Tucked along a vacated stretch of the Cass Corridor, Temple Bar has for years maintained a presence in a section of town where not much else is happening. The dimly lit watering hole provides affordable drinks, friendly service, and a quiet atmosphere to, say, shoot some pool or stew on the day’s events. Though the surrounding neighborhood might look rough, it’s nothing but inviting inside.
Inside, you’ll find a long, narrow bar to lean over, a scattered set of tables and chairs, and limited lighting. Opposite the bar is a small dance floor and a booth that has played host to numerous DJs. A small 12-inch television quietly buzzes along near the seats closest to the entrance, and, occasionally, Jameson, the house pup, will strut along beside the patrons. If you’re not a regular, you’ll surely feel at ease moments into your first drink.
Behind the bar, Temple carries just about everything you’d want — including a deal on a pitcher of beer by Short’s Brewery for about $8. There may be no signature cocktails of sorts, but that’s not how Temple has won over legions of metro Detroiters; it’s the pleasant atmosphere, and, likely, its riotous dance nights. Every Friday and Saturday, Temple plays host to a jam-packed room of eclectic people cutting loose. Those familiar with the Haute to Death dance parties know Temple — the dive has featured this monthly event for years.
But it remains to be seen what sort of atmosphere the bar will keep in the coming years; the neighborhood outside Temple’s doors is expected to radically transform by 2017. Besides the quiet atmosphere and upbeat dance nights, the renowned bar has been one of Detroit’s most well-known gay bars. Eventually, a new Detroit Red Wings hockey arena will sprout up from the ground, and fans looking to pre-game will need a place to imbibe. The arena, which will abut the southeast corner of Cass and Temple avenues (Temple Bar is just north across the street), is expected to seat more than 20,000. A gambling man would do right to guess Temple might reap some of the newfound action. As Eater Detroit put it, the new Red Wings arena “thrust[ed] north Downtown’s divey Temple Bar smack in the center of the future downtown Detroit.”
Whether you’re looking for a place to wind down after a show at the Masonic or you just want a new establishment to patronize, Temple should probably be on your list.