Feb 23, 2024 - Sports

Metro Detroit's not-so-perfect sports bar options

Sports bars per capita by metro area
Data: Yelp; Note: Among 112 metro areas with at least 500K residents; Chart: Axios Visuals

When it comes to sports bars, Detroit doesn't exactly live up to its reputation as a hardcore sports town.

Why it matters: With four local professional teams, U of M and Michigan State, our sports calendar is year-round.

  • The quintessential sports-bar event — March Madness — is just weeks away. Little Caesars Arena is hosting the men's Midwest Regional on March 29 and 31.
  • That'll be followed by the NFL Draft from April 25-27.

Driving the news: Our 8.2 sports bars per 100,000 residents ranks 40th out of 112 metros with at least a half-million residents, according to data from Yelp.

  • That's ahead of Lansing (No. 42) and Grand Rapids (No. 72) but behind other Midwest cities like Milwaukee (No. 5) and Columbus (No. 16).

Yes, but: There are still plenty of excellent options here, whether you're going out downtown before a big game or just looking for a comfortable place to grab a bite and watch some football.

Between the lines: Yelp's analysis reflects a broad range of establishments that could be considered a sports bar — from chains like Applebee's to dives like downtown's Anchor Bar.

💭 Joe's thought bubble: My ideal sports bar has plenty of easy-to-see TVs, decent food and little to no wait for a seat.

  • That combination can be hard to find depending on where you live, so I asked readers for some suggestions. Here's what I heard:
Burger and onion rings and a beer.
Motor City Sports Bar's cheeseburger ($10) and onion rings ($7). Photo: Joe Guillen/Axios

Motor City Sports Bar, Hamtramck: Classic dive bar with big burgers, $2 mugs of beer and Better Made potato chips clipped to the wall behind the bar. It also serves a popular European sausage called ćevapi.

Detroiter Bar, 655 Beaubien Blvd.: Its Greektown location makes Detroiter ideal for pregaming. Also known for good food and service.

Kozy Lounge, Hazel Park: Kozy has the atmosphere of a typical neighborhood bar but the award-winning burgers taste anything but.

Others mentioned: Brass Rail, downtown; Marge's, Grosse Pointe Park; J's Penalty Box, Ferndale; Stables, Livonia; and Nemo's, Corktown.


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