Address: 2130 Michigan Ave., Detroit, Michigan (next to Slow’s BBQ)
Hours: Sun-Thurs. 5 pm- midnight. Fri-Sat 5 pm- 2 am
Type: Cocktail Bar
Appearance/atmosphere: On the outside and inside, The Sugar House Bar is contemporary and appealing, if a little dull. Dark paint and exposed brick on the inside. The bar itself is nice and spacious, although the dazzling array of bottles behind it steal the show. Tables are also available. Bathrooms were clean and matched the muted contemporary décor of the rest of the establishment, but they had those weird waterless urinals. For reasons I can’t explain, they give me the creeps. My friend reported that the women’s bathroom was nice.
The atmosphere is fun and casual. It was fairly easy to hear my drinking companion and the bartender.
Service: Service was excellent. Brandon was our bartender and he did an excellent job of suggesting cocktails for both of us. One of Sugar Bar’s specialties is building a drink around whatever mixer or liquor
Menu/Selection: The drinks menu was nice, and most of my friend’s drinks came off it, while mine were all time-honored standards. I had the three classic whiskey drinks: Manhattan, Sazerac and an Old Fashioned. I took notes on what my friend had but a toddler walked out with them. From what I recall, she had two flip-type drinks and one called a Petruchio. She is in no way shrewish, but she loved it (you’re welcome English majors). She even loved the ones I had, despite repeatedly stating how she doesn’t care for whiskey (due to a HS experience involving Black Velvet and Grape Faygo).
The selection of mixers and liquors behind the bar was impressive. The bourbon and rye was most impressive of all. Just about every major label rye on the market was there: Sazerac, Rittenhouse, Beam, Wild Turkey, Bulleit, the new Woodford Reserve ryes, and even a four year old Willet rye (used to make my Sazerac cocktail). The bourbon selection was vast as well with plenty of sipping and mixing bourbons. There was also a good selection of Mezcal and Islay Single Malts. Not to mention a truly bewildering selection of liqueurs and other mixers including house-made ones.
Prices: The drinks are pretty expensive, most of them being in the low double digits price-wise, but these are craft cocktails and damn good ones. No complaints. We got what we paid for and more.
Transportation: We went on a weeknight, but it still seemed like there would be plenty of parking on Michigan Ave. on a weekend, although a multi-block walk might be in required. The 37 DDOT bus runs the length of Michigan Avenue and is a good option for those in Detroit or even Dearborn. From Dearborn and points west the 200 SMART bus goes down Michigan. Transit from the north is more of a challenge, but if timed right, a transfer or even a walk from one of the Woodward SMART stops should do the trick. Taxis are also an option, of course.
Parting Words: My friend and I had a great experience. Great service, fantastic drinks and good service. The Sugar House Bar gets a big recommendation.