Best Of 2018

Best Day Drinking

3930 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3830

How much history can you cram under one roof? The Old Miami would seem to present a challenge of that sort, crammed with 50 years’ worth of memorabilia, much of it from the Vietnam War era, especially behind the bar. The sun casts a warm glow across it, with its gleaming elephant heads, their trunks holding the brass bar rail. But more inviting is the central room, with its pool table, several couches, and pinball machines. It’s all under a beautiful canopy of white tin, with just one flatscreen TV to break the illusion that it’s the 1980s. And that’s just the inside. There’s a paradise out back, with a whole other stage for outdoor entertainment, as well as outdoor seating around a cozy fire pit that provides some warmth on the chilly night. If you’re from the old days of the Cass Corridor, you know just how wonderful a sunny day of backyard boozing can be here. But it’s still fun to watch the Quicken newbies walk into the back yard for the first time, make their “discovery,” and text their friends in disbelief. —Michael Jackman

Gusoline Alley.
Courtesy photo
Gusoline Alley.

309 S. Center St., Royal Oak; 248-545-2235

In the heart of swanky downtown Royal Oak is a hole-in-the-wall bar by the train tracks where the lights are kept low and the cheap beer always flows. If fruity cocktails with exotics names aren’t your thing, find your way to Gusoline for a shot and a beer. But Gusoline Alley’s main attraction is its jukebox opposite the bar — it’s stacked with CDs from rockers and spike-haired punks from yesteryear. Walk in on a given night and you’re sure to hear deep cuts from the Rolling Stones, Bowie, or the Clash playing. If bar games are your thing, Gusoline has a “Rollercoaster Tycoon” pinball machine and a dart board waiting for you. When you want to grab a quick beer before a show at Royal Oak Music Theatre or have an unpretentious drink in Detroit’s most pretentious suburb, Gusoline Alley is the place to go. —Anthony Spak

Best Electronic Music Club
Jon Dones

1501 Holden St., Detroit; 313-338-3674

Almost as soon as it opened two and a half years ago, Marble Bar became one of Detroit’s premier places to party. And yet, it somehow took three Metro Times “Best Of” cycles for it to win the title of “Best Electronic Music Club.” That may be because the club is known as a versatile venue that features acts ranging from comedians to live bands — but a recent uptick in the number of techno and electronic music bookings seems to have drawn the attention of MT readers, and catapulted the club to number one in a category near and dear to the hearts of many a music aficionado in Detroit. The club has begun regularly hosting events in partnership with the likes of Paxahau, the production company behind the annual Movement Electronic Music Festival, as well as more niche and original electronic promoters like Texture and Freakish Pleasures. Also critically important is the club’s new-ish sound system, installed by the acclaimed Detroit-based Audio Rescue Team behind the sound at events like Movement and Jazz Fest. A laid-back vibe is also a boon for techno heads who are into going out for the music — Marble has no dress code and is not overrun by bottle service. At the same time, it does feature a limited cocktail menu for those who seek a slightly more upscale drinking experience, and the club’s aesthetic is tasteful.

The bar is — obviously — marble, some walls are covered with lovely reclaimed wood paneling, and gilded mirrors and a minimalist mural help round out the decor. Also refreshing is the now-covered outdoor area lined with shipping containers, where partygoers can briefly rest their bones on blocks covered in astroturf. In the summertime, the patio allows the club to host multiple acts at once, which proves critical during Movement, the unofficial kickoff of the season. Marble Bar is the place to party ‘round the clock during the festival, with world-renowned DJs gracing its stages during various showcases from Friday through Tuesday. —Violet Ikonomova

Best Karaoke Bar
Jason Leinart

4654 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-406-4043;

When you hear “Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take you to/ Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama,” then it is likely that the Beach Boys have successfully transported you to Kokomo — a place where all your troubles are left upon the shore. Mutiny Bar in Southwest Detroit might be the new kid on the block, but it is the closest damn thing to a tropical getaway the city has got. The kitschy tiki decor is just the tip of the volcano, as the exotic drinks (a la the Scorpion Bowl) at dive-bar prices and laid-back atmosphere set the perfect stage for frills-free karaoke with hostess Shantasy Island. Not only does she come with a stacked 28,000 song catalogue to choose from each Thursday night, but she’s got a set of killer pipes to drown even the most insufferable “Margaritaville” renditions. “Hosting karaoke in a tropical environment is like a paradise,” Shantasy says. “Everyone relaxes a bit more and let’s their freak flag fly.” Not sure what to sing? Don’t sweat it. After all, you’re on island time. —Jerilyn Jordan