Candice Simons, founder of lifestyle blog J’adore Detroit, rounds up the best places to eat, drink and shop at in downtown Detroit.
By Candice Simons
Photography by Daniela Lisi
1942 Grand River Ave., Detroit
Detroit’s Republic Tavern is chic with a hint of rustic; it has a seasonal, rotating menu that guarantees your food is always fresh and delicious. Their cocktail menu features concoctions that use freshly squeezed juices and house-made syrups.
34 West Grand River Ave., Detroit
With big, round lights, quirky wallpaper and a cute color scheme, Lovers Only is the perfect place for a photo opp. It’s also a great place to get a delicious sandwich or burger, made from high-quality Michigan ingredients. Beverages include beer, milkshakes and inexpensive cocktails.
1241 Woodward Ave., Detroit
This bustling brunch spot in the heart of downtown has a mouth-watering menu, with a variety of omelets, pancakes, French toast, sandwiches and more. Head over to the cafe’s bar for a coffee drink or cocktail while you wait for your table. The Hudson Cafe has been consistently known as one of the best places to get breakfast in the city.
1903 Grand River Ave., Detroit
With a bright, open concept with floor-to-ceiling windows, Lumen Detroit gives you the perfect view of Beacon Park. Come here to enjoy contemporary-American eats and have a drink with friends. During the holiday season, you can even enjoy a drink in one of Lumen’s igloo tents on the patio.
250 West Larned St., Detroit
Located inside the beautiful Detroit Foundation Hotel, The Apparatus Room is the perfect place to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy a meal. This beautifully decorated spot has a menu created by the talented Chef Thomas Lents.
1145 Griswold St., Detroit
With a mission to be distinguished but still contemporary, Capitol Park’s Prime + Proper prides itself on its hospitality, and of course, its steaks. Beside traditional steakhouse entrees, the menu offers other elevated fare such as duck, tartare and caviars.
800 Woodward Ave., Detroit
With a menu inspired by Detroit communities and flavors, Parc is the fairly-new, cool place to eat in downtown Detroit. The atmosphere is vibrant and fashionable, with pictures of Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn on the walls.
1942 Grand River Ave., Detroit
This modern take on classic diner breakfast food offers “brunch anytime”. Menu items include build-your-own hash, fried chicken eggs benedict, and boozy classics like mimosas and bloody Mary’s. This is Detroit, feel-good food at its finest.
1500 Woodward Avenue, Floor 2, Detroit
This vintage, industrial space located in the historic 1500 Woodward building features seasonally rotating small plates that are meant to be shared with friends. Order a few plates to pass around, as well as one of the carefully created craft cocktails.
225 Gratiot Ave., Detroit
With a dimly lit, laid-back atmosphere and a high quality, new-American menu, The Standby is the perfect place for late-night drinks and eats. This spot can be a little hard to find for newcomers, but we guarantee you’ll enjoy the array of cocktails and intimate vibe.
128 Cadillac Square, Detroit
Located above the classic Checker Bar in Cadillac Square is a bar, venue and arcade known as Pop + Offworld. Bring your friends and play classic arcade and pinball games, enjoy some New York-style pizza (a highly underrated secret weapon of the city) and sip on a cocktail or one of the numerous beers offered. Loud 80s and electronic music blares throughout the bar as you have a no-frills good time.
1274 Library St., Detroit
This hip new bar and music venue located in The Belt offers an experience unlike any other Detroit spot. With upbeat music, art all over the floor and ceiling, and black lights to make it all just a little trippier, you’ll have to alternate between taking Instagram selfies and getting your groove on. There’s also a few arcade games!
1509 Broadway, Detroit
The Candy Bar, located in the lobby of the Siren Hotel, is the pink-hued, old Hollywood cocktail bar you would think you could only see in a movie. With velvet curtains and chairs, a gorgeous vintage chandelier as its centerpiece and a lengthy list of fun craft cocktails, this bar is the perfect little spot to go to for a special occasion.
The Belt (between Broadway and Library streets), Detroit
The Skip is The Belt’s watering hole, mixing a traditional bar feel with something hip and exciting. During the warmer months, the bar opens up to the alley and serves frozen drinks and cold brews. During the holiday season, The Skip turns into a fun Christmas-themed bar with festive cocktails that will get you in the spirit.
35 E Grand River, Detroit
This beer and shot kind of bar has raw bones and a classic vibe. It’s exactly what I’m looking for on a night out with friends. This sister bar of Midtown’s Bronx Bar has the same no-frills vibe but is in no way a copycat. Come here to chill out with friends and play board games or get down to some of the best hip-hop around.
1228 Griswold St., Detroit, MI 48226
Whether you’re a grunge queen or a free-spirited wanderlust, Bird Bee has you covered. This boutique store was a gift to the ladies of Detroit when it opened its doors. From the accessories to the clothing, this store is cool-girl style all the way — a little girly and a little grit.
1430 Woodward Ave., Detroit
What started as a T-shirt collection has blossomed into so much more. Détroit Is the New Black was designed to be an inclusive brand for everyone. This Woodward Avenue storefront functions as a clothing store, art exhibit and platform for poetry. This store and brand is just as expressive as the people who wear it.
1426 Woodward Ave., Detroit
One of Woodward’s newest storefronts, Madewell brings quality denim to Detroit. The store is curated of timeless pieces for women with a classic style and tomboy flare. This stylish shop is located next to the highly anticipated Shinola Hotel.
1222 Griswold St., Detroit
City Bark is the place you want to shop for your pet and bring it along. The collection of decorative collars and bandanas will have your dog strutting its stuff in style. They also have bulk food store-style containers where your dog can sniff out its favorite treat. The store is also home to a talking cockatoo who isn’t afraid to heckle shoppers.
1435 Farmer St. Detroit
The newest friendly shop on the block is Good Neighbor. Just like the name, that’s what they intend to be. The store offers a curated collection of timeless pieces for everyone, while also featuring brands that give back to the community.
1441 Woodward Ave., Detroit
The Woodward Collective is a brick-and-mortar incubator for local entrepreneurs. The storefront is home to veteran and newbie vendors alike. It is a true reflection of the diverse talents and people who make up our community. The store has items for to match everyone’s unique styles.
90 Erskine St., Detroit
The once mostly-online shop for men has a new home on Erskine Street. The best news is, they offer a women’s clothing now too. If you’re inspired by music, art and creative thinking, then this shop will really speak to you. The clothing has a streetwear-meets-contemporary vibe, with a no rules kind of style.
Capitol Park and Cadillac Square make it easy to shop local favorites at their holiday markets. Spend time strolling through a village of miniature glass cabin-like shops. While you’re there, warm up inside one of the winter lodges or even buy a real Christmas tree at Capitol Park. Listed below are some of our favorite vendors.
- Little High Flyers — a kid’s boutique with unique clothes and so much more!
- 248 Studio — art inspired by the what you see and the city around you.
- Tiani Body Care — natural body care made with locally sourced ingredients.
- Mitten Crate — specialty gift boxes filled with Michigan-made food products.
- Guilt Chocolate — hand-painted European style bonbons.
- GoodBoy Clothing — a Flint-based streetwear brand featuring T-shirts, shoes, backpacks and more.
- Ashley Gold — handmade, fashionable sterling silver and stainless-steel jewelry.
- Dolly Rocker’s Handmade & Vintage — vintage and handmade clothing and accessories.
- Kiloh + Co. — local women’s clothing boutique focusing on positivity and a love for Detroit.
- POST Detroit — furniture, picture frames and home goods made from reclaimed wood.
- True Desserts — raw vegan desserts free from soy, gluten, refined sugar and GMOs.