Detroit is one of the world’s ultimate destinations for dive bars. When we wrote about Detroit dive bars a few years ago it launched a lot of attention on Detroit area dive bars. Most major websites jumped on board, and many of the places we have listed have seen many more patrons holding down their bar stools.
This was our second installment. The original was a big hit, and this list in another homage to many dive bars peppering Detroit.
We always like to remind our readers that the word “dive” does not mean “dump.” A dive bar is a place where the walls creak with history, the owners may live upstairs, and the patrons are seasoned drinkers. A fundamental aspect of a good dive, is definitely a jukebox. Somewhere to help you escape your worries, and not have to pay ridiculous prices for it.
Again, this a list of suggestions, places to explore Detroit, and meet some of the people who know the history you may not be able to read about anywhere else.
10093 W. 7 Mile Rd .Detroit, MI
You can’t help but holler out in joy when your car tires roll onto the crushed gravel behind Tom’s Tavern. This place is truly epic. A slanted floor, a true ‘dive bar junkie’ jukebox, ice cold beer from the floor cooler and a kitchen that wouldn’t look out of place in Breaking Bad. It’s been around for a long time and if you hang around late enough Ron will show you the recent attempts by hooligans to break in and steal their hooch.
The Stonehouse Bar
19803 Ralston St. Detroit, MI
No list discussing Detroit’s saloon options is complete without The Stonehouse. Carved out of an original farmhouse by the State Fairgrounds. The Stonehouse encapsulates the dive bar concept in a western outpost sort of way. Straight out of Tombstone, it was the haunt of the famous Prohibition era mobsters The Purple Gang, owned by a retired Detroit Detective and has been voted Michigan’s Best Biker Bar countless years in a row. Don’t let a throng of bikers drinking a Sunday away dissuade you from stopping in. It’s a friendly melting pot of people from the suburbs and the city.
3500 Gilbert St, Detroit, MI
A long and storied past intermingles with the warm air, cold beer and the smell of cigars lightly seeping out of their homemade cigar lounge. Great place to watch a game, tip back a highlife and unwind. A bar that has been proudly serving Detroit since 1907 and where Manya the 90 year old owner was born, worked and partied her entire life. If you play your cards right Debbie will let you have some cheetos and Manya will give you a hug on the way out. This place should be on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. As of this update, Manya has sadly passed. She will be missed by a lot of folks, but going to Abick’s and having a good time is a great way to say thanks.
The Motor City Sports Bar
9122 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck MI
Do not let the words “sports bar” fool you. This is not Buffalo Wild Wings. The beer is much cheaper and the food much better. This is a dive with televisions, not a sports bar. This place has dollar Labatts and Molsons on draft and damn near the best burger in Detroit. Also try the killer eastern european sausages called “Chevapis” served up with tomato salad and feta. Hold down a bar stool and quickly get lost in the dollar beers and digital juke box.
1503 Springwells, Detroit MI
Another Southwest Detroit bar that was left out before. This is a must stop on any tour of Southwest. Pool table, buckets of beer, televisions placed right into the woodwork behind the booze. Definitely a locals place, with super cool bartenders and cheap drinks. Our favorite feature: a defunct hot dog maker right below the projector TV. Excellent.
Midway Sports Bar & Grill
24080 Schoenherr Rd, Warren, MI
Some of the greatest dive bars come in box form. A brick and mortar approach that creates just enough space for a great time. The Midway Sports Bar & Grill in Warren, just outside of the city limits is a serious contender for best drink in the Metro Area. Iconic bartenders rife with wisdom are no strangers to a stiff drink. Ask for a shot and prepare to sip four inches of whiskey from a rocks glass. Beer is cold. Has all the bar games a patron can ask for. From Keno to pull tabs, to a great jukebox the Midway is a great stop before a night out, or a destination for a relaxing afternoon.
Sherry’s on Vernor
7631 W. Vernor Hwy Detroit, MI
Right across the street from the famous restaurant La Nuestra Familia in Southwest Detroit, Sherry’s on Vernor will not disappoint any dive bar aficionado. You can sit with the owner and hear every brand of Motor City tale, while the bartenders roll their eyes. So stop by and drain cheap beers, pour dollars into the jukebox or play a tune on the piano. If you are lucky you can saddle up next to the 90-year old lady who pushes her walker over to Sherry’s each afternoon for a couple of pitchers.
Whiskey In The Jar
2741 Yemans St. Hamtramck, MI
Mention dive Bars anywhere near Hamtramck and somebody will be advocating for this place. Indiscreet on the outside, warm and friendly on the inside, Whiskey in the Jar will win you over with it’s warm party time atmosphere. Drink for cheap, laugh at the bumper stickers covering the beer coolers, and soak up some of that crisp Motor City air while hanging out on the back patio.
7677 Dix St. Detroit, MI
Before we even finished explaining who we were the bartender opened a couple of High Lifes and said the next one was on her. A family atmosphere of regulars makes anyone feel instantly at home. You can play pool, catch a game on of their big TV’s or just relax and sip cold beers. A must do on the Southwest Detroit Gringo Trail.
Circa 1890 Saloon
5474 Cass Ave Detroit, MI
Although this bar is practically located in a Wayne State classroom this college dive bar has some great attributes. For one, it’s officially a “Saloon,” which is one of our favorite words. Try the homemade pizza. Everything here is decently priced and there are occasionally dollar PBRs.