Walking the sports bar / dive bar line as only Detroit can.
Sports bars are a familiar sight in a city that can be justifiably assumed to obsess over a set of local sports teams as steeped in history as any combination in the country. Bricktown neighborhood institution Detroiter Bar blends a classic sports bar vibe with divey elements in the heart of Detroit’s downtown corridor, making it a perfect launching pad for exploring the venues nearby no matter the time of year.
Self-proclaimed home of the “Best Burger in Detroit,” Detroiter Bar occupies a century-old brick building in the aptly named and attractive Bricktown district of Detroit. Detroiter Bar’s specific location is a bit hemmed in by the high-rise downtown buildings that surround it, but what is left is a classic, corner, neighborhood-focused spot that specializes in that timeless combination of meat and beer. The sign that lines the building is iconic, block lettering of “Detroiter” paired with a script “Bar” in stark white and red coloring.
The Detroit dive bar’s Greektown-adjacent location also explains the bar’s secondary name, Malaka’s, that can occasionally pop up when searching The Detroiter Bar online. Malaka is, naturally, Greek for “damn you” loosely translated, a fitting moniker for a dive bar in a city as no-nonsense as Detroit. Most attractively on the date of a live event or game nearby. Detroiter Bar operates a free shuttle (tip your driver) that transports patrons to and from their game of choice, largely focused on arena-based live events.
Detroiter Bar is cash only, so plan accordingly, but that sting is mitigated somewhat by a daily happy hour that runs 2 PM to 6 PM every weekday. Outside, the vibe is a classic one, the bar’s sign paired with deep red paint and black awnings over a long set of windows that runs the length of the bar. Not to be outdone by the vintage sign along the top of the building, multiple neon signs inscribed with “Detroiter Bar” can be found in nearly every bank of the bar’s exterior windows.
Inside, alcohol is dispensed from a center island that allows for free flowing traffic around the outside of the bar’s footprint. Though the reputation of The Detroiter Bar as a sports bar haven was certainly built on domestic beer, the number of taps has expanded over the years, now including a few local craft varieties. Illuminated liquor bottles hit all the right notes from their center island display and beer can or bottle selections can be found in a large fridge behind the bar.
Low tables and chairs mix with a few permanent pieces affixed to the interior brick walls of Detroiter Bar to complete the seating options here. Because most of the bar’s corner plot is lined with windows, wall space is a bit scarce by dive bar standards, providing less of a palette for random knick-knacks. Televisions fill in most of the available gaps in wall real estate, though beer mirrors and a massive, metal cut out of the Jaegermeister logo can be found lurking along the fringe of the space. A painted, ancient tin roof presides over all proceedings and metal bars add a bit of Detroit downtown character to The Detroiter’s numerous windows.