Best Of 2018

Best Bar (Detroit)
225 Gratiot Ave., Detroit; 313-736-5533;
Best Bar (Suburbs)
215 West Fifth St., Royal Oak; 248-629 9423;
Best Bar for Classic Cocktails
1218 Griswold St., Detroit; 313-657-9177;
Best Beer Selection
Various locations;
Best Bottle Service
535 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-420-1990;
261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-327-0575;
1815 N. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-298-6875;
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

Best Distillery Tasting Room
2462 Riopelle St., Detroit; 313-338-3760;
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