$0 - Z's Villa
We're going to go out on a limb and declare Z's Villa is Detroit's best bar where you can play sand court volleyball, a game of horseshoes, and cornhole. If there's another bar that offers all of the above somewhere in city limits that we haven't yet encountered, Z's is almost certain to be the only one that also hosts "trash can football," a game of its owners' invention that is exactly what it sounds like (like basketball, but with trash cans. And a football.) A volleyball league has dibs on the volleyball court 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, but the it's available for the public any other time. There's no cost to play games, but be sure to buy a beer or two, or treat your team to one of Z's deep dish pizzas afterward.
42 Piquette Ave., Detroit; 313-874-2680; zsvilladet.com
$0 - $10 - Drinking with Dogs
We love our dogs. We want to take them everywhere we go. Especially when we're drinking. Locally owned doggy day care Canine to Five has made the dreams of all dog and drinking lovers come true. Their summer series, Drinking with Dogs, is a special happy hour that allows you to bring your pooch, sip some sweet cocktails on the patio, and generally enjoy the company of other dogs and dog lovers. Each installment is held at a different bar in Detroit or Ferndale. In July, Northern Lights Lounge, Como's, and Pronto will all host. Cover is free, but you'll have to pay for your drinks.
Drinking with Dogs will be held at Northern Lights Lounge on July 7, 660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 6-9 p.m.
$0 - Drinks X Design
More often than not, networking is a painful thing. Thankfully there is Drinks X Design. Every month the networking (and drinking) event is held at a different location, whether it's a historic structure like the Guardian Building or a space like the Sit on it Detroit's warehouse. It's always free to get in, plus beer, cocktails, and snacks are complimentary too. Full disclosure, Metro Times sponsors the events, but they're run in partnership with the Detroit Creative Corridor.
$3.50 - Coffee; Drifter
Drifter is Detroit's newest (and possibly cutest) coffee shop on wheels. Local barista Alleah Webb bought a beat-up silver and Tiffany blue Serro Scotty Guacho camper and enlisted the help of family and friends to not only get it ready for the road, but for serving up steaming cups of Joe. She uses Rochester-based grounds from Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters as well as Plymouth-based Espresso Elevado. She also serves tea and pastries. You can spot around town at local farmers markets like Eastern Market, Wayne State University Farmers Market, and Western Fruit and Meat Market.
$0 - Motor City Brewing Works 20th Anniversary Party
Expect an extra-special party at New Center Park's amphitheater celebrating 20 years for the Detroit brewery that was instrumental in such important movements as local art, seminal music, and craft beer. The party marks the release of the brewery's Ghettoblaster beer in cans with a total tap takeover at the amphitheater's bar. The bar's longtime weekly art series will be referenced with a new 15-pack of cans with a box featuring all-new artwork by local artist Glenn Barr. The bar will also be releasing a third volume of local music. Then there's the bill of bands, still to be announced, which, in the mellow setting of New Center Park, should provide the perfect accompaniment for a cold one.
Amphitheater opens at 6 p.m., Aug. 1; performances 7-9 p.m., at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and West Grand Boulevard, across from the Fisher Building, Detroit; newcenterpark.com
$1 - Nancy Whiskey's
Who likes to drink and doesn't enjoy an affordable drink in an enjoyable atmosphere? Any night of the week at Nancy Whiskey's will surely present a pleasant, relaxing evening. If you're looking for a place to escape the heat and revel in decent company, it's a sound place to start. Beyond that, drinks here are easy on the wallet; you can snag a beer for $1 and a pour of whiskey for $3, straight-up, neat, on the rocks, or whatever. In a shrinking era of dive bars situated in friendly neighborhoods, it's a treat for the city to still have such establishments around like Nancy's.
2644 Harrison St., Detroit; 313-472-4449
$2 - A can of PBR and the insane air conditioning at Whiskey in the Jar
The Whiskey in the Jar is a dimly lit, cozy little tavern. There are about seven stools at the bar, and enough low tops to leave just enough space to squeeze by them when they're full. The jukebox is usually blaring, people are always talking, and there seems to be a continuous game of billiards. But the things that make this a cool summertime getaway have little to do with music. First, there's the ice-cold beer, next there's the patio screened off with privacy fence from the alley, and then there's that air conditioning. The bar is so small and the air is so powerful that you might walk in for a cold drink on a 90-degree day only to find yourself shivering in your shorts and wanting a blackberry brandy to warm you up. The only colder place in Hamtramck is the meat locker at Bozek's. Now if only that had a bar.
