City Guides Episodes

TFB #13 – Detroit

In this episode, I talk with Mike Geeter, a lifelong Detroit area resident and stand-up comic. We talk about his career in comedy, the Detroit comedy scene, and, of course, our favorite spots in Detroit.

This was really fun to do as it was recorded at United Sound Systems Studio, a legendary recording studio where many musical greats, including Aretha Franklin, once belted out tunes. It was such an incredible experience and I thank United Sound for helping facilitate the recording.


Much has been said about Detroit’s plight. A lot has changed since its heydey as an industrial powerhouse. Architectural blight still dots the city on the river, but money is now being poured into a once desolate downtown by major firms and budding entrepreneurs. There’s an energy in Detroit that’s been missing for a long time. Or, as a Detroiter would say, “it’s been a minute.”

One of the best aspects of living in the Detroit area for the last five years has been the explosion of the food and cocktail scene. Young, creative restauranteurs have set up shop, making Detroit a quietly wonderful dining destination. Couple this with first-rate museums, great shopping, and mediocre professional sports, the city is a legitimately good vacation destination for budget-conscious “foodies”.

Here are some of my favorite spots:

Bad Luck Bar

A speakeasy downtown serving some of the most creative, albeit pricey, cocktails you’ll find anywhere. There’s a great reward. for walking down a back alley in Detroit. Well, not all of them. Just this one.


Selden Standard

Small plates and craft cocktails in the Midtown area. SS has a bar so good and mixologist so adept the Fanwife have never actually sat in the dining area. We enjoy the show and the chatter of high tops. This is Fanwife’s favorite restaurant in all of Detroit, for those of you keeping score at home.


Voyager

A small seafood joint in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale. An exemplary bar staff complements the frequently changing, always fresh menu featuring small plates and oysters. One of my favorite restaurants of all time, anywhere.


El Barzon

Hidden in Detroit’s Mexicantown, the menu is mixed with upscale Mexican and Italian food. It’s not fusion, just both cuisines done exceptionally well. Here you’ll find some of the best bronzini anywhere. I mean anywhere. An outdoor patio makes for great spring and summer dining.


Prime and Proper

Quality doesn’t come cheap at this upscale American steakhouse. It has a swanky vibe, exceptional beef, and attentive service. If you’re looking to treat yourself, this is the place to do it.


Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA, to me, is the crown jewel of Detroit. In the heart of Midtown, the DIA is an absolutely beautiful space, featuring work by world-famous creators. The Detroit Industry Murals by Diego Rivera are a can’t miss.


Henry Ford Museum

While Ford’s significance in the industrial age is a prominent theme, this is much more than a celebration of the automobile. The museum houses some of the most important relics of American history. You can sit on the actual bus in which Rosa Parks made her famous protest (pictured above), view the chair on which President Lincoln was assassinated, and stand next to the Kennedy limousine. Sorry, that’s an assassination heavy list. I’ve been several times and I’m marveled during each walkthrough.


This, of course, is only a few of the many fantastic options in and around town. Some of you may not be convinced, but trust me, Detroit is a city worth considering. It’s historic, it’s beautiful, and it has a lot going on. Take in a ballgame, do some shopping, and grab a cocktail in this culturally rich, significant city. I sincerely hope you get a chance to visit someday.

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