Detroit’s Sweetwater Tavern Makes List of 21 Best Chicken Wing Restaurants In America

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Sweetwater Tavern in downtown Detroit.

Anyone who has lived in the city for awhile knows that Detroit knows how to do wings. Hot, mild, sweet, tangy or somewhere in between, the D has a plethora of wings for a variety of tastes. One of the more talked about places is Sweetwater Tavern, located in one of the few buildings that is left from the old days of Detroit at the corner of Brush and Congress.

The place is warm and wings are solid, as Thrillist notes:

Sweetwater ditches the practice of offering a bajillion different sauce options to specialize in only one, and it’s frequently heralded as Michigan’s best wing.

We have been a multitude of times, but Sweetwater is one of those places that a regular downtowner might take for granted but, they really shouldn’t. They serve food at all hours, they always have the bar going and it seems there’s a steady pace of people no matter the time you visit.

Revisiting today, inspired by the accolade from Thrillist, was like visiting an old friend. The Sweetwater Tavern wing is a delicate balance of fresh ingredients from Eastern Market, as well as a set of flavors that will not only leave your fingers orange but your palate more than satisfied if you like a slightly sweeter sauce with a vinegar flair. There’s a bite to it, but you won’t have to call the fire department for a five-alarm wing-mergency.

Another great feature is the old building. The front windows have an arch to them from a bygone era, and there is a back section so the place has more seats than it might look initially considering the narrow footprint of the structure. Sweetwater has been around for three decades, but the building, from what we’re told, has been there since the mid-1800’s. If someone has pictures of the old place when it was another incarnation, we’d love to see them.

The exact address is 400 East Congress Street in Detroit. There are three additional “express” locations which you can find on their website.

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  • They have photos on the walls inside near the back of the building during Prohibition, amongst other times.

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