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Best Secret Bars In Detroit

You may not need a password or to perfect the secret knock to get through the door of these bars; it just seems that way. Mystery and intrigue are on the menu at each of these establishments which are not on everyone's radar, leaving you to explore and feel like you have discovered a lost civilization. Well, maybe just lay claim to a Detroit Brown, but you get the picture. Listed below are the best bars in Detroit to patronize on the low.
Nightlife & Music Secret Bars, Jacoby's German Biergarten
Photo Credit: Jacoby's German Biergarten via Facebook

Jacoby's German Biergarten
624 Brush St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7067

Jacoby's has been a long-time favorite and well-kept secret of Detroiters since 1904. The bar's warm lighting and eclectic decor mimics the comfortable and inviting atmosphere of this storied bar. From the European decorations to the historical tin ceilings, the design elements keep it interesting. The juke box plays golden oldies that virtually everyone loves to hear, and the menu is an array of old world German comfort food, prepared in the same manner as your grandma (or oma) does at home. The Jager Schnitzel is a must-try; but regardless of what you order, your server will gladly recommend which beer to pair it with. Jacoby's mantra is: "you're  a stranger here but once," and they really mean it.

Related: Top Jukebox Bars In Detroit

Nightlife & Music Secret Bars, Grand Trunk Pub
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Grand Trunk Pub
612 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-3043

Grand Trunk Pub's beautiful ambiance and amazing fried pickles makes it a definite to check out. The facade of this historical building propels you into a time machine, evoking images of a past era. To find the pub, look for the motorcycle stationed above the entrance. Once inside, the vaulted ceilings are a sight to behold and the arched windows are equally spectacular. Train memorabilia adorns the walls and remnants of Michigan nostalgia add to the mix; the Vernor's mascot rolling his barrel of ginger ale stands out. Grand Trunk Pub also carries more than 170 craft beers, 100 of which are made by Michigan breweries. They offer a beer tasting passport club. Happy hour is weekdays from 4-7 p.m.

Nightlife & Music Secret Bars, PJ's Lager House
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PJ's Lager House
1254 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-4668

Click here for a schedule of events

Originally a local Corktown bakery in the early 1900s, the Lager House tagline these days is Live. Life. Loud., and they truly mean it. This is a great place to grab a Pabst and watch talented musicians perform. The atmosphere is always lively and the vibe, friendly. Both the staff and patrons are welcoming as soon as you step inside. The bar area is separate from the stage area, but the music spills out everywhere. They book touring bands from across the nation, but there is an emphasis on featuring local musicians, with performances almost daily. Even the menu of basic bar food makes reference to hitting the road and going on tour as a traveling musician.

Nightlife & Music Secret Bars, Cass Cafe
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Cass Cafe
4620 Cass Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 831-1400

Click here for Art Gallery events and here for the entertainment schedule.

Cass Cafe in the Cultural District has got all bases covered; it boasts both an art bar and a restaurant in the same space. This gem is a well kept secret by the artsy types who call it their home away from home. The live entertainment featured includes musicians, poets, and dancers. The  floor plan is expansive yet conducive to intimate conversation. There is an ever-changing selection of artwork on the walls and Cass Cafe exhibits work of both local and national artists. There is a full bar service, including selections from Motor City Brewery, a local Detroit company.  Cass Cafe also expanding its menu and now offers a more extensive selection of vegan and vegetarian options.

Related: Best Art Walks In Detroit

Nightlife & Music Secret Bars, Cocktails
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Ye Olde Tap Room
14915 Charlevoix St
Detroit, MI 48215
(313) 824-1030

Ye Olde Tap Room was a speakeasy during the prohibition and still retains some of the mystique today. The dark atmosphere perpetuates the veil of secrecy that has surrounded it since 1912, the year the doors opened for business. The bar hosts a Prohibition party each year in May to celebrate the repeal of the 18th amendment to the Constitution. This establishment specializes in beer and has an extensive selection to prove it; there are more than 280 choices from around the globe. Ye Olde Tap Room features local musicians on select weekend evenings. Try the cheese––word on the street is that it is to die for; after all, it is Detroit.

Nicole Wrona has been on the music scene since she was fourteen- standing in line to score tickets to the latest show. After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, she began working with a diverse range of musicians. She currently resides in Detroit. Her work can be found at
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