The Detroit Experience Factory hosted their second annual #DXFchallenge this summer. As a newbie to Detroit, I was convinced to take on the challenge alongside our social media expert, Alex Fulbright. (She lives in the D and was a great guide to navigate the bars and eateries on the list.)
Let me break it down. There is a beautiful list the Detroit Experience Factory compiles of all the bars and eateries in Detroit, this year’s round-up had 303. The challenge is to visit as many of them as possible between June 1 and August 31. As you visit and make a purchase, you must take a photo at the establishment and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #DXFchallenge.
Is it the cheapest activity to do in the D? Probably not. Nevertheless, it was probably the most fun. Not to mention, I learned a lot along the way!
1. The Food
If you didn’t know already, Detroit has got it going on when it comes to the eats. Midwesterners take their food seriously, and Detroit is no exception.
(L) Small Plates pretty much changed my life. The selection is incredible and the food is out of this world. I’m a sucker for Chicken & Waffles, and oh man, did they deliver. (R) For some lighter fare that doesn’t require a dress or stretchy pants, The Brooklyn Street Local serves up an amazing kale salad and has a quaint outdoor seating area perfect for lunchtime.
2. The Drinks
Weekdays are for happy hours, right? Okay, maybe not. But they sure make the week a little more fun. The Motor City is rocking the bar scene right now. Whether you’re into craft beer or craft cocktails, you can wet your whistle with some of the best drinks right here in Detroit.
(L) We were lucky to catch Detroit City Distillery in Eastern Market during their Summer of Gin and tried four of the six limited-edition gins created in celebration of the season. (M) I even got my out-of-town boyfriend in on the fun; we enjoyed fresh beer out of mason jars at Batch Brewing Company in Midtown. (R) Alex and I visited Townhouse Detroit during their opening week to see what all the rage was about, and we were not disappointed by their signature cocktails and atmosphere.
Perhaps you’re looking for something to start the day with. Good news, Detroit has that too!
(L) Great Lakes Coffee will rock your socks with their unique lavender latte. Yes, you read that right, lavender latte; and you just will not understand the hype until you try it for yourself. Do it. (R) I needed an afternoon pick-me-up one day and headed to Roasting Plant Detroit. Not only do they carry premium coffee, they have an awesome set up to spruce your coffee just the way you like. Beer taps for creamers – brilliant. They also have cookie dough shots – uncooked dough balls with chunks of dark chocolate, and that is reason enough for me to visit any establishment.
3. The Sweets
I’m a sucker for anything loaded with sugar, chocolate and deliciousness. This worked out in my favor, because Detroit has a plethora of sweet treats to offer.
(L) I ordered banana and coconut gelato at Krema and it was seriously magical, like lying on the white sands of a Caribbean beach magical. (M) I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to macaroons because I had my very first one in France, the motherland of macaroons. I’m here to tell you that Astoria gives the French a run for their money. They also make a mean cannoli. I have no self-control in Astoria. (R) Bon Bon Bon offers uniquely flavored handcrafted chocolates. This is the REAL box of chocolate. Each one is packaged in a tiny cute box ready to be enjoyed at your convenience. In the picture, I purchased #41- Whiskey Lullabye (whiskey caramel, chamomile dark chocolate ganache and candied chamomile – also known as complete perfection.)
4. The Pride
The people in Detroit LOVE Detroit. The feeling of resurgence and excitement in the city is infectious. I feel it at any Detroit game, strolling the Detroit Riverwalk, picking up lunch or grabbing a drink with friends; it’s everywhere. People working, living and enjoying the Motor City are proud to call it home. Detroiters also just happen to be the best people in the Midwest.
(L) This photo includes two young professionals that Detroit claimed from NYC, as well as two wonderful people that make the fun happen at Detroit Experience Factory. It was at Wright & Company that I tried a cocktail truly unlike any other, The Diablo. It’s not on the menu, but if you enjoy tequila and a spicy kick, this is for you. (M) Kate bought tickets to this Detroit Experience Factory bar tour for her mom, Pat. They live in metro Detroit but Pat had wanted to explore downtown and the bar tour was the perfect place to do it. The Cornerstone Barrel House has an outstanding whiskey selection, I recommend trying a classic whiskey sour made with Traverse City Whiskey Cherry. (R) My friend, my boyfriend and I enjoyed beers before a Detroit Tiger’s game in Greektown. The Detroiter has some awesome happy hour appetizer specials, and honestly, could the name be more perfect?
5. The Fun
As the pictures show, it’s no secret that I’ve had fun. I came to Detroit from a tiny college town in the middle of nowhere Michigan. I could have chosen any city. However, when the opportunity came to work in Detroit, I couldn’t pass it up. Detroit has it all! Great teams (the Lions may not apply), delicious food, tasty drinks, a multitude of theatres to enjoy a show, incredible local shops, hard-working professionals; it’s all here. I could come into Detroit any day or night of the week and there would be something fun happening somewhere.
(L) One of my favorite friends got married this summer. We spent her bachelorette party frolicking downtown Detroit and having too much fun with every stop along the way. We learned that Punch Bowl Social does indeed have punch bowls. (M) I HAMMed it up as much as I could to keep the pictures interesting as not to bore my followers. The Old Miami in Midtown has a backyard that feels like your own. Sometimes cheap beer and kicking it on a deck is just what the doctor ordered. (R) More often than not, the challenge gave me a chance to hang out with co-workers outside of work. A short walk from the office took us many places. This day, we enjoyed drinks while we soaked up some of the summer sun at Checker Bar in Cadillac Square.
Since starting to work in Detroit, this challenge has brought me some of my favorite memories so far. The city is pulsating with new and fun experiences to be had.
What are some of your favorite Detroit bars and eateries? Share in the comment section below! I am always up for a new place to try.