In the hustle and bustle of today’s workplace, it seems like most of us working stiffs have very little time to ourselves. I know I’m always working. When I’m not working, I’m working on another paper for my master’s degree that I can’t seem to earn fast enough. When I’m not working on that, there are the volunteer activities. Did I mention I also work hard at being a supportive husband and an attentive dog dad?
My time is a precious commodity, so when I do have the chance to have a few drinks with friends, I want a great tasting drink … a drink crafted with care at a place where the barkeep understands how to make it taste good without a big fruit garnish and an off-the-shelf mixer. The location has to be good, too. The wrong vibe can kill a great cocktail.
Yes, I am a bit of a cocktail snob so I’ve checked out a few Detroit spots. These are five great places for my fellow cocktail snobs to congregate and enjoy a some good company.
If you follow Dig Downtown Detroit on Foursquare, you probably know this is one of my favorite haunts. I’ve learned a lot from Steve the bartender. Like what a raspberry shrub is and how versatile it can be when mixed correctly. Or that there is a world far beyond Angostura bitters, Gallo Vermouth and store bought maraschino cherries.
This is a restaurant first and a darn fine one at that. Their bar menu changes every Monday, with the Atlas Burger and the bar chips as your staple items. In my opinion.,they are best washed down with a John Gault Manhattan.
One thing I really like about this place is their willingness to try new things. The menu is always changing depending on availability of different alcohols and hand-crafted mixes. This is the only joint I have ever been to that successfully used maple syrup in a cocktail, which caused me to go for several days in a row just to order another.
Here’s another thing to love about The Sugar House. When they run out of seats they stop letting people in. No overcrowding, which allows veteran young guys like myself plenty of space and peace to enjoy our beverages.
3. The Buhl Bar
In fitting with the history of the building, The Buhl Bar gives of the air of what the Roaring 20s was all about, right down to the bar’s logo etched on the highball glasses. There are no specialty drinks here, just a solid pour in a great setting.
Two things make this a dynamite spot to visit. One, this truly is a happy hour only place so you will only be able to imbibe here Monday through Friday from 3pm until 8pm. The other is the people. There are many suits here cutting deals and gossiping about deals. If you are an aficionado of local politics, I highly recommend you start going here immediately.
Rumor has it that since the mid-1980s when The Whitney was first converted to a restaurant, the ghost of David Whitney himself has been seen many times. The bar on the third floor of this fine dining establishment derives it’s name from those rumors.
There is nothing ghostly about this bar, pricing included. It’s a great way to enjoy the class of The Whitney without the price or the pretension.
5. Cliff Bell’s
Fans of Art Deco anything need to make Cliff Bell’s their number one stop on any Detroit tour. The interior has been meticulously restored, right down to the mahogany bar. Better still, it was voted the bar with the Best Classic Cocktails in Detroit in 2011 by HOUR Detroit Magazine and Metro Times, so you know the libations are on point!
I highly recommend the Ramos Gin Fizz, mostly because anything made with New Holland Knickerbocker gin deserves your attention.