Suzy’s Bar

Detroit, Michigan

Suzy's Bar - Detroit Hamtramck Dive Bar - Exterior

Field Rating

8

out of 10

Drinking in the shadow of the Mr. T Board Game can't be bad.

The Basics

2942 Evaline St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

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In Short

In a space that has served Detroit’s Hamtramck district as a local bar since at least the 1940s, Suzy’s Bar pairs a classic dive bar exterior with an absolutely explosion of vintage toys and tight colors within a floorplan only legally permitted to serve 42 individuals. Opaque glass blocks glow in a multi-color rainbow at night, a hint at the Marilyn Monroe, Geroge Jetson, Pee Wee Herman-filled space inside.

Field Note

The dive bar density found in Hamtramck, just north of downtown Detroit, is unmatched by any other corner of the city. Suzy’s Bar and others like it rose from the fertile ground of heavily trafficked portions of Detroit populated by decades of manufacturing prosperity. And while the days of Detroit’s manufacturing heritage have faded somewhat, dive bars like Suzy’s Bar endure thanks to a focus on regulars, locals and a truly authentic vibe.

Suzy’s Bar was opened in 1991 by owner, you guessed it, Sue “Suzy” Brickey. But the status of the Suzy’s Bar building as Detroit drinking hub extend well beyond its current incarnation. A previous stint as a bar named Rodic’s is predated by a run as Bristol Bar as early as the 1940s. The brick-laden building inhabited by Suzy’s Bar is easy to picture as a bustling, 40s-era dive, due in partial part to the opaque glass blocks that serve as the only source of light allowed inside.

...merchandise occasionally made available by the bar, including a noteworthy, bright red t-shirt inscribed with “Polish Girls Gone Wild.”

Located on the edge of Polish Village, Suzy’s Bar is part of a mini-explosion of likeminded stops that includes nearby Whiskey In The Jar and Baker Streetcar Bar. In keeping with local tradition, Suzy’s Bar has been known to participate in Paczki Day, a Polish celebration of Fat Tuesday marked with signature paczki pastries (that may or may not be injected with alcohol). The Detroit dive bar’s location also serves as foundation for merchandise occasionally made available by the bar, including a noteworthy, bright red t-shirt inscribed with “Polish Girls Gone Wild.”

Outside, a signature peace sign hangs above a row of glass blocks that glow in a multi-color rainbow burst at night. The lone window set into the bar’s front wall is filled by a bit of neon reading “Suzy’s” and a circus-style, black and white awning marks the bar’s front door. All that being said, the Suzy’s Bar exterior doesn’t exactly prepare for a first-time visitor for the décor inside almost exclusively populated by vintage toys ranging from framed board game boxes to a particularly prominent Pee Wee Herman doll.

The official capacity of Suzy’s Bar is only 42 people and the postage stamp-size floorplan is caked with decorations.

The dazzling array of paint colors and vintage toys can feel a bit overwhelming, especially during the winter months when Detroit’s color palette can feel a bit restricted. The official capacity of Suzy’s Bar is only 42 people and the postage stamp-size floorplan is caked with decorations, making the walls feel even more snug than they may be in reality. The previously mentioned board game collection is particularly noteworthy with gems like the Mr. T Board Game mixed with Charlie’s Angels, The Dukes of Hazard, Operation and more.

Unsurprisingly, the bar itself is compact with only a handful of stools available paired with a small selection of low tables filling out the rest of the Suzy’s Bar space. Aggressive and plentiful drink specials are dispensed from a cluttered space behind the bar (because of course it is), where a single television fights with George Jetson dolls and a Spuds Mackenzie statue for visual attention. Suzy’s Bar serves as a collection point for Detroit City FC soccer fans before, during and after games, again testing the Hamtramck dive bar’s tight confines.

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