There’s no sign, just a blue and yellow flag flapping in the breeze to let you know something special is waiting behind the nondescript barred door. Sitting on the corner of Vernor Highway and Lansing Street in Mexicantown is a bar that will transport you away from the gloomy gray Detroit landscape and into a tropical paradise. Well, at least you can pretend you’ve been whisked away once inside the Mutiny Bar.
Taking a seat on the 1970s vinyl chairs under the the faux thatched roof of the bar, it’s easy to forget the worn street you walked in from. Christmas light laden fish nets on the ceiling, wicker furniture, and a model ship tucked into the curtained window round out the classic tiki dive bar theme. The Mutiny Bar is the latest creation of the Detroit Optimist Society. While known for trendy watering holes, such as the Petersboro and Wright & Co, they also own my favorite dive in Detroit: Honest John’s. I felt right at home in this tropical hole in the wall.
The Mutiny Bar isn’t just about looks. The Polynesian theme is backed up by a slate of classic boozy juice drinks. Harvey Wallbanger, Monkey Punch, Mai Tai, and Painkillers served in kitchy tiki glasses. Load up your belly on some fine Mexican food beforehand or you’ll be floating in the South Pacific in no time. Taqueria El Rey is a few doors down for a quick bite and several other popular sit down restaurants are just down the street.
During our visit to the Mutiny Bar, we learned how to make a few drinks of our own and also watched some demos of others. Of course, we were more than willing to taste the goods. In a sea of trendy cocktail bars and brewpubs, the Mutiny Bar’s throwback style is both comforting and fun. Nothing pretentious here, just good drinks at affordable prices. The free street side parking won’t break the bank either, unlike the downtown Detroit core. Like Honest John’s, you feel welcome and can relax with friends here.
The Mutiny Bar is open Wednesday through Sunday evenings. Visit their website for a comprehensive drink list (with actual prices!) and the address to find this hidden gem.