Detroit’s Love of Libations
As noted in The Detroit News, in 1834 the city had one bar for every 13 families, and whiskey was so ubiquitous that grocers distilled their own.
So it comes as little surprise that Michigan was the first state to abolish Prohibition and the first state where you could legally drink again after the 21st Amendment was ratified. Today, Detroit’s love of libations lives on. Like the city’s artists, designers and technologists, entrepreneurs are shaking up the bar scene. Following is a short list of craft breweries, wine bars and micro-distilleries to explore in Detroit’s coolest neighborhoods.
Batch Brewing Company
This little brewery in Corktown uses Michigan ingredients to brew the 20 rotating beers on tap. The selection ranges from traditional, like Centennial Pils, a German-style pilsner, to the exotic Second to Last Word, a sour ale inspired by a Prohibition-era cocktail. Bonus: the freshly prepared bar food.
Eastern Market Brewing Co.
This craft brewery opened in 2017, reviving a tradition of brewing beer by the farmers market. You can enjoy IPAs like the flagship Elephant Juice and one-off, fruity kettle sours at the bar or a communal table. Plans are to expand the first floor and add a patio on the second.
House of Pure Vin
This stylish wine shop and tasting room in Downtown features many wines from Western Michigan’s 170 vineyards. A jazz brunch with wine pairing is offered on two Sundays a month.
Motor City Wine
This cozy wine bar in Corktown has a selection of wines by the bottle and glass, as well as artisan cheeses and charcuterie, live music most nights, and DJs spinning jazz records on Sundays.
Two James Spirits
Inside the first distillery to open in Detroit since Prohibition, a circular bar anchors the tasting room. Sample pours of whiskey—the limited 10-year aged Grass Widow is a whopping 114 proof cask strength—and the gin, rum, vodka and absinthe included in seasonal cocktails. Tours are offered Friday through Sunday.
Detroit City Distillery
This distillery in Eastern Market produces small-batch artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka using ingredients sourced from nearby farms. Original and classic cocktails and spirits flights are served in the tasting room.