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

Posted on Tuesday, February 24 2015 in Nightlife

Nemos Bowen 5532

Great dive bars in Detroit? I could fill a book. But since I probably only have your attention for the next 90 seconds or so, let me just share a few suggestions on some of the many, many best places in Detroit to commune with the locals and get a true sense of place.


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.


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!


Here’s your chance to chime in. What’s your must-visit Detroit dive bar?


About the Author: Freelance writer Michelle Fusco hasn’t met a dive bar that she didn’t like yet.

Photo Credit: Bill Bowen (Nemo's)