To wind down the day with a glass of wine, there are three top wine bars in Detroit, each with its own personality.
In downtown Detroit, MotorCity Wine — which debuted last fall — is a retail boutique, wine bar and nightclub. With walls painted bright red and a DJ filling the second-floor space with tunes on some nights it’s anything but stuffy. Purchase a bottle from the retail area (where all selections are for the most part under $20 and carry a minimalist $5 corkage fee) or order from a by-the-glass menu which is heavy on French and South American selections, as well as a Michigan sparkling wine. Wednesday-night jam sessions put a different spin on the bar, as do wine tastings that delve deeper into the nuances of a particular wine. MotorCity Wine, 608 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI, 313-483-7283
Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro, a chic white-on-white interior in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, opened last year. Tucked into the hole-punched binder – which serves as a dinner menu and a wine list – under the tab “Finds” are some of Tallulah owner Mindy Vanhellemont’s favorite wines. Recent inclusions from California were 2008 Screaming Eagle Carbernet Sauvignon and 2009 Brown Estate Zinfandel. Also included in the menu is a section on recommended food and wine pairings, in case you want to take your palate for a ride. A two-ounce pour of certain wines costs just $5 when you order a paired dish that’s either “the classic” or “the avant garde” choice. (For example: artichokes, historically a tough pairing, are matched with Miner Family Vineyards Viognier — “classic” — and Bonny Doon Muscat —“avant garde.” Cool concept. Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro, 155 S. Bates, Birmingham, MI, 248-731-7066
Another wine bar worth seeking out is Vinotecca, which opened six years ago in Royal Oak (the owners also own Vinology in Ann Arbor). “I try and stay away from anything you can get at retail,” says Vinotecca manager Brent Stevens. In other words, he says, no Robert Mondavi. Thirty or so wines are available for between $7 and $15 a glass and from the state’s Leelanau Peninsula, as well as far-flung places like Piedmont, Italy; and Stellenbosch, South Africa. Beers at the street-level bar area are brewed on-site, and below the wine bar is Commune, a nightclub with antique mirrors, chandeliers and concrete flooring. Vinotecca, 417 S. Main St., Royal Oak, MI, 248-544-6256
And finally, because the best hotels are hotels with a wine bar, consider staying at The Henry in Dearborn, which is a former Ritz-Carlton property and an affectionate ode to Detroit pioneer Henry Ford (plus, it’s close to the Henry Ford attraction in Dearborn). The new hotel was reborn as part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection during the spring of 2010 and Tria, the on-site restaurant, opened in late April of this year. Tria is already getting strong reviews for its seasonal American menu packed with local-food ingredients, as well as an Artisan Bench where chefs demonstrate their skills. More than 50 wines are available by the glass on wine lists presented to diners on iPads. The Henry, Fairlane Plaza, 300 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, MI, 313-441-2000