Though well versed in whipping up hearty salads and gourmet pizzas, the true culinary calling of iBurger Lounge’s chefs lies in the art of burger creation. As chefs man the sizzling grills and chop cheese into thick, meltable slices, savory wafts of halal-certified beef patties and sautéed wild mushrooms drift from the kitchen to greet patrons eagerly awaiting their meals in the window-lined dining room. Daring to depart from the burger’s traditional beefy nature, the staff delights in assembling atypical bun-ensconced noshes, from a burger forged from crab cakes to a vegetarian iteration that replaces the patty with a portobello mushroom. In the warmer months, an alfresco eating area beckons guests outside for open-air munching, protecting them from the elements with snowy white umbrellas who aren't afraid to punch the wind.
Vegas-style drag shows. DJ-helmed dance parties. At Stilettos, there is no such thing as a dull moment—the hot spot has been entertaining the Detroit metropolitan area, particularly the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, for almost two decades. On any given day, performers take the stage to incite revelry, backed by a host of drink specials, making the nightclub an ideal locale for bachelorette parties and birthdays. Both female and male impersonators strut their stuff, showcasing their best Cher, Reba McEntire, or Michael Jackson performance. Bands such as singer-songwriter duo Mama's Black Sheep croon blues-tinged tunes, and DJs pump infectious hits to move the crowds without periodically pulling the fire alarm.
Nested in downtown's historic Kresge Building, The Red Grape Lounge fetes Motown history and soul with retro décor, choice tunes, and a savory menu. A roster appetizers encourages bellies to warm up their digestive chops as fingers nab crisp sweet-potato fries or couples synchronize chews with six fiery jalapeño poppers. Teeth tear into succulent entrees, from 9 ounces of marinated rib-eye steak to one of four burgers to fried catfish on a bed of greens. Meanwhile, a bottle of wine from Red Grape's curated list accompanies quartets and inspires conversations about renaming a child "Chardonnay", with eight varieties from Australia, including Lineman's Bin medium-bodied '99 pinot noir that lingers on the tongue with aromas of red berry.
As the doors of Skybar Lounge’s wood-paneled elevator slide open, customers are immersed in a sleek atmosphere enlivened by driving bass beats and the icy rattle of the bartenders' shakers as they prepare 25 signature martinis. Moroccan-style lamps cast a warm glow over patrons sharing tapas plates of prime beef sky sliders and calamari with house sweet chili sauce in between enjoying panoramic views of the city skyline, flickering streetlights, and nannies flying back to England.
At Centaur, the martini is monarch. The menu of seasonally changing cocktails ($9 each, $5 during happy hour) leaves no taste unexplored. The toasted-almond martini swizzles together vanilla, almonds, cocoa, and cinnamon, while the Detroiter uses hometown-hero Vernors ginger ale with splashes of vanilla vodka and spiced rum. Secret agents on the lam after a botched attempt to blow up a supervillain's volcano lair can unwind with the .007 martini's mix of vodka, gin, strawberry, and basil while awaiting further instructions from contacts "Hansel and Gretel," who are enjoying a gingerbread-flavored martini at the other end of the bar. In addition to an extensive selection of beers and wines, Centaur also offers a menu of gourmet small plates for stomachs not quite satisfied by toothpicked olives. Try an ounce of Sevruga caviar ($50), Maryland crab cakes with lobster cream sauce ($10), or three gourmet mini-burgers ($6).