Anchor Bar & Grill | 450 W. Fort St., 313-964-9127: Those who aren't swayed by the Anchor's sturdy tavern fare may enjoy the watering hole's wealth of local history. Pre-dating Prohibition, this institution has enough vintage local political, media, and sports photos and memorabilia to make a museum envious.
Bookies Bar & Grille | 2208 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-962-0319; bookiesbar.com: Three levels and a full-service kitchen. On the first level, patrons can sit at the stone-and-granite bar while watching the game on one of six hi-def plamsa TVs. The second floor features a private VIP area, and the third has a rooftop deck with its own bar. The kitchen features moderately priced American food such as soups, salads and sandwiches. The kitchen is open until 11 p.m., after which a scaled-down version of the menu is available. Free shuttle service around downtown is available during lunch and happy hours. Call at least one hour before desired pick-up time. Free shuttle service is also offered to all major events in the downtown area.
Buffalo Wild Wings | 1218 Randolph St., Detroit; 313-961-9453; for more metro Detroit locations, see buffalowildwings.com: When you're surrounded by beers the size of your forearm, an army of high-def TVs, and buckets upon buckets of chicken wings (and a host of other deep-fried thingies) you're probably sitting in B Dubs. The bar's midday and late-night happy hours show that it's recession-friendly, and it flies flags of local pro and college sports teams so that when you're too broke for game tix, the next best place to be is inside one of these joints. And this one on Randolph Street is the largest in the country, with room for 400 sports fans — and almost 100 televisions.
Cliff Bell's | 2030 Park Ave., 313-961-2543: The gloriously art deco splendor of Cliff Bell's recalls the 1930s. This nightspot smacks of a more sensuous era, when patrons haunted such smoky little cabarets with relish. With their nattily attired staff and live music, it's not hard to get lost in the illusion of Detroit's bustling past.
Coach Insignia | 200 Renaissance Center, 313-567-2622: Perched high atop the Renaissance Center's tallest tower, Coach Insignia has the best view of any restaurant in the city, with spectacular riverfront views — oddly enough, mostly of Canada. The commanding vista and the upscale fare will cost you plenty, but a drink at the upper level's bar is a bargain that comes with quite a view.
Cyprus Taverna | 579 Monroe, 313-961-1550: Smack in the heart of Greektown for more than a decade, this hospitable restaurant has a reputation for doing lamb right. For their lamb riganato, succulent pieces of lamb are slow-roasted in olive oil, lemon, oregano, garlic, and the meat's natural juices. The meat is reputed to be so tender that your knife will go unused.
Detroit Beer Co. | 1529 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-962-1529; detroitbeerco.com: DBC seems like a little bit of upscale Royal Oak dropped in the thick of downtown Detroit. Their renovation of the century-old Hartz Building, with its tin ceilings and brick walls, looks especially attractive. As many as 250 patrons could squeeze into the long, narrow rooms, which include a spacious second floor for those who prefer an elevated view of Broadway.
Fishbone's Rhythm Kitchen Cafe | 400 Monroe St., 313-965-4600: Fishbone's has earned its reputation for doing things in a big way. Belly up to one of the two bars for drinks, or sit in the spacious main dining area. Its Cajun and Creole dishes go beyond jambalaya and fried catfish, but the main event is their huge weekly brunch.
Hard Rock Cafe | 45 Monroe St., 313-964-7625: With a history steeped in music and a populace that loves hearty tavern fare, Detroit makes a natural choice for a Hard Rock franchise.
Harry's Detroit Bar | 2482 Clifford St., Detroit; 313-964-1575; harrysdetroit.com: Adorned with beer banners, farm implements, and 10 TV monitors tuned to sports stations, the capacious, century-old former brothel is 30 yards long, with perhaps the longest bar in Detroit. Most patrons are satisfied with burgers, chili, sandwiches, and drafts from Bud to boutique. But satisfying as these mundane offerings may be, there are also more than a dozen oversized appetizers, many Southwestern oriented, hefty a la carte salads, and oversized entrées.
