9 Dive Bars that’ll Give You a Sense of Place in Detroit

February 24, 2015  |   Story by Michelle Fusco  |   Photos by Nancy Whiskey, Nemo's, PJ's Lager House


Detroit’s Corktown, named for early Irish immigrants to the area, is the city’s oldest neighborhood, and fittingly offers a healthy assortment of “shot and a beer” establishments that qualify as dive bars in the most affectionate sense of the words.

Nancy Whiskey holds one of the oldest liquor licenses in the city (113 years!) and is famous for its Friday night fish fry.

You’ll find a cast of friendly regulars at Casey’s Pub.

Nemo’s is big on sports and offers a shuttle (an old, painted school bus, that is) to games and other major downtown events.

Choose PJs Lager House for live ‘n’ local music and a Cajun-inspired menu sprinkled with some unexpected vegetarian options.



Anchor Bar is family-owned and makes the dive list for its storied past (someone did write a book about that!), requisite pool table and dart board, internet juke box and Friday night back-room karaoke.

Cobo Joe’s is a favorite fan stop before and after hockey games due to its close proximity to Joe Louis Arena. If it’s your lucky night, you might even run into a Red Wings player celebrating a win.

Another sporty spot is Coaches Corner, near Comerica Park and Ford Field. Besides pool and darts, this place has a dance floor, photo booth, arcade games and an outdoor patio.


Eastern Market

Vivio’s welcomes everyone in historic Eastern Market, the place to go for Bloody Marys.



The Majestic entertainment complex includes a theater for live concerts, Majestic Café, pizzeria and deli, rooftop patio, billiards and the Garden Bowl — America’s oldest active bowling center. Good times at the Majestic!

Dimly lit? You bet. Sticky? Maybe. But Detroit’s dive bars are always easy-on-the-wallet, root-for-the-home team and come-as-you-are. Count me in!

Mentioned Attractions And Venues
  1. Nancy Whiskey
    2644 Harrison St., Detroit, MI 48216313-962-4247 Highlight on map | More Details
  2. PJ's Lager House
    1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-961-4668 Highlight on map | More Details
  3. Nemo's
    1384 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-965-9180 Highlight on map | More Details
  4. Anchor Bar Detroit
    450 W. Fort St., Detroit, MI 48226313-964-9127 Highlight on map | More Details
  5. Coaches Corner Bar & Grill
    220 Bagley Ave., Detroit, MI 48226313-963-4000 Highlight on map | More Details
  6. Vivio's Food & Spirits
    2460 Market St., Detroit, MI 48207313-393-1711 Highlight on map | More Details
  7. The Majestic Cafe
    4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-833-9700 Highlight on map | More Details
  8. The Majestic Theatre
    4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-833-9700 Highlight on map | More Details