DETROIT'S NIGHTLIFE VIBES
No visit to Detroit is complete without a night out on the town. Whether your vibe is dive bars, music lounges, swanky cocktail bars or trying your hand at the slots the nightlife vibes in Detroit are like no other. Here, the spirit and energy of Detroit shines through its unique spaces, pop up events, music scene and password required for entry bars.
This brief, yet rich guide to the city for when the sun goes down and the happy hours end, will give you a peek into some of the hotspots and Detroit-centric spaces to experience an authentic and unbridled night in Detroit.
HOTSPOTS WITH VIBES & VIEWS…
Meet, Sip, Party, Repeat: Unique Nightlife & Dining Venues
In Detroit, the range of places to meet up with friends, old and new or explore solo, are limitless. All year long, city night life evolves with the seasons to consistently offer enticing and one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences. Summertime? Try a rooftop party, live music at Campus Martius or hop on HandleBar Detroit. Winter? Pregame at one of the many cocktail lounges and catch intimate live music or burlesque performance at one of our restaurants or music parlors.
Here’s a few of our recommended spots to check out:
The architecture in Detroit is world-famous for its preservation of the original design with contemporary updates. As the ‘Paris of the West,’ what better way to enjoy our buildings than to offer a space to dance and take in the city skyline.
3Fifty Terrace at the Music Hall
With views of downtown and our major sports arenas, the city lights up in a whole new way when you take it all in from here. This stunning space is not only ideal to get your boogie on, on certain days of the week, join Detroiters for a sunset yoga session.
Located atop of the Element Hotel, this classy rooftop offers breath-taking 360 views of the city. The Monarch Club features a bar, four outdoor patios, VIP seating and more for a night of sophisticated, yet authentic Detroit rooftop experience.
Serving some of the best cocktails in the city, Delmar, in the Greektown neighborhood, provides one of the most unique vibes in the city. When you walk off the elevator, you’re transported to a rooftop oasis that makes you forget that you’re in the middle of a major city.
Level 2 Rooftop Bar
If you’re looking for a restaurant, bar and rooftop venue in one, this is the place to be. Level 2 is a popular spot for Detroiters and visitors alike, especially because it’s smack-dab in the middle of the exciting area Greektown.
Fun fact: You can take the People Mover to Greektown from other parts of downtown Detroit!
Tin Roof Detroit
Looking for a spot to catch live music and an easy place to meet up after a Tigers game? Tin Roof is a place that visitors and locals alike come to grab a few brews and hang out to soak up the nightlife vibes.
The ideal pregame scene for any night of the week, patios in Detroit provide three important experiences. People watching, drink specials and locals recommending your next stop, make patios a staple in the nightlife scene here.
Serving up the best mojito’s in town, Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine is not only a great place to enjoy an authentic Cuban meal, if you’re looking to show off your salsa moves, this is the place to be. Whether you’re enjoying the live entertainment inside or soaking up the best of both worlds from the patio, Vicente’s is at the top of every list to visit.
Nestled in the downtown’s entertainment district, Queen’s Bar, has a patio that sits on the corner with toe-tapping and finger snapping music, unique cocktails and tasty bites for anyone’s indulgence. If you’re looking to connect with Detroiters and to be in the middle of the excitement, Queen’s is an all night long vibe.
Situated in the popular arts and entertainment alley, the Belt, this open air patio restaurant and bar is a permanent fixture on everyone’s nightlife list in Detroit. Every night feels like a party night at the Skip. Whether you’re enjoying a drink on the patio or inside, the party always gravitates here.
A nice mix of dive bar and outdoor patio party, Old Miami has something for everyone. This legendary bar has live entertainment, classic bar games, vintage arcade games and a large patio in the back with even more to do. If you’re looking to relax with a beer, meet a generational mix of locals and experience up and coming artists from Detroit, this is the place to be.
