Esquire Names Detroit “Bar City 2014″

Detroit is officially “Bar City” for 2014 according to the June/July issue of Esquire Magazine. Between the classic sports bars, student bars, and jazz clubs and the new craft cocktail joints, Detroit has a lot of awesome bars, and the rest of the country is apparently starting to celebrate that fact.

Deadline Detroit reports that Esquire’s piece, written by David Wondrich, claims that “Resurrection or not, this is our new favorite drinking town.” Wondrich visited the city in March (remember how it was still undeniably winter then?) but noted that the bars he visited were warm and welcoming; “While Detroit exteriors may be forbidding, its interiors are anything but.”

Yes, there’s a bit of ruin porn present in the article, with a nod to plywood over empty storefront windows and burnt out houses, but it creates a great story, which is obviously Wondrich’s goal. These warm, busy, inviting bars are presented as islands in a desolated city, and whether or not that’s true is an argument for another time (maybe over a local craft beer?).

Deadline notes that of course the streets were empty, it was the worst winter on record and nobody wanted to go outside thank-you-very-much, and it begs the question, would a warm summer day have presented a different downtown? Possibly, but it wouldn’t have fit the narrative. Detroit, with all it’s “grit” and desolation, is apparently officially “cool”, for better or worse. But titles like “bar city” and best place to start a business or buy real estate are a definite upgrade from “murder and obesity capital” without a doubt.

As for the featured businesses, Wondrich’s bar selections were refreshing, with nods to every sort of bar both new and old. He went everywhere, from Sugar House to Cliff Bell’sNemo’s andCasey’s to PJ’s Lager HouseThe Bronx Bar, and Grand Trunk Pub. He even checked out with suburbs, with both The Oaklandand Redcoat Tavern making the list. The full article isn’t yet available online, but check out the full Deadline Detroit piece for a longer excerpt, and raise a glass to Detroit’s newest title next time the bar starts calling.

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