(credit: Baker's Keyboard Lounge)

(credit: Baker’s Keyboard Lounge)

Detroit has a storied past, and its bars, lounges and taverns are no exception. From infamous jazz haunts to Prohibition-era speakeasies, Detroit’s historical bars have played a vital role in Detroit. Check out some favorite bars, all of which were important elements of the city throughout history and remain integral aspects of the city to this day.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
20510 Livernois Ave.
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 345-6300

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is the city’s oldest jazz club, some say oldest in the world, and known around the globe for featuring the best blues and jazz continuously since 1934. Notable musicians that have graced Baker’s stage include Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. Baker’s continues to showcase live music every evening, still providing the area with the talented acts that it has built its beyond solid reputation on. Although undergoing renovations to update the structure, the intimate setting retains its art deco charm; the curved bar that looks like a piano still remains.

The Anchor Bar
450 W. Fort St.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 964-9127

The Anchor Bar served as the home away from the office for a slew of writers, reporters and editors who spent their days crafting the news. They stepped into The Anchor after securing their bylines to chill and sometimes throw down in some heated discussions. It was also frequented by politicians, judges and cops who enjoyed hashing it out at The Anchor before calling it a day. This downtown neighborhood bar is a low-key spot with a mix of regulars, sports fans stopping by before catching the game and visitors to the fair city of Detroit.

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Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub
612 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-3043

Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub holds a firm position in Detroit history. Constructed in 1879, this building began as a jewelry store. Beginning in 1910, the space was used as a ticket station for the Grand Trunk Railroad. It was converted into a pub in 1935, and still retains some original design elements it had when it was originally built. There is a rumor floating around that Harry Houdini used the lower level as a magic shop. The pub is long and narrow, and just the spot for a great conversation with good friends, strangers or the friendly bartender.

The Ghost Bar
at The Whitney
4421 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-5700

The Ghost Bar is housed in one of Detroit’s most historic buildings, The Whitney. Built in 1894 as the home of one of Detroit’s wealthiest residents, David Whitney Jr., the building was designed by architect Gordon Lloyd and cost almost $23 million (converted to reflect today’s cost) to complete the home and interior. In 1986, the residence was converted into a restaurant – The Whitney. The Ghost Bar opened in 2007 and is located on the third floor of the revered restaurant. This contemporary lounge features live music in a chic setting and is named after the many sightings of David Whitney Jr.’s ghost that have occurred throughout the building.

PJ’s Lager House
1254 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-4668

PJ’s Lager House has music, and lots of it. The Lager House brings in musicians from across the country on a regular basis and features live music virtually every single night. It is known around town for its awesomely curated collection of under-the-radar artists that are worth listening to. It also served as a front during Prohibition days, pretending to be a furniture shop when in reality, it housed those wanting to partake in a stiff drink. After you have settled into your spot at the Lager House, ask someone to show you the remnants left over from the days when you needed a secret password to get in.

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After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.