With all the posh vibes, this restaurant/bar offers world-class dining, a beautiful bar, and most importantly an intimate and curated patio space in the back. Grab a cocktail while you’re waiting for your table and experience the magic of the vibey music, bistro lighting and murals. Start your night off right in this midtown spot and ready yourself for what else the night will bring.
PASSWORD PROTECTED BARS & SPEAKEASIES
Detroit was pivotal to the bootlegging industry during prohibition due to the close proximity to Canada. Out of prohibition, the “speakeasy,”- secret bars where people drank illegal alcohol during the ban, were born. Often camouflaged and hard to enter, speakeasies had a distinct secret society feel to them. 100 years later, several bars remain that were speakeasies back in the 20s. Not to mention, some of the speakeasies are so historic, they’re thought to be haunted as well.
Bad Luck Bar
Detroit’s Bad Luck Bar is both an experiential and an experimental craft cocktail bar. Even pre-COVID, the bar was by reservation only. This ensures an intimate, but also somewhat spooky atmosphere. There are Illuminati signs, watchful eyes, and hexagon-shaped tables throughout, maintaining the somewhat mystical and superstitious feel of the bar.
Ghost Bar at the Whitney
The Whitney doesn’t try to hide its haunted past, especially when it comes to the famous third-floor Ghost Bar. An early 1900s lumber baron, David Whitney and his first wife are said to still settle their differences around the historic home – and you can grab a drink in the midst of it! The Ghost Bar capitalizes on these haunted tales – not just through its name, but through some of its specialty cocktails (like the “Witching Hour”).
Nancy Whiskey Pub
Established in 1902, Nancy Whiskey Pub is one of the oldest bars in Detroit. Located in Corktown, Nancy Whiskey still serves up a free shot of Tullamore Dew to anyone who is in the bar for their very first time.
RAISE A GLASS…OR TWO!
In Detroit, it’s all about the libations! Enjoy our legendary beer culture, creative cocktails, growing wine scene, perfume-inspired drinks, and more. The variety of beverage options and Detroit vibes are endless.
Enjoy Atwater Brewery Tap House, an American and German-inspired pub fare along with hand-crafted beers, wines, and Atwater Spirits. Take in the atmosphere while playing one of the many board games available in the cozy taproom or relax on the exclusive rooftop Biergarten. Offering private spaces, brew tours, and a brewing warehouse for special events.
A Detroit original and the world’s first 16-passenger Pedal Pub, the HandleBar, is a 10 pedal pubs with electric assist. Taste local craft brews, and pedal throughout the city while rocking out to a custom playlist. This VIP experience is perfect for any night of the week, your next office outing, birthday/bachelorette party or any other excuse you can think up!
The Brakeman is Shinola Hotel’s casual food experience. Designed and inspired by European beer halls, it features beer tap tables, dozens of rotating craft beers as well as classic craft spirits. The restaurant, Penny Red’s, was designed with garage doors that can open in warmer months to both Parker’s Alley retail and Farmer Street, creating a gorgeous indoor/outdoor space for shopping, sipping and strolling.
PJ’s Lager House
PJ’s features the best of Detroit rock-n-roll culture, showcasing a large selection of beer and a full bar. Live music starts around 10 p.m. The kitchen offers house-made American fare, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Castalia at Sfumato
Ever wondered what happens when you inject fragrance aromas in a cocktail? People love it! Owners realized how much they enjoyed giving their Detroit signature scents the sniff test while they sip a cocktail so much that they opened a cozy storefront in Midtown, a perfumery by day — Sfumato Fragrances — and a cocktail lounge by night — Castalia Cocktails.
Featuring local food and a variety of special bourbon and whiskey drinks in a rustic, dark mahogany atmosphere. Go down the concrete stairs wrapped in tiled walls and wooden railings to Whiskey Disco, and dance to top electronic music artists in the world.
Motor City Wine
This fun wine bar and wine shop offers regional wines, sharable plates, live entertainment and wine tasting events.
