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Esquire magazine proclaims Detroit 'Bar City of the Year' 2014

The Sun goes down on downtown Detroit.
The Sun goes down on downtown Detroit.
Photo by: Sean Genereaux

Congratulations Detroit! We finally made it to the big leagues! To many, this may come as breaking news, but to those who frequent Detroit and its surrounding neighborhoods this should arrive as no surprise. Esquire magazine has declared Detroit its "Bar City of the Year" for 2014 in an article written by David Wondrich in their June/July issue on newsstands now. Yep. You read that right. Detroit. Not New York, not L.A., not Las Vegas, not even Chicago. Detroit.

At this point, a brief background on David Wondrich seems appropriate, as nowadays any writer with a Macbook and a web page can declare something as the biggest or best of something. Wondrich, who has a PhD in Comparative Literature, has been a longtime Drinks Correspondent for Esquire magazine.

"(Wondrich) is widely hailed as the world’s foremost authority on the history of the cocktail and one of the founders of the modern craft cocktail movement. He is a founding partner in Beverage Alcohol Resource, America’s leading advanced training program for bartenders and other mixologists. He also is a frequent guest lecturer at venues such as the Smithsonian Institute, the American Museum of Natural History and top bars on five continents and ships at sea." - (

Now that the formalities are out of the way we can all relax. This guy's got the chops and he's legit. It should be noted that his assessment of our fair city came during its most unappealing time of year (March) and during its worst winter in history, yet somehow this man still found us to be the best. Take that Miami!

In his article, Wondrich makes note of the bitter cold and "unsettling" sights Detroit has to offer, but he claims these factors are negated by the "lively" people who frequent Detroit's varied selection of watering holes. He writes, "While Detroit exteriors may be forbidding, its interiors are anything but." Wondrich manages to get a taste of everything, visiting a diverse range of bars and pubs including: Grand Trunk Pub, Greenwich Time, Old Miami, Cliff Bell's, Town Pump, Sugar House and Mercury Bar, just to name a few. His best line from the article, and a theme that should be copied and seen on every t-shirt wearing Detroiter in town was, "Resurrection or not, this is our new favorite drinking town." We couldn't agree more. Welcome to the party.

For more of Dr. David Wondrich, check out his past Esquire articles here, his Facebook page here and follow his Twitter feed @DavidWondrich.

Source: Wondrich, David. (2014, June/July). Detroit Bar City of the Year. Esquire, 68-72.

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