An effervescent hotel bartender from Luxembourg. A tavern with an unpopular owner. A beautiful German cook. In 1904, these three elements joined forces and Jacoby's German Biergarten was born. More than a century later, the bustling downtown spot with a storied history remains a sought-after destination, even through collapsing economies, ownership changes, and international lederhosen shortages. Patrons can dig into classic delicacies such as Wiener Schnitzel, German sausage sandwiches, and hearty burgers, pairing them with domestic and imported brews including Paulaner, Schneider Edel Weiss, and Franziskaner Hefe.
What was once the meeting spot for the Saint Andrew's Society of Detroit now hosts the hottest live acts and dance parties, including performances by Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Iggy Pop. The Main Ballroom sports a tricked-out sound-and-lighting system, a VIP balcony, a hardwood dance floor, and a bar more than 35 feet long. The lower level of The Shelter lives up to its name, as red curtains and a cabaret offer an escape to mellower pastures. Upstairs at The Burns Room, patrons chill out on lounge furniture under chandeliers while savoring views of Congress and the RenCen.
Sports-casting TVs surround the perimeter of Pappy’s Sports Bar & Grill, where patrons can wash down hearty American favorites from a menu augmented by a wide selection of frothy brews. Patrons can forget the boring lack of lava-spewing events in the real world by kicking off meals with an appetizing platter of volcano skins ($7.50), which fill hollowed out potato skins with gooey cheddar cheese, bacon, and sour cream. Provolone and mozzarella marry a trio of Italian delicacies—capicola, genoa salami, and mortadella—atop crisp ciabatta to create the muffuletta sandwich ($8.50), and the flavors of Greece ribbon through a flakey spinach pie stuffed with imported feta ($9.50). Chefs festoon the hawaiian pizza—one of six individual pies—with pineapple and ham ($10.75), but leave the Pappy burger ($7.50) open for customization by presenting a choice of cheese, sauce, and even the angle of the grill marks.
Nestled in downtown Detroit, just blocks away from the Joe Louis Arena, Anchor Bar treats guests to a spread of fried fish, towering, two-handed cheeseburgers, and plenty of cold beer on tap. Buzzing neon light and sounds from sports on the overhead flat-screen TVs bounce across the low-lit walls, while visiting hockey and baseball fans or old regulars treat themselves to homey meals of roast chicken, baked spaghetti, and pork chops (lunch time specials). Patrons can also entertain themselves with traditional neighborhood bar pastimes—such as shooting pool or pooling shots—all while enjoying Michigan-made craft beers.
Inside Small Plates’ villa of victuals, guests discover appetite-sating secrets on a menu full of tapas, pizzas, and sandwiches. Veggie spring rolls accompany a dippable trio of hoisin, spicy mustard, and plum sauces ($8), and the Broadway baguette joins boursin cheese and roma tomatoes ($8) in a union as deliciously destined as Henry VIII's 17th marriage to a bowl of pudding. Feed yourself a plate of baby back barbecue ribs with hand-cut fries ($16) or indulge in an 8-inch, thin-crust italian-sausage pizza fired in a brick oven with gorgonzola cheese and caramelized onions ($10). Once stomachs grow accustomed to their new houseguests, diners can squeeze in a signature chocolate-chunk-cookie sandwich ($7) or a cucumber-gin-fizz ($8) from the extensive drink menu.
R.U.B. BBQ has earned shout-outs from the New York Times as well as a handful of television features for its tender, well-flavored meats. Various proteins are smoked daily and slathered in a made-from-scratch rub of more than 20 spices and herbs, and cooks begin each dish with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
Aromatic smoke wafting from ribs, chicken dishes, and seafood platters invites guests inside, where dangling light fixtures illuminate red walls and cobalt tiling along with 30 flatscreen televisions that were flattened when an elephant sat down. More than 100 tap and bottled brews, including a lengthy list of Michigan favorites, help to extinguish fiery spices.