Here, wine is the priority and the award-winning food is right behind it. In Detroit’s Harmony Park, Vertical is a great space for enjoying quality wine, beer and liquor paired with small plates in a classic, cool atmosphere.
Looking for an intimate place to turn up the pinky? The Siren hotel’s cocktail lounge is one of America’s most lauded. Tucked away beyond the espresso bar and swanky gift shop, the Candy Bar, hatched under its candy pink ceiling, features classic cocktails and one-of-a-kind proprietary creations.
A contemporary take on a comfortable, classic hotel bar, this Shinola Hotel lounge is incredibly popular among Detroiters and sought after by visitors. Hand picked local mixologists offer a seasonal cocktail menu emphasizing artisanal distilleries, organic fruit and vegetable extracts and a studied approach to classic recipes.
Detroit City Distillery
Curated small-batch artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka created from the finest local ingredients sourced directly from local farms and tasting room located in Detroit’s famed Eastern Market.
This intimate live music venue hosts a wide array of acts in a warmly decorated space that offers an upstairs lounge.
A LITTLE BIT LOUDER NOW!
If you don’t know anything else about Detroit, you know that we are creators.
Rusted Crow is a Detroit distillery serving some of the best burgers, cocktails, and live music in the city. Come here to catch some of the hottest up-and-coming local acts every week!
Willis Show Bar
This iconic venue features a gorgeous Art Moderne style that centers around a stage and dance floor, visible from every seat in the house. DJs, comedians, cabaret performers, and more come from all over to provide engaging entertainment every Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are a must at Willis Show Bar, so be sure that you plan in advance.
Third Man Records
November 2015, Detroit native and lead singer for the White Stripes, Jack White, opened up the second retail and venue space in the Case Corridor. A record store, novelties lounge, in-store performance stage, record booth, and vinyl record pressing plant, which can be witnessed in action through viewing windows in the store, pressing the very records available for purchase. Talk about an immersive musical experience!
Fun Fact: Techno and the Motown sound were created in Detroit.
El Club is an all-ages music venue in Southwest Detroit and one loved and frequented by locals. Offering an outdoor patio, live performances from local and international artists.
One of the oldest jazz clubs in Detroit, Cliff Bell’s is a great place to enjoy live acts. Winner of several awards for “best jazz club in Detroit,” Cliff Bell’s is a favorite. Check out their website for upcoming performances and to make reservations.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
The Historic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, is the oldest Jazz club in the world! Come here to be a part of history where Jazz, great times and great food are combined for a unique experience. Take a trip back in time and enjoy the legendary Jazz vibes!
Pizza and cocktails? Yes, please! Order some delicious liquid courage such as the “Horse’s Neck” (bourbon, ginger beer, and lime), or the “Paper Airplane” (whiskey, lemon, Amaro Montenegro, and Aperol) and sign up to be next on the list of excited karaoke singers.
For indie rock music, UFO Factory in the Corktown neighborhood is a key destination. With a variety of music and art shows, this low-key venue is a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. Most importantly, aspirational karaoke singers flock to this venue for all the rockstar vibes.
Pop + Offworld
When the powers of the Grand Trunk Pub, Whisky Parlor, Checker Bar, and POP combined with Offworld Arcade, another authentic Detroit experience called POP + OFFWORLD was born. Located in the newly renovated space upstairs from the Checker Bar, POP + OFFWORLD features creative New York style pizza, a full bar, live entertainment, karaoke and an immersive arcade experience seven days a week.
A Detroit nightlife staple, that’s been around for over 25 years. Generally, it caters more to the Gen Xers and baby boomers crowd who made the club popular. However, Tuesday nights, is a regular gathering spot for millennials. They have a great late-night happy hour from like 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., karaoke and walking distance to the Greektown neighborhood, where you can keep the party going, Flood’s never disappoints.
Sid’s Gold Request Room
Some say life’s like a piano, what you get out of it depends on how you play it. Sid’s Gold Request Room and Piano Bar is the latest snazzy joint to arrive to Detroit and it’s a hit! Sharing its iconic status with us from New York, Sid’s is where you’ll enjoy a burlesque show or good old piano karaoke.
