5 Must-Visit Show Bar Gems in the D
By: Amber Ogden
October 31, 2018
The Metro Detroit area is known for a lot of things, Better Made Chips, fudge, Faygo and of course cars. But you can also add historical show bars to that list. The area is saturated with musical talents from Motown to Rock, but where do you go to hear these tunes recreated? Glad you asked! Check out some of the best show bars, speakeasies and blue’s joints around the D.
Willis Show Bar
On the corner of Willis and Third sits the infamous Willis Show Bar. With the word “BAR” in red neon lights, this is one of the oldest and most unique bars in the Metro Detroit area. It is Located in the historic Cass Corridor and originally opened in 1949. It closed in 1978 and now, 40 years later, this time capsule captures the original “Art Moderne” style. The one of a kind stage that sits behind the bar, engulfs everything from cabaret-style jazz to comedic performances. May I add there is not a bad seat in the house!?
Don’t let the name fool you! This neighborhood staple is huge in Hamtramck. Grabbing national attention from publications like Maxim and Guitar World, this is the hot spot for rock and independent music. Customers can enjoy live performances from national and local bands while sipping on one of the 50 beers on tap including local craft labels. Small’s was opened back in 1999 and has been rocking out ever since. So, if you want to “Live Life Loud” any day of the week, Small’s is the spot.
Otus, as it stands, is the largest species of owls, horned or eared to be scientifically correct. However, Otus Supply in Ferndale puts a different spin on a show bar. With its own unique vibe, the founders have created and happily married food, handmade cocktails and live music. Everyone walks in as a customer but leaves as family. They also leave with a more rooted understanding of it means to be passionate and work hard but leave behind a legacy. That’s what Detroit is all about right?
The oldest Blues social club in Michigan is Raven Lounge. Better known as “Detroit’s House of Blues”, Blues lovers come here to enjoy an intimate show of some of the best blues performers around the Metro Detroit area. When you want to get your soul fed, as you are taking in the sounds you can enjoy some soulful menu items as well, like their fried chicken with a side of greens.
Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy
This Detroit gem is tucked away on Griswold street but you can’t miss it. When you enter this speakeasy you are warped back in time to the 60’s and beyond. Coleman A Young’s barber chair is seated in the corner, how’s that for memorabilia? Featured on the Travel Channel for its quirkiness, this spot is perfect for blues, or a trip down Motown memory lane. You can be seated at the bar, or sit at a tabletop and make new friends. This dive bar is a perfectly good night out in Detroit any day of the week. Order a Shirley Temple while you’re there, you’ll thank me later!