenty somethings and out-of-towners,throw in a good smattering of neighborhood tetotallers and you've got nothing but classic Detroit flavor.

Sweetwater's Tavern

400 E. Congress, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.2210
Sweetwater's Tavern is an historic neighborhood bar and a one of the best places to get barbecue in the city of Detroit. Pop on in for a brew and it will be your loss if you don't get a sizzling plate of their famous chicken wings.

The Lager House

1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.961.4668
The Lager House is really one of the best local bars in any city, and to say that in Detroit is really a heavy endorsement. A very comfortable place to knock a few back, The Lager House, also features completely independent local live music acts. Check it out on a busy St. Patty's Day, or heck, any day for that matter, and you'll see why The Lager House is a mainstay of the local bar scene.

Third Street Saloon

701 W. Forest, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.831.3434
As far as neighborhood bars go, it's hard to beat the Third Street Saloon, which offers over 50 beers. You can suck down everything from cheap domestics to pricey imports and, as an added bonus, Third Street Saloon has the longest running happy hour (seriously 11am-9pm) of any local dive bar. And if all this isn't enough to get you off your can and check out Third Street, they have live music four nights a week. The crowd is classic Detroit diversity, everybody from hippies to business professionals call this local bar home.

Tom's Oyster Bar

318 S. Main, Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.541.1186
One of the best neighborhood bars to start and end an evening, Tom's serves excellent food and drinks, and even though its always packed, the bartenders make you feel as if you're the only one there. After we've been gone a while, we always go back to Tom's and the bartenders still remember our names, a tremendous neighborhood bar perk. A word to the wise: if you're there at closing time and Frank is behind the bar, watch out for the last call fireball.

Union Street

4145 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.831.3965
Sporting a classic interior and classic neighborhood bar charm has helped Union Street build a strong reputation as a Detroit landmark. Throw in a sumptuous, wide ranging menu that is offered until 1am and a staggering beer and spirit selection, and it's easy to see why Union Street is the neighborhood bar that many regulars call home, and many newcomers come back to.

Village Idiot Pub

15425 Mack, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.884.1111
The Village Idiot Pub, a supreme dive bar where if we take the name literally encourages you to get stupid drunk, boasts the best happy hour in Detroit, it runs until ten so there's no need to rush over after a hard day at the salt mines and believe us the pours are fat. Also, this dive bar continues a great tradition in the city of Detroit, hosting live music. Most nights you can catch hot local Detroit talent pounding out the heavy chords on the stage. Awesome happy hour and live music; you're still home why? Don't answer that, it's rhetorical.


2140 Hilton, Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.545.5861
You can certainly show up alone to this neighborhood bar because by the time you get set to leave you will have made a slew of new friends. Yep, Warrilow's is that kind of neighborhood bar. A come as you are, comfortable attitude, friendly service and patrons, and above average drinks and food have made Warrilow's a Ferndale mainstay since 1955.

Whiskey in the Jar

2741 Yemans, Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.873.4154
The epitome of the neighborhood bar, one trip to Whiskey in the Jar and you'll be on a first name basis with the bartender. Small, relaxing and comfortable, Whiskey has a great selection of libations and the prices would have been cheap two decades ago. This neighborhood bar seems to invite conversation and you can usually catch history from any of the many regulars.

Wimpy's Bar and Grill

16543 E. Warren, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.881.5857
Wimpy's Bar and Grill keeps that great Detroit neighborhood bar tradition alive by being exactly what you'd expect from a place that your Dad probably tossed a few back in. Good drinks and decent grub are the staple.

Woodward Avenue Brewers

22646 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.546.3696
Woodward Avenue Brewers is a neighborhood bar with style to spare, not to mention the awesome hand crafted microbrews that are updated regularly to fit the tastes of the season. Now mix that with an eclectic menu that is not your everyday bar menu (this stuff is actually healthy and good for you) and daily drink specials and you've got a neighborhood bar that is fast becoming a staple for many locals.

Ye Olde Tap Room

14915 Charlevoix, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.824.1030
With the largest beer selection we could find in Detroit, Ye Olde Tap Room, has to be one of our top picks for a neighborhood bar in any city. We mean how can you say anything bad about a local bar that has over 250 beers, that's not a typo, over 250 beers, and heavy pours of all of your favorite spirits. Ye Olde Tap Room also serves food, but come on what would you need that for when beer is practically liquid bread?
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—Detroit bar and club reviews by Ryan Osterbeck