Jacoby's German Biergarten | 624 Brush St., 313-962-7067: Billed as downtown Detroit's oldest saloon and restaurant, the joint retains its Old World warmth, with a dark old bar, wood-paneled walls, and excellent sandwiches.
MGM Grand Buffet | 1777 Third St. (inside MGM Grand Casino), 313-393-7777: Think of the food court at your local mall. Now ratchet it up several notches, because everything is done to excess in casino-land. Ten food stations to choose from.
Small Plates | 1521 Broadway, 313-963-0497: What could be more romantic than nibbling off the same plate? The diminutive dishes here run the gamut from hand-cut fries ($4) to pan-seared scallops ($17). And Small Plates is serious about the food. They make almost everything in-house, including their own mayo and ketchup!
TAP | Inside MGM Grand Detroit, 1777 Third St., Detroit; 877-888-2121: What's the story with Detroit's newest sports bar? It's done up in grand style, with original memorabilia from the Lindell A.C., hearty pub fare, an emphasis on Michigan craft beers, and a zillion flat-screen televisions, natch.
Vicente's Cuban Cuisine | 1250 Library St., 313-962-8800: Wash down delicious Cuban sandwiches with tasty mojitos. Not an inexpensive dining choice, but many patrons are drawn by the dancing at Vicente's, where they even give wary patrons a lesson some nights.
— Selected Metro Detroit Sports Bars
24 Seconds | 3071 W. 12 Mile Rd., Berkley; 248-336-0024; 24seconds.net: Voted Best Sports Bar in this year's Best of Detroit poll, 24 Seconds is right next door to the very alternative and cool Berkley Front, but these two bars are so different they might as well be on opposite sides of the planet. While customers at the Front might be sitting back to watch a quality local indie rock band while sipping an exotic beer, those next door will be chucking back Budweisers and watching one of many ballgames on one of the many TVs. The bar food is hot and edible, and the staff is friendly. So eat, drink, and cheer your hearts out.
Fort Street Brewery | 1660 Fort St., Lincoln Park; 313-389-9620; fortstreetbeer.com: Brewpub and restaurant with a friendly atmosphere, games, and a large beer list, including house-brewed suds like "Doug's Turbo Sarsaparilla," a root-beer-flavored beer. Look out for daily specials like $5 pepperoni pizzas during Monday Night Football.
New Dodge Lounge | 8850 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 313-874-5963; newdodgelounge.com: Open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., the New Dodge is one of those classic Hamtramck bars that's open all day. In the daytime, you have old-timers and characters gabbing at the bar. At night, an interesting mix that can include punks, metal kids, or people with just enough money to buy one drink.
Rosie O'Grady's Irish Pub | 279 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-591-9163; see rosieogradysirishpub.com for more locations: When you go to the bar to catch the big game with your best bros, there's a good chance there are a few other games, matches, meets, etc., you'd also like to follow, however casually or seriously. Ferndale's Rosie O'Grady's Irish Pub is your favorite bar to do just that. With more than 100 TVs throughout the joint, including a small flat-screen in each booth all broadcasting the game, it's a sensory overload of sports, but that's why some people dig it. Game on!
Vivio's Food & Spirits | 2460 Market St., Detroit; 313-393-1711; 3601 E. 12 Mile Rd., Warren; 586-576-0495; viviosbloodymary.com: Metro Times readers consistently vote Vivio's the Best Bar for a Bloody Mary, with good reason. More than two-dozen local retailers carry Vivio's Bloody Mary mix in their stores. Mixed with premium vodka and stirred with a dill pickle spear, it's perfect aperitif before diving into Vivio's fortifying menu of sandwiches, mussel dishes, and other bar food. Best of all, the Eastern Market location is a trip, richly decked out with Detroit history. Pro tip: The large-screen sports action is upstairs.
Whiskey in the Jar | 2741 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-873-4154: Tiny bar packs it all in somehow — pool table, seating area, bar, TVs (three of them, all visible from the bar), jukebox — with a patio that spills outside for smokers and jokers. A longtime Hamtramck classic endures due to an assortment of regulars and some friendly bartenders who've seen it all.
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