When we pull up to the Hills Bar & Grille in Rochester Hills it’s a sunny, albeit humid, afternoon, and their patio is sprinkled with people lunching and chatting at black iron tables shaded by tan umbrellas, sipping wine and beer.
Nestled in the city’s quaint and adorable downtown, the Hills fits in perfectly with the community that surrounds it. With high ceilings, tall windows, tons of natural light, dark wood tables, and a double-sided fireplace that serves as the space’s centerpiece, the Hills offers otherwise minimal decor. It’s nice without being fancy, but we do suggest you wear your best jeans if you’re planning a trip in. And a nice pair of sandals wouldn’t hurt either.
Co-owner Jason Nies invited us to review the bar and, upon our arrival, we sat, soaked in sunlight, discussing the Hills' beverage list. Consisting of an assortment of Michigan-made beers, the drink menu also offers a small, but admirable collection of wines, red and white homemade sangrias, and the standard selection of modest cocktails. The pièce de résistance of the drink menu is “The Fishbowl,” a booze-and-soda-filled glass the size of a human head that’s topped with a slice of lemon and set aflame to the pleasure of the bar’s guests, all for the reasonable price of $10.
Martini flights are another unusual offering, and guests can purchase a set of three mini-cocktails, which arrive on an adorable wrought-iron frame and are often suitable for sharing. The martini menu is split into three sections: sweet, which includes the Hills’ signature martini, along with a Pineapple Upside Down version that contains Stoli Vanil, pineapple, and grenadine; sour, which includes a Lemon Drop containing Grey Goose Citron, Triple Sec, and lemonade; and dessert, which consists of cocktails even sweeter than Pineapple Upside-Down. (Yes, it can be done.)
Offering not just drinks but breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Hills’ menus for all three meals consist of such American favorites as burgers, pastas, meatloaf, salads, and steaks. Nies says much of the menu is made in-house, including the meatloaf, pot roast, and mac and cheese. On the breakfast side, potatoes are hand-cut, the hollandaise is house-made, and the corned beef is brined and slow-cooked in-house. More importantly, you can get booze with breakfast seven days a week.
Open until 2 a.m., the HIlls often features some sort of live performance, although Nies says the entertainment offers more of a “sit-down” evening atmosphere than a typical restaurant-by-day/club-by-night establishment.
With classic American standards and a beautiful, well-lit space, the Hills is a great atmosphere for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks. mt
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