Aretha Franklin Amphitheater
Chene Park is home to one of Detroit’s the most exciting concert spaces around. This unique waterfront, open-air venue is the epicenter of live entertainment in the summer for metropolitan Detroit.
Serving views of the city, water and Canada, and named for the late U.S. Sen. Philip A. Hart, this Isamu Noguchi-designed plaza, is where summer-long riverfront festivals like, Motor City Pride, Movement and the Ford Detroit International Jazz Festival all come to move crowds
The unofficial meet up spot in Detroit, Campus Martius Park hosts Detroit’s annual tree lighting ceremony every year, summer concert series, interactive art installations and pop-ups, food trucks and more has made this space the true center of Detroit in every sense.
Located in the heart of Detroit’s Entertainment District, The Fillmore Detroit will make you and your guests feel like a rock star in Motown. Both classic and cutting edge, The Fillmore Detroit is the perfect location to see your favorite band or to host your corporate event, fundraiser, private concert, wedding, reception or business meeting.
Constructed in 1928 in the tradition of great movie palaces, the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Detroit hosts a variety of events, including Broadways shows, drama, comedy and concerts.
Music fans and concert addicts might feel nostalgic of their youth when entering St. Andrew’s Hall, which has hosted thousands of musical performances over the years. Originally home to the Scottish Society of Detroit, this iconic music venue is located close to the Detroit River, Greektown, and TCF Center.
Opening in 1915 as the largest theatre in the world of its kind, The Majestic Theatre has been the site of memorable concerts from touring artists such as The Black Keys, George Clinton, Black Eyed Peas, Flaming Lips, Wilco, Sheryl Crow and more.
Movement Electronic Music Festival
Internationally recognized music marathon that delivers three days and three nights of non-stop performances from over 100 artists across five stages.
Rivaling the famed New Orleans Jazz Festival, the Detroit Jazz Fest welcomes over 250,000 jazz lovers to the waterfront each year. For four days, six stages of the world’s best jazz, blues and soul come to showcase their music. Best part, it’s free to attend!
Motor City Pride
Detroit takes its pride celebrations seriously, and is home to the largest pride celebration in Michigan, with over 40,000 participants showing their pride at Hart Plaza.
Hosting a blend of upcoming, local and all-star talent, this Detroit-centric music festival is a two-day experience for all to enjoy at the Historic Fort Wayne.
MOVIN’ & GROOVIN’…
Voted consistently as the best spot in Detroit to hear the best in techno spin all night long. Offering a wide variety of cocktails, beer and wine options easy on any pockets. Music ranges from Techno & House to Hip Hop & R&B, depending on the night.
One of Detroit’s favorite upscale night clubs in the financial district of Detroit, is walking distance to the riverwalk and TCF Center. This impressive spot has all the luxurious yet accessible vibes one looks for when they dress up to go dancing. With different themed nights, some of the best DJ’s in the area and a swanky bar to boot, Trust is a must on everyone’s list.
This entrancing dance venue has become Detroiters go-to spot for nightlife. This art installation-turned-club often hosts DJs, drag shows, and dance parties in a unique setting with a special glow.
An extravagant nightclub with one of the best sound systems in Detroit, Bleu is not a club to ever pass up. It’s a perfect spot if you would like to meet new people or bring some friends and dance the night away. Featuring live music and DJs spinning electronic and hip-hop music this dress to impress spot is guaranteed to provide a memorable night.
Since opening the doors, The Annex has redefined nightlife in downtown Detroit. Sip, dance, and mingle with metro Detroit’s beautiful people, young professionals, athletes and more. In a city where electronic dance music thrives, Friday nights have quickly evolved into a showcase of emerging artists, DJs, and some of the biggest names in EDM. In addition, Saturdays at The Annex hosts some of the best open format DJs from all over and becoming one of the most sought-out hot spots and event spaces.
