Pedaling To The Pints: A Tested Road Map For A Detroit Bike Share Bar Crawl

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Although bike-sharing initially arrived in downtown Detroit several years ago for members of the locally notorious “Family of Companies” in the Gilbert empire via Zagster, it was not widely available to the masses until the launch of MoGo last month.

MoGo is Detroit’s first widely available bike sharing service with 43 stations across the city. All early indications are that it is a success, with the court of public opinion deeming it a much more customer friendly and viable option (at least for now) than the mixed bag of emotions that is the QLINE.

Bikes before the MoGo bike share launch. Daily Detroit photo.

The MoGo stations are strategically placed throughout the greater downtown area to allow riders to be able to dock and “share” bikes at points of interest and centers of activity. The pricing structure is straightforward, however one wrinkle in the MoGo system requires some strategic planning for any would-be rider.

Under the current pricing model riders can make unlimited trips of 30 minutes of less. Meaning once you grab a bike from any station, you must dock that bike at one of the 42 other stations within 30 minutes and grab another one to continue use, otherwise additional costs arise after each 30 minute interval.

Although this may seem like a tedious money grab by the designers it serves a very practical purpose. It ensures that riders are not taking the bikes out and parking them somewhere for hours at a time and therefore defeating the “share” portion this program.

Although many practical functions exist for this type of service my immediate thought upon learning about the program was “Can I make this a bar crawl?”

So with a printed station map directly from the MoGo website in hand and my favorite adventure companion by my side I sketched out what would be a comprehensive but efficient jaunt around my beloved city. Mapping the route was not necessarily difficult however ensuring I wouldn’t be out on the bike for more than 30 minutes at a time made for some important logistical calculations.

I won’t spoil the ending and reveal if I was successful in my maiden voyage “bike share bar crawl” but my hope is that you’ll follow along with my days itinerary and be inspired follow in my tread marks or create your own path.

Stop 1: Capitol Park Station:

Avalon Bakery: Crucial to get some fuel in your system for the day and Avalon’s fresh and hearty offerings are the perfect base for your trek. My drink suggestion? Start your breakfast off with a coffee and finish with one of their several local beers on tap.

Other potential stops: Calexico, La Lanterna

Stop 2: Jos Campau & Guoin: approx. 25 minute ride:

Atwater Brewery: A scenic ride down Woodward and along the riverfront takes you to this Rivertown standby. If you haven’t been recently you’ll want to note that they have now added a rooftop beer garden, perfect for sipping on a Dirty Blonde or Locals Light as you soak up some sun and prepare for your next leg of the journey.

Other potential stops: Andrew’s on the Corner, They Say, Rattlesnake Club

Stop 3: Gratiot & Russell Station (Eastern Market) approx. 18 minute ride:

Gather: Several very respectable spots to check out near Eastern Market but we decided to go with one of the newbie’s in town and was happy we did. The temperature was rising so the colder the drink, the better which meant the Rose’ slushy that was on the menu was just about the perfect drink for the situation. If I had the time to stay for one more beverage the Bloody Mary looked tantalizing, but we had to be on our way.

Other potential stops: Detroit City Distillery, Vivio’s, Stache International

Stop 4: Second Avenue & Prentis Station: approx. 17 minute ride:

Royale With Cheese: Making our way into Midtown it was due time in the journey for another stop to fuel up, and decided on another relative newcomer to the scene in Royale With Cheese, the decadent burger establishment on Cass. The Kruncher and its jalapeno potato chips and green chili queso proved to be a winning choice.

Other potential stops: Bronx Bar, Motor City Brew Works, Traffic Jam & Snug

Devon O’Reilly outside of Old Miami.

Stop 5: Second & Selden Station: approx. 2 minute walk

Old Miami, Selden Standard: Rather than get on our bikes for the next trip we decided to make the short walk down the street to the venerable Old Miami, after all the temperature was approaching 90 degrees and the siren song of the lush backyard was calling our name. We then wandered over to Selden Standard just as they were opening their evening service for a surprisingly refreshing whiskey and lemon cocktail from the always impressive seasonal menu.

Other Potential stops: Honest Johns?

Stop 6: Wabash & Michigan Avenue Station: approx. 14 minute ride

Motor City Wine, Sugar House: From the Mogo station just across the street from the restaurant on Selden we zig zagged our way through the Cass Corridor, around Motor City Casino and down Trumbull until we reached Corktown. Continuing to take advantage of the gorgeous day we had stumbled into Motor City Wine and its eclectic but cozy patio became our destination. A nice glass of Chardonnay would be a great choice here but this time around I opted for a cold bottle of Hakutsuru draft sake. Across the street at Sugar House we found a spot on their small and semi-secret patio in the back and tried a couple whimsical offerings from their “Corktown Carnival” summer cocktail menu.

Other potential stops: Bobcat Bonnies, Gold Cash Gold, Two James Spirits

View from the Aloft Bar looking at the inside of the David Whitney

Stop 7: Grand Circus Park Station: approx. 9 minute ride

WXYZ Bar (David Whitney Building): Making our way back downtown for the final stop of the day we opted for the one bar where we could still capture the fleeting rays of the waning sun. I wound down the eventful journey with a cold Summer Shandy draught and we plopped ourselves on one of the comfortable couches set up outside. The only thing left to do was pull that trusty map back out and begin plotting the next boozy bike adventure.

Other potential stops: Rusted Crow, Cornerstone Barrel House, The Royce

BONUS: Of course you can follow the hand-drawn map, but if you take this post with you if you decide to go, here’s a Google Map with every bike share stop on the tour.

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