In order to get to know some of Detroit’s most interesting characters, it would only be proper to take a break from enjoying beautiful architecture to enter the world of the city’s fabled bar scene. From famed gang hideouts and Prohibition beer barons to punks and war veterans, photographer Julie Taubman captures Motown’s love of bars in her new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the only way it can be taken in. Drink by drink, shot by shot.
The Stone House Bar has a historical reputation that will overwhelm you before you ever hit the entrance. Despite now being packed with rockers, bikers and the like, the Victorian-styled home located near the Michigan State Fairgrounds was once the clubhouse for Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang. From it’s covered porch to backyard that features a horseshoe pit, The Stone House Bar is quite unlike any other drinking establishment in the city. As the favorite saying of its patrons goes, “Come as a stranger, leave even stranger.” They mean it.
Distance to next destination: 8.46 Miles, 15 Minutes
A known Cass Corridor hideaway, the Old Miami came to prominence as a favored watering hole for Vietnam veterans returning home from the war. Henceforth, the bar has been deemed a “veteran’s scene,” but also fully incorporates an interesting mix of punks and hipster types that come to see local bands play on weekends. Not only does the bar’s living room vibe make you feel like your at home with comfortable couches to sit on, the Old Miami has an expansive backyard that is the perfect place to drink a beer and peer out into the classic Detroit neighborhood.
Distance to next destination: 0.23 Miles, 56 Seconds
As a part of the sprawling Majestic Theatre complex in Midtown, the Magic Stick has set a precedent for being the purveyor of the city’s finest rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic music. Bringing in both large national acts and locally known heavy-hitters, the bar has recently become two different venues, the Magic Stick and the Magic Stick Lounge, in order to cater to bands of all sizes. Also, the Allley Deck, an outside patio adjacent to the bar, allows patrons to get a breath of fresh air at a particularly packed show while enjoying a view overlooking Woodward Avenue.
Distance to next destination: 8.40 Miles, 16 Minutes
Without the Ye Olde Tap Room, Detroit may have never survived the prohibition. Built in 1916, the original bar operated as a blind pig for a year until closing. The current bar room was added onto the original in 1922 and has since maintained its status as one of Eastsiders’ favorite hot spots. If you are a beer connoisseur looking for a particular brew, Ye Olde is one bar you need to stop in, as over 250 brews are offered on the always expanding menu, as well as over 30 kinds of single malt whisky. Truly, this bar is apart of Detroit history and drinking history alike.