Niki’s Lounge is a whole Detroit vibe! One of the top nightspots in Greektown, they’ve managed to offer five incredible and diverse bars in one area, giving you a variety of entertainment to choose from.
Motor City Casino Hotel
Roll the dice, pull the slots bar, or place a bet at one of Detroit’s premier casino hotels. With more than 2,700 slot machines and 59 table games, you better press your luck. For music and stand-up comedy lovers, check out the Sound Board schedule for an array of shows and entertainment options. Located near Midtown Detroit and Little Caesars Arena, Motor City Hotel is perfect for a night out in Detroit after a Red Wings or Detroit Pistons game.
MGM Grand Detroit
Developed by MGM Resorts International, one of the world’s most respected hotel and gaming companies, MGM Grand Detroit is the first-ever Las Vegas-style destination in a major metropolitan core. It features more than 4,000 slots and video poker, more than 90 table games, celebrity chef restaurants, and the only resort-style spa in southeast Michigan. Last October, the casino opened a new smoke-free gaming area, Crystal Clear, that include slots and the first nonsmoking table gaming in the city. Axis Lounge, another great entertainment option, is a perfect place to relax, have a couple of cocktails and listen to live music ranging from Motown to jazz to modern pop.
Greektown Casino Hotel
This casino in the heart of Detroit’s historic Greektown, is one of the must-see attractions in the city. The hotel features more than 2,800 gaming machines, 61 table games, a poker room, and several bars and restaurants.
Adam’s Apple is the place to be for karaoke nights on Thursdays, so get those singing pipes tuned and ready to belt. More of a chatty bar where you can hold a conversation with your crew or a friendly stranger. Both owned and operated by trans women, Adam’s Apple is welcoming to everyone and has a reputation for being a preferred space for trans community.
Menjo’s Entertainment Complex
Madonna obsessed? This is where you want to be. Not only can you dance to a plethora of Madonna jams in one night here, but you can literally dance on the floor she danced on when she was 16 and unknown! As one of the oldest LGBTQIA+ spaces in Detroit, this spot is true to its gay roots but is always open to anyone who wants to join the fun. Founded in the former gay mecca of Detroit, Palmer Park, the complex includes the Menjo’s Bar, the Eagle Leather Bar and the Olympus Theater.
Another Palmer Park hot spot, Inuendo specializes in entertainment, food and drinks. People come for the chicken wings and at night the stage is packed with enthusiastic party-goers. As far as the music goes, Inuendo features mostly R&B and hip hop, so if that’s what gets your fingers snapping, this place is for you.
GIGIs Gay Bar
One of the best gay and drag bars in the city, Gigi’s is optimal for drinks and a show. Take in the lively cabaret performances on the bottom level or dance the night away in their upstairs bar. It’s the perfect little dive for a night of outsized laughs and fun.
Woodward Bar and Grill
This is the oldest LGBTQIA+ establishment in Detroit, serving the community since the 1960s. The walls chronicle the fascinating lives of members of the community with original photos showcasing their evolution during politically and socially hostile times. Located in the heart of Midtown, the restaurant serves simple and delicious food to all kinds of customers during the day, and becomes more an LGBTQIA+ space after 5 p.m.
Ferndale has been the center of gay life in Detroit since the 2000s and Soho is the classy yet casual spot frequented by locals, right in the heart of the downtown area. The bar offers specialty cocktails and martinis, a lot of space for dancing, a pool table, and cool atmospheric lighting and decorations. It’s perfect as your mainstay for the evening or as a nightcap. Look out for trivia nights and special events during the week as well.
A downtown Royal Oak bar, serving the LGBTQIA+ community for decades. At night the bar and back patio becomes lively and filled with gregarious night-goers. The dance floor is no joke on weekends, with LED lights cascading over the floor and the most iconic music videos playing all night long. From playing a classic Whitney to a dance heavy Rihanna or Beyonce track this place won’t shy away from letting you have your moment on the floor.
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