The Best Cocktail Bars In Detroit, Michigan

Photo of Benjamin M. Smith
25 November 2016

Detroit has long had its do-it-yourself work ethic – ever since its fashioning as the automobile capitol of the US. This same culture can be found in the many cocktail bars and distilleries popping up around town, whose commitment to a quality product has driven the industry’s newfound success. Here are our five best cocktail bars in Detroit, Michigan.

Two James Spirits in Corktown | © Dave Sizer/Flickr

Two James Distillery

As the first licensed distillery in Detroit since Prohibition, Two James Distillery has garnered serious attention within the city’s spirit-loving community. Located in Corktown, the oldest neighborhood of Detroit, Two James promotes environmentally conscious, handmade spirits for sale and for tasting in its tasting room. Stop in for a look at its different products, especially to try its award-winning Rye Dog White whiskey. The space is reminiscent of an old prohibition-era saloon, especially with its old-world hardwood bar, overhanging wooden beams and old-school assortment of barrels lining the walls.

The Sugar House

The Sugar House is that rare cocktail bar that has elevated the service and quality of its products, yet remains inviting for anyone that happens to walk inside. The unpretentious vibe here is set by the stuffed animal trophies on the walls and a cordial staff willing to make a recommendation from the bar’s 100 or more mixed drinks. And if none of these work for Sugar House patrons, the bartenders are willing and able to mix up drinks on a whim, based solely on a client’s favorite flavor.

Detroit City Distillery Tasting Room

One of the best places to get a craft cocktail in Detroit is the Detroit City Distillery. Once a slaughterhouse in its industrial past, this distillery has reinvented the space into a casual, sparsely decorated distillery and tasting room where supporters of the city’s revitalization can come to drink the night away. Try the “Post Party Depression”, a coffee drink with two-faced bourbon and house cinnamon syrup, topped with heavy cream and nutmeg.

Roast Detroit | © Edsel Little/Flickr

The Oakland Art Novelty Company

The dimly lit, plush interior of The Oakland Art Novelty Company invites patrons interested in a refined atmosphere with cocktails and friends. The speakeasy mood here is set with old time blues and jazz, comfortable sofa areas and attentive customer service. This bar has a no cell phone policy, which attracts people looking for a more nostalgic cocktail experience.


The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit’s Roast steakhouse serves some pretty hard-to-beat cocktails at its downtown location. Although it is quite upscale, the happy hour prices are some of the best in the city, with everything on the bar menu half of the original price. Roast is a place where traditional cocktails are made perfectly, although custom drinks, like their Burly Pony, featuring vida mescal, cynar, cocchi americano, cardamom bitters and lemon essence, are also really great.

Roast | © @joefoodie/Flickr

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