Detroit Dive Bar Guide

Where Well-Earned Grit Breeds Dive Bars

Detroit’s dive bar credentials go without saying, the city’s prosperity bringing with it an explosion of businesses, some of which have withstood the shifting fortunes of the region. As Detroit enters another upswing, the light can return to some of the oldest dive bars in America, spots built on a prosperous blue collar workforce and the type of city pride that has only been further embedded in those who life in Detroit.

Detroit makes Prohibition-era dive bars feel almost commonplace, a host of the city’s offerings predating Prohibition by decades. Nancy Whiskey may be the most famous dive bar in the city, an Irish whiskey joint that at one point sold more Tullamore Dew than any bar in the country. It also happened to open in 1902. Or take Abick’s Bar, a labor of love across six generations of a single family who built, operate and own the space that dates back to 1907.

Dive bars a little closer to downtown have seen even wilder swings in neighborhood conditions, shifting between great early days, rough intermediate years and now gradual rebirth. The Cass Corridor just north of Detroit’s downtown core is one such area, area staples like Jumbo’s Bar, Temple Bar and maybe most famous of all, The Old Miami, creating a concentrated dive bar hub.

Offerings spiral out from there, including Gusoline Alley, a spot that has seen the first waves of redevelopment claim its storied jukebox and a few interior features. But as the city continues to restore its former glory, these types of tradeoffs can sometimes come to even long-running, historic dive bars. For a city that has seen its fair share of ups and downs, that may just be the price to pay for a more sustained period of “ups.”

Detroit Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Abick's Bar

Detroit's dive bar gem, one of the most beautiful interiors in the country.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Old Miami

The live music, veteran-friendly, wall-covered Cass Corridor classic Detroit dive bar.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Bronx Bar

Another Cass Corridor staple, this one with amazing neon and updated digs.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

LJ's Lounge

The perfect way to avoid, pregame or post-game the Corktown crowds.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Jumbo's Bar

Long green shoebox on a sparsely-developed street, just right for Detroit.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Temple Bar

The green tiles outside are faded but all are welcome at this 1927 classic.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Nancy Whiskey Pub

The oldest bar in the city and a bucket list dive bar to be seen once.
Review Rating: 7 of 10

Detroit Neighborhood Crawls

Cass Corridor

Bier Stube - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior
North of downtown Detroit sits a hub of dive bar activity that has withstood the shifting fortunes of the surrounding neighborhood.

Detroit Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Downtown

Tommy's Detroit Bar & Grill

624 3rd Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Google Map

Hamtramck

Suzy's Bar

2942 Evaline St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Google Map

Hamtramck

The Painted Lady Lounge

2930 Jacob St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Google Map

Hamtramck

Trixie's Bar

2656 Carpenter Ave
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Google Map

Hamtramck

Whiskey In The Jar

2741 Yemans St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Google Map

Nortown

Two Way Inn

17897 Mt Elliott St
Detroit, MI 48212
Google Map

Riverbend

My Dad's Bar

14911 Kercheval St
Detroit, MI 48215
Google Map

Royal Oak

Gusoline Alley

309 S Center St
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Google Map

Other Dive Bar Options

Baker Streetcar Bar

9817 Joseph Campau Ave
Hamtramck, MI 48212
Google Map

Café D'Mongo's Speakeasy

1439 Griswold St
Detroit, MI 48226
Google Map

Cas Bar

7800 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
Google Map

Casey's Bar

7677 Dix St
Detroit, MI 48209
Google Map

Charlie's Bar

1503 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209
Google Map

Checker Bar

124 Cadillac Square
Detroit, MI 48226
Google Map

Club FT

26061 Gratiot Ave
Roseville, MI 48066
Google Map

Danny's Irish Pub

22824 Woodward Ave
Ferndale, MI 48220
Google Map

Donovan's Pub

3003 Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216
Google Map

Duffy's Den

24800 W McNichols Rd
Detroit, MI 48219
Google Map

Freer Bar

7355 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48210
Google Map

Giovanna's Lounge

3537 W Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48216
Google Map

Goldie's Saloon

45330 Romeo Plank Rd
Macomb, MI 48044
Google Map

Greenwich Time Pub

130 Cadillac Square
Detroit, MI 48226
Google Map

Hilltop Bar

48214 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48317
Google Map

Kwicky Bar

4130 E 8 Mile Rd
Detroit, MI 48234
Google Map

Madison Club Bar

32275 Stephenson Hwy
Madison Heights, MI 48071
Google Map

Marshall's Bar

14716 E Jefferson
Detroit, MI 48215
Google Map

PJ's Lager House

1254 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Google Map

Ye Olde Tap Room

14915 Charlevoix St
Detroit, MI 48215
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

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