Even though we’re coming up on the two year anniversary of the grand finale of Mad Men, it’s clear the show and its characters have left an indelible mark on collective pop culture.
Try and find a new office or commercial renovation that isn’t dripping with mid-century modern, or “hip” creative workplace that doesn’t come equipped with an in-office bar cart to delight the would be Peggy’s, Pete’s, and Harry’s of today’s millennial workforce.
The “Incredulous Don Draper” meme (you know the one) is used to mock everything from work ethic to lack of drinking prowess and the Old Fashioned has become a staple of every respectable cocktail menu.
People, especially young professionals, seem to have a desire to re-create the mood, aura, and experience of the era (minus the blatant misogyny and racism of course).
Luckily for those people Detroit still has those places where you can relax in the decor and spirit of Don and the gang from Sterling Cooper.
Tucked away at the bottom of where else, the Buhl Building, Buhl Bar may capture the essence of the quintessential Mad Man watering hole better than anywhere on this list. Open for Happy Hour only, the crowd is a who’s who of lawyers, executives, and big time deal makers. The intimate and discrete setting is perfect for after work rendezvous and just for the record, they may serve the best Manhattan in town.
535 Griswold Street in Detroit
To my knowledge the only bar in Detroit mentioned by name on the actual show, the Chophouse has been the spot for dinner in Detroit as far back as the swingin’ sixties. The cozy and dark below ground bar and dining room are seemingly untouched since the era and you can almost feel the ghosts of ad men, gangsters, and politicians from bygone eras as you loosen your tie, sip your Old Fashioned, and gulp down your Oysters Rockefeller.
155 W Congress Street in Detroit
A relatively new addition to the Detroit bar scene that expertly captures the feel of different era, Whisky Parlor is located just above the Grand Trunk and offers cozy seating, an extensive scotch list, and almost nightly music of some sort.
608 Woodward Avenue in Detroit
If you’ve ever set foot inside this place you know why it made the list. Oozing a retro casual atmosphere and far from the see and be seen business crowd of downtown, I imagine Northern Lights is the place Don would take someone he didn’t want to be seen with but knew would appreciate some live music and a good time. Also, unlike most of the other places on this list the drink prices won’t hurt your wallet nearly as much.
660 West Baltimore Street in Detroit
Although nothing about the décor or ambiance screams Mad Men, this place makes the list because it’s absolutely the type of place modern day Don Drapers and Rogers Sterling’s would wine and dine clients. The preeminent “power-lunch” spot in the city, I’ve already mentioned it in a previous article as a place to catch the movers and shakers of Detroit but it also holds a treasure trove of whiskey and scotch selections, some of which you might have to make partner at the firm to be able to afford.
500 Woodward Avenue in Detroit
This place would’ve been considered retro even in Burt Coopers day but it also would be the place all of the high society folks with their names on the buildings would have enjoyed their dinners, followed by cigars brandy of course. You may not be able to enjoy the cigar part but just about every other aspect of this scenario is re-creatable from the simple yet exquisite dinner menu to the dim lit after-dinner enclaves of the 3rd floor Ghost Bar.
4421 Woodward Avenue in Detroit
Throw on the white dinner jacket, find a date to show off on your arm, and pack your appetite, Joe Muer does fine dining and seafood as good as anyone. From the old school black and white tile in the bar area to the grand piano providing musical ambiance to the dining room, this is a place that would be just as recognizable in 1967 as 2017. Also of note is that this place doubles as a fantastic happy hour with a half off cocktail menu from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
400 Renaissance Center #1404 in Detroit
Bonus: Caucus Club
Although not a current establishment just yet, the Caucus Club is one of the most highly anticipated restaurant openings of the year, especially to those who can still recall spending an evening here during its heyday in the 1960s.
It’s famously where Barbara Streisand worked as a lounge singer in the early 60s and from the looks of the renderings and construction so far (peeking in the windows) the new iteration will stay true to the original and become staple for all of the modern day Motor City Mad Men and Women.
In the Penobscot Building
Editor’s Note: Enjoy this? There’s more of Devon’s Detroit right here.