2741 Yemans St., Hamtramck; 313-873-4154
$3.50-$5 - Detroit Bubble Tea
A new venture by husband and wife Arun and Alycia Prasad, Detroit Bubble Tea started serving in May after delays related to last year's floods pushed back the original opening plans. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure, bubble tea is a popular Taiwanese export — a blend of tea, added flavors (which includes options like bubble gum, Taro, and various fruit), and chewy "bubbles" on the bottom that you drink through a wide straw. In addition to the drink's classic tapioca balls, Detroit Bubble Tea also offers flavor-filled "popping pearls" and "jellies" made out of coconut meat. Detroit Bubble Tea's brightly colored storefront is a welcome addition to downtown Ferndale's offerings.
Open daily 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 22821 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.; 248-239-1131; detroitbubbletea.com.
$5 - Whitney Garden Parties
The Whitney was once the home of the family of lumber baron David Whitney Jr., at the time the wealthiest man in Detroit — and it shows. An ornate mansion on the city's major thoroughfare, the Whitney would have cost roughly $10.5 million in today's money. Since the 1980s, the mansion was converted into an upscale restaurant, but fortunately the management offers these summertime garden parties as a cheap way to enjoy the Whitney's ambiance. The parties have a $5 cover and $5 craft beers and bratwurts; the season includes performances by local musical acts like Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men, White Shag, MPV, and more. In the event of rain, the party moves upstairs to the third floor Ghost Bar. Runs through Aug. 27.
Doors at 5 p.m., music from 6 p.m. to dusk; 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700; thewhitney.com; 21 and older only.
$5-$20 - Exodos Rooftop
Located above Greektown's Golden Fleece and owned by the same family, Exodos' exposed brick, leather couches, and spacious deck earned the praise of our readers, who voted the bar as Detroit's Best Rooftop Bar in our Best of Detroit poll. Though the rooftop is open all year, in the summer it's in full swing, hosting a variety of weekly musical entertainment, such as House Thursdays, Friday Night Live, Rooftop Saturdays with resident DJ Nass, and Sunday Live Jazz featuring Sky Covington. There are different covers for the different nights so be sure to check ahead of time.
Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday-Sunday; 529 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-962-1300; exodosrooftop.com
$6-$30 - Dangerously Delicious Pies; Third Street Saloon
A spacious, outdoor patio featuring "ring the bull" (think ring toss on a tether) helps make Third Street Saloon a favorite local favorite summertime drinking destination. Inside the bar, the "up north" feel continues with a fireplace, rustic wooden tables, and even more games like shuffleboard and ski-ball. And another compelling reason to hit Third Street Saloon this summer: Musician-turned piemonger Don "Doop" Duprie's Dangerously Delicious Pies, whose menu includes items like pulled pork pie, ratatouille pie, or the SMOG (steak, mushrooms, onions, and Gruyère). Karaoke and live music round out Third Street Saloon's summertime offerings.
701 W. Forest Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3434.
$25 - Five for $25; Sky Deck
Possibly one of the coolest places in the city to enjoy a cocktail after work on a Friday evening, Sky Deck is located atop the Detroit Opera House. The open air lounge is outfitted with modern couches that add to the design aesthetic while allowing for cozy conversation. Each year the Opera House adds a little something to the space, whether it be pavers made from recycled tires or greenery that makes the space feel like a garden on top of the world. Sure this place is kind of swanky (and it gets extra points for being unique too) but it's not going to break the bank. For $25 guests get cover, plus four drinks (or a mix of drinks and hot dogs and burgers.) The space is only open to the public during Friday and Saturday Tigers games, but it is available for private rental.
1526 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-237-7464; detroitoperahouseskydeck.com.
$35 - Wild Beasts, Wild Wine; Detroit Zoo
The zoo isn't just for kids anymore and Royal Oak's 88-year-old menagerie is proving that with their adult-only events all summer long. They've got a concert series called Wild Summer Nights, a special charity gala called Sunset at the Zoo, Summer Zoomance, and Wild Beasts, Wild Wine, a wine-tasting event that will feature 40 local and national wineries. Basically, you can stroll through the pudu exhibit while sipping a glass of Michigan-made wine, and if that doesn't sound like heaven, we don't know what does. There will also be live music and zookeeper talks. Not to mention you can ride the carousel at twilight.
8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-541-5717; detroitzoo.org