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Lifestyle Guides

Bar & Cafe Guide

Beer at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. in Midtown

Cliff Bell's

Astro Coffee in Corktown

MotorCity Wine

The patio at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co.

Rowland Cafe inside the Guardian Building

Morning, noon or night, here are some of the best places to hang out in Detroit, whether you need a coffee and some quality laptop time or are looking to strike up a conversation with the friendly locals over a pint. 
Urban Bean Co. (downtown)
Free WiFi
Urban Bean Co. in Capitol Park goes for designer appeal with a citrus-soaked modernist aesthetic straight out of the pages of Dwell (in fact, there is a magazine rack inside filled with back issues of Dwell). They serve coffees from local roasters Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co. and snacks from local bakeries like Pinwheel Bakery and Dutch Girl Donuts. They're also open until 9 p.m. on weekdays, and have plenty of seating and a DJ booth on the second floor.
The Roasting Plant (downtown)
Free WiFi
The Roasting Plant, located inside the First National Building next to Campus Martius Park, provides the kind of high-quality caffeinated experience on the go that downtown workers desire thanks to their high-tech Javabot system that grinds and brews your made-to-order coffee, from bean to cup, in 60 seconds.
The Bottom Line Coffee House (Midtown)
Free WiFi
The Bottom Line Coffee House in Midtown has that kind of throwback college campus coffeehouse appeal to it. Not quite as glossy as some of Detroit's other popular coffee spots, TBL has less of a tech start-up clientele and more of a college-students-talking-about-their-bikes kind of feel. This is a great place to hunker down and work, study, or read, with sweets from Treats by Angelique, homemade soups from Beautiful Soup, and the occasional sweet potato waffle pop-up with the Batata Shop.
Germack Coffee Roasting Co. (Eastern Market)
Free WiFi
Eastern Market operated without a coffee roaster to call its own for far too long. Now there is Germack Coffee Roasting Co., an extension of the iconic century-old Germack Pistachio Company in a beautifully renovated space in the market. There are seats located in the back if you want to hang out for a bit, as well as cute store with a full selection of coffees, teas, spices, and a variety of products from local food purveyors like McClure's Pickles and Slow Jams.
Astro Coffee (Corktown)
You're in high hipster territory in Corktown, and nowhere is that more evident than at Astro Coffee. There's limited seating and no WiFi, but they make a mean flat white and the homemade baked goods and egg sandwiches are worth the usually long wait.
Café 1923 (Hamtramck)
Free WiFi
One of the old guard of Detroit coffeehouses, Café 1923 has that lived-in feel of the '90s-era coffeehouse/hangout spot. Order an espresso and one of their pre-made sandwiches, then head to one of the comfy chairs in the back and peruse their library of books on the shelves for some relaxing reading material. The atmosphere here is exceptionally friendly, an accurate reflection of the Hamtramck community.
Trinosophes (Eastern Market)
Free WiFi
Located on the edge of Eastern Market, Trinosophes is a three-in-one coffeehouse, art gallery and museum, and live performance space that brings in high caliber musicians and artists thanks to owners Joel Peterson, a well-known and respected musician and event producer, and Rebecca Mazzei, Deputy Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. A second location of People's Records Detroit will soon be opening next door.
The Rowland Café (downtown)
Free WiFi
Located in the promenade of the breathtaking art deco Guardian Building downtown, the Rowland Café exclusively serves Italian illy brand coffee and hosts a variety of cultural and educational events. It's also simply a spectacular space for a meeting or just to enjoy coffee and a pastry.
Socra Tea (Midtown)
Free WiFi
If you long for an alternative to all that coffee, Socra Tea is Detroit's only teahouse, serving 50 varieties of organic loose-leaf teas. They also host a weekly slow flow yoga pop-up as well as a variety of other special events.
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company (Midtown)
Free WiFi
Great Lakes is in a category of its own because it's in a class by itself. Both a coffeehouse and a bar, you can enjoy an expertly-made pour-over before moving on to one of their quirky sour beers or all-natural wines from small family farms (and for those moments when you want a beer but still need coffee, order the 50/50 – which is exactly that). They've also got a great selection of coffee-infused craft cocktails and small plates for noshing which range from cheese and charcuterie to raw vegan dishes.

