Drinking Underground: 5 Basement Bars You’ll Love

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If you like a good bar in a unique setting you’ve found the right place. Here’s a list of good bars that also happen to be in the basement – a rarity in metro Detroit.

This list has bars that are fancy, bars that are historic, but they’re all unique and fun – and below ground.

So let’s head downstairs for a drink and knock every one out on the list!

1. The Keep

Meet the newest bar on the list. The owner (and often bartender) has served up fun in New Orleans, so he knows how to party. The bar is in the basement of an old triangle-shaped building downtown and the giant stones that make up the walls are just awesome. It’s one of those rare places you can get an awesome craft cocktail AND a High Life if you’re looking for one. Remember the entrance is off of Congress Street.

140 Cadillac Square in Detroit – Facebook

2. London Chop House

This is the fanciest entrant on our list. “The Chop,” as it’s affectionately called by their patrons, is a Detroit icon since 1938. It’s worth the Happy Hour trip just for the tons of historic Detroit memorabilia in showcases. It, like the neighboring Buhl Bar, often has a “who’s who” of Detroit as clientele, and rumor has it that it has been the favorite of a few previous mayors. If you stick to drinks, your bill won’t get too high. The food’s great, but dinner here is not cheap eats. No jeans.

155 West Congress, Detroit – Facebook

3. Jolly Old Timer’s Club

The JOT is an under-appreciated Detroit landmark. It has a friendly crowd and laid-back vibe, located in the basement of what looks like a house. Check out the pictures on the way down, and talk to members (it’s a social club that’s been in the building nearly 50 years but open to the public on certain nights) about the old Gotham Hotel or just jaw about sports, always a favorite topic. Solid food, too. Only open Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday evenings and you need to be buzzed in. One of the best Detroit-y nights you’re going to find.

641 West Forest, Detroit – Facebook

4. The Polish Village Cafe

In the basement of what used to be a 31-room gentleman’s hotel built in 1925, just off of what used to be the second most popular shopping district in the nation (Hamtramck on Jos. Campau) is the Polish Village Cafe. Get filling Polish fare along with a drink. One can only imagine how awesome it must have been in the day to hop on the old Baker Street streetcar and hop off near here and get yourself a drink. Sadly, there’s no streetcar nearby today, but you should still hop out of your car and check it out.

2990 Yemans, Hamtramck – Website

5. Frank’s Eastside Tavern

This is a burger and beer bar in a basement. It’s in Mt. Clemens, a suburb that’s so old (1818) that it used to be “the country” and where to go for a vacation and a mineral bath. This particular establishment has roots as a speakeasy and a history more than a century old. It’s in an old farmhouse; today, fields have been traded for the suburbs. But the fun is still here, just be warned if you’re a tall guy you’re going to have to duck as the ceiling is low.

126 Avery Street, Mt. Clemens – Website

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