Northern Michigan Dive Bar Guide

Pure Great Lakes Dives

What better mixture than scenery, lakes and affordable domestic beer.
Painted Lady Lounge - Detroit Dive Bar - Interior
Pinehurst Inn

Those who haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Northern Michigan will have a hard time appreciating all that the area has to offer. Any trip further north than Ann Arbor weaves through small towns, dense forests, countless lakes and yes, more than one roadside dive bar. This patchwork of villages each with its own collection of local diner, local pub, local ice cream shop is well worth exploring.

For those lucky enough, those travels can sometimes wander by a place like Pinehurst Inn Bar & Grill, a faded, peeling, massive structure that houses maybe the best drinking experience in the region. The bar’s riverside location and ancient, sprawling interior are matched only by Pinehurst’s entertainment in the form of Alvis, the bar’s owner and local Elvis impersonator.

Northern Michigan has a tendency to funnel toward Mackinaw City and Keyhole Bar & Grill is the city’s best dive bar offering thanks to a relentless commitment to the lock & key theme. Keys can be found hanging above the bar, embedded in the counter and littered throughout the Mackinaw City dive bar’s walls, creating a much-needed divey oasis from what can otherwise feel like a very tourist-focused string of t-shirt vendors and taffy shops.

Introduce a dive bar or two into an exploration of Northern Michigan’s outdoor adventure options and beautiful natural scenery certainly seems sensible as a means of balancing out all that fresh air with a domestic beer or two. The options below provide excellent opportunities to casually “bump into” a beer (especially helpful on a family vacation).

Dive Bar Map

Our Northern Michigan Dive Bar Recommendations

While we’ve done our fair share of drinking, we haven’t yet hit every Northern Michigan Dive Bar. The recommendations below are sorted into tiers to help guide your choices depending on how much time you have to explore Northern Michigan. Where we’ve reviewed a location, a score is given.

SFG Reviews

We’ve been lucky enough to visit the locations below in Northern Michigan. Each location includes a full review and SFG score to help you decide on how to prioritize your travels.

Pinehurst Inn Bar & Grill

SFG Rating: 10 out of 10
The absolutely complete package of a Michigan dive bar.

Keyhole Bar & Grill

SFG Rating: 8 out of 10
Admirable is the dive bar so thoroughly dedicated to a theme.

Pub 27

SFG Rating: 8 out of 10
The biker dive at the end of, you guessed it, Highway 27.

Johnnie's Bar

SFG Rating: 7 out of 10
Pristine Great Lakes drinking surroundings on the edge of Michigan.

The Inn Between

SFG Rating: 6 out of 10
The sadly defunct Northern Michigan tiki outpost on the river.

SFG Recommendations

We have not yet been lucky enough to visit the Northern Michigan options below, but research, word of mouth and reader submissions have led us to recommend these must-visit options.

Beach's Up North Tavern

Home made chili in a semi-rural Michigan outpost.
Google Map

Clyde's Place

The "Sportsman's Choice" lives us to its cabin-style name.
Google Map

Ron's Bar & Backyard

Hard to beat the slogan of "Most American Bar in America"
Google Map

Other Options

Below you’ll find the truly deep cuts, gems in waiting that we have not yet been able to visit. Let us know if you find a particularly potent destination.

Bar Harbor

100 State St, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Google Map

Black Sheep

10392 N Straits Hwy, Cheboygan, MI 49721
Google Map

Brass Rail Bar & Grill

3494 S Straits Hwy, Indian River, MI 49749
Google Map

Riverside Bar & Grill

6262 East St, Alanson, MI 49706
Google Map

The Town House Bar

231 Bridge St, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Google Map

Thirsty's Bar

E 5790 US-23, Cheboygan, MI 49721
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

15 + 11 =