Green Dot Stables (Corktown)
Located in a slightly far-flung location on the outskirts of Corktown, jokingly referred to as "Corktown Shores," Green Dot Stables has a horse racing theme (a holdover from previous owners) serving a variety of gourmet sliders (including a weekly "mystery meat"), craft beer and cocktails. Their menu is also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, and the best part of all is that nothing on the menu (including the beer and cocktails) is more than $3. 
Foran's Grand Trunk Pub (downtown)
Before the local craft beer movement really became a widespread phenomenon, there was Foran's Grand Trunk Pub. The first bar in Detroit to change over all their taps to local craft beer (they might still be the only bar featuring a 100% local tap list) with a selection of 170 bottled craft beers (100 of those from Michigan) and absolutely no Budweiser, Foran's also has a killer happy hour, daily specials, and can sell beer and wine to go. Plus they've got some of the best bar food in the city, including their weekend brunch on Saturdays AND Sundays.
Slows BAR BQ (Corktown)
Slows is arguably the most famous restaurant in Detroit, and because of that the wait for a table can sometimes be ridiculously long. Here's a hint: eat somewhere else (even Slows To Go in Midtown), then head over here to sidle up to the bar and enjoy their fantastic selection of craft and imported beers. While it would be a stretch to say that Slows is underrated in anything, their phenomenal beer selection deserves its time in the spotlight.
The Majestic (Midtown)
It's a bar, a century-old bowling alley, a gastropub/gallery, a pizzeria, a concert venue, another concert venue, and a rooftop deck all in one massive complex that takes up almost a full city block. Known for bringing in offbeat touring national acts, the Majestic is high hipster central and the epicenter of Midtown's iconoclastic culture scene.
Cadieux Café (Eastside)
As one of only a handful of places in the country that offer feather bowling (it's a thing), Cadieux Café celebrates Belgian culture in a way many aspire to but few achieve. Reserve your feather bowling lanes in advance, or just head over to take advantage of their stellar Belgian beer selection and buckets of mussels. Wednesdays are karaoke night (which the regulars take very seriously) and they have live music on weekends.
Buffalo Wild Wings (Greektown)
You either love this place for what it is, or you don't. What it is: a massive sports bar (which will eventually be two levels) with at least a dozen flat-screen TVs visible from any seat that serves a decent selection of Michigan craft beers as well as their signature wings (spicy garlic FTW).
Bronx Bar (Midtown)
The Bronx burger might just be the best burger in Detroit, but that's just one of the things that make the Bronx Bar so great – and such a haven for Midtown residents, students, freelancers, and hipsters alike. A great jukebox, decent beer selection, entertaining bathroom art, pool table, quirky (and more often than not, amusingly cranky) staff, and central location to all things Midtown also contribute to the Bronx's popularity. Plus they have free Wi-Fi and a Bloody Mary bar on Saturdays and Sundays.

Café D'Mongo's (downtown)
Perhaps now better-known as the place where Ryan Gosling goes when he's in town (he and owner Larry Mongo have a bro-bond), Café D'Mongo's is unquestionably one of the most unique spaces in Detroit. Serving up soul food and live music in a space that has been described as "Liberace's living room," D'Mongo's should be on every Detroiter's bucket list. Word of warning: it's only open Fridays and Saturdays and gets crowded quickly, even when Ryan Gosling isn't there.
Rodin (Midtown)
A super-sexy space that pays homage to vintage French chic, the high ceilings and blood-red drapes add dramatic flair to the minimalist industrial aesthetic. The menu is a contemporary play on French cuisine, and the cocktails are all French-inspired. The walls are adorned with works from local artists (available for purchase) and they bring in some excellent local jazz, electronic and Latin fusion bands and an acoustic guitarist for Sunday brunch.
The Sugar House (Corktown)
A pre-Prohibition-themed cocktail bar, the Sugar House is known for their seasonal hand-crafted cocktails and excellent whiskey and bourbon selection. Enjoy a bowl of punch on the patio in the summer, or come in for a winter warmer when it's cold outside.
Cliff Bell's (downtown)
Cliff Bell's is Detroit's premiere jazz club located in a fully-restored Albert Kahn-designed building with a wholly vintage art deco design, like stepping into a 1930s jazz club – which is, in fact, what it once was. They bring in a wide variety of local and national talent covering everything from jazz and blues to Brazilian classical guitar, Detroit techno, even burlesque performances. They also have an excellent happy hour and food menu, including Sunday brunch.
SkyBar and Lounge (downtown)
The SkyBar and Lounge offers and unparalleled view of the city from the 33rd floor of the David Stott Building downtown. Upstairs is the upscale lounge (there's even an oak-paneled library) and downstairs is the live music space with stage. They also serve a selection of tapas to nibble on as you enjoy the music or just the view.
Centaur Bar (downtown)
This three-level no-frills martini bar located behind the Fox Theatre is just as welcoming to Tigers fans as it is to those looking for an upscale evening out, and there's always a great mix of people inside. The martini menu is extensive, but don't miss out on their food menu: their wide assortment of small plates (cleverly served in towers) are always excellent, and they serve food until 2 a.m. seven days a week.
MotorCity Wine (Corktown)
MotorCity Wine is a wine bar with excellent cheese and charcuterie plates and a live music venue with weekly events which range from soul and conga to electronic jazz. 

For more local bars and cafes, check out:

Detroit Experience Factory
Dark Rye Detroit Bar Guide 
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