In one of many memorable scenes from Pulp Fiction, a favorite movie from my adolescence, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) scoffs at the idea of his date ordering a $5 milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slims, the garish 50’s sock hop restaurant straight out of Quentin Tarantino’s dreams.
Incredulously, he wonders how a drink with milk and ice cream could cost $5.
“You don’t put bourbon in it or anything?” he asks. Once the shake arrives his curiosity dictates that he has to try the aforementioned concoction. The verdict is a little explicit for polite conversation but suffice to say he concedes that although he’s still not sure if it’s worth $5 – but it might just be the best milkshake he’s ever had in his life.
I couldn’t help but think of this scene when hearing some of the initial reactions to Bad Luck Bar and their menagerie of expertly crafted cocktails ranging from $18-$80.
The sentiment was similar to Vince’s in that the idea of spending $27 (the average price for a drink there) was borderline ludicrous and surely not something Detroit bar goers would ever blow their money on.
What they may have not counted on though is the growing number of cocktail enthusiasts and libation aficionados who would gladly fork over their hard earned dollars to taste some of the best and most expertly crafted cocktails this side of Lake Michigan.
Because really, the closest you’re going to find anything like this place is the upper echelon of Chicago’s cocktail bars. If you’ve ever experienced the cocktail scenes in places like San Francisco, Manhattan, or Boston you’re familiar with the 20-something dollar cocktails.
When you consider the truly unique atmosphere you’ll find yourself in, it would be easy to forget you got there by wandering down a back alley in downtown Detroit.
The service is impeccable and attentive, the setting is certainly trendy but decidedly cozy, and the presentation and pageantry of the drinks is above and beyond anything you can currently experience in the Detroit area. If that’s not enough to sell you, you’ll even be given a warm rum and cinnamon aperitif.
If you’re going to do just one drink, try The Tower. That’s a 12-year Scotch, chamomile tea, baklava honey syrup, atomized Fernet-Branca and as an extra touch, garnished with a lemon peel with Detroit branded on it.
Like Mia Wallace and her shake choice, I may never be able to convince you that it’s worth paying upwards of $30 for a single drink. The best I can do is encourage you to try it and decide for yourself.
To echo the Vincent Vegas sentiment: I don’t know if it’s worth $30, but it’s a pretty good cocktail and despite the name you’ll feel pretty lucky while you’re there.