By Lori Melton
If you’re looking to grab a drink in a historic setting or a hidden hole-in-the-wall with a ton of charm, Detroit boasts some pretty great landmark bars. Each of these quaint Motor City nightspots has distinct character and plenty of cocktail options. Check out our picks for Detroit’s most iconic bars below.
The Raven Lounge
5145 Chene St.
Detroit, MI 48211
Touted as “Detroit’s House of Blues,” The Raven Lounge in Poletown East is Michigan’s oldest social blues club. It has proudly offered live Blues and R&B entertainment longer than any theater, club, bar, or lounge across the entire state. It’s a dark little bar with great music, burgers and soul food at really reasonable prices. Live shows are Thursday to Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and there’s a $5 cover charge on Friday and Saturday.
4421 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
Housed in the “haunted” third floor of one of Detroit’s most historic landmarks-turned-fine-dining-establishment, the Whitney Mansion, the Ghost Bar is the perfect place to hang out after a midtown theater event or special occasion. It’s an upscale lounge in one of the oldest buildings in town. When the Whitney mansion was built on Woodward in 1890, the owner, David Whitney, was one of Michigan’s wealthiest citizens. Several original architectural elements remain in the 22,000 square foot structure. The upstairs is still rumored to be haunted, hence the name “Ghost Bar” was given to the bar. Live piano and vocalist entertainment plays nightly.
The Leland Club
400 Bagley Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
The Leland Club is inside The Leland, which originally opened in 1927 as the Detroit Leland Hotel. The landmark structure boasts an exciting history having been frequented by some notorious people including The Purple Gang and teamster Jimmy Hoffa. The bar is situated in the lobby which was restored to its original Italian Renaissance ambience. The bar is conveniently located within walking distance of the Fox Theatre, Detroit Opera House, Joe Louis Arena, Ford Field, and more. You can get a drink in the Grand Lobby and dance in the Grand Ballroom aka City Club.
Related: Best Tapas in Metro Detroit
Grand Trunk Pub
612 Woodward Ave.
This downtown Detroit fixture is also known as Foran’s Pub, or Foran’s Grand Trunk. The building housing the pub is 136 years old. It was originally a jewelry store then renovated and used by the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1911. It became a bar in 1935 and even though the current space serves craft cocktails and locally-sourced dishes, it remains one of Detroit’s oldest and most well-known bars.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
20510 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48221
Detroit’s landmark jazz club also bears the distinction of being “The World’s Oldest Jazz Club.” Iconic jazz artists including Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Cab Calloway and more have played at this certified Michigan Historic Site. Baker’s boasts a piano-shaped bar and the intimate club also has a long history of presenting local and major jazz acts.