Dive Into Michigan’s Mitt!

The history of Michigan’s thumb is filled with booms and busts from the logging and shipping industries. With the boom come these quaint small towns, filled with eager workers. With the bust comes forgotten historical buildings and bars with old-timey charm. Some of these bars have made it through to the 21st century despite being off the beaten path and we think they deserve a showcase! So here are The Weekend Route’s top 3 historical dive bars in Michigan’s Thumb.

Photo by: @beautifuldivebars

Starting off our dive bar road trip in Detroit, Michigan with Abick’s Bar. Abick’s has been owned and operated by the same family for 111 years now and their commitment to treating customers like family holds strong. Abick’s is known in the neighborhood for being the place where people can come together, laugh and chat with each other and have an honest home-cooked meal.

Photo by: @ulrichtk

Manya Abick, the daughter of the original owners of Abick’s, was born in 1921 to Polish immigrant parents. She started working in the family business at 18. She continued to run the bar well into her 90’s, making homemade chilli and greeting customers until her death in 2014. Everyone who comes to visit Abick’s still remembers Manyas warmth and continues to uphold the familial atmosphere at Abick’s. The bar fell victim to the wood panelling craze in the 50’s, its eclectic decor and “my uncle’s house” feel to the bar now earns it its dive bar status.

Photo by: @beautifuldivebars

Detroit’s oldest family-operated bar is the best place to start off our list of Historic dive bars in Michigan, so enjoy a pint, have a gander at the wealth of history on the walls from the Abick family and don’t forget to leave a tip on the old brass cash register

Bringing us to the historic Forester Inn, in Forester, Michigan and the tragic ghost story of Minnie Quay. The Forester inn was built in 1871 by George Tanner when Forrester was a booming lumber town. Shortly after its construction, the inn witnessed one of the most tragic events in the history of Forester, the drowning of Minnie Quay. Minnie was a young 15-year-old girl who had fallen madly in love with a sailor who frequently docked in Forester. Her parents greatly disapproved of him and did not allow her to see him off on his final trip. In the spring of 1876, Minnie had heard word that his boat had sunk in the great lakes. Broken-hearted, Minnie walked through the town of Forrester, even waving to patrons of the Forester Inn as she passed, before she headed to the docks and jumped into the icy water.

Photo by: @minniequay

The Forester Inn we know today is a lovely little staple in the sleepy town of Forester. Being out of the way of the major highway it’s often overlooked by tourists and as a result filled with happy smiling locals looking for a pint. It has definitely earned the title of dive bar and has yet to be updated and remodelled, giving it a historic charm. The locals recommend having a pint, nodding to the moose head on the wall and ordering the Walleye dinner. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for Minnie, wandering the streets.

Photo by: Dennis Molloy on Facebook

Our last bar on the tour is The Hitching Post Inn, in Elkton, Michigan. The Hitching Post Inn was originally established in 1917 but has since undergone some renovations. The building is one of the newer ones on our list and despite the renovations, it still gives off an old-time pub feel, with some of the best eats around! It still boasts older wood, panelling and stained glass which create the historical atmosphere. The eclectic decor and award-winning pizza will make this one unforgettable stop.

Hitching Post Inn

When taking the route less travelled it’s important to immerse yourself in the history of the local land, and what better way to do that than by supporting the town’s local watering hole! Despite boom and bust the historical dive bars of Michigan’s thumb are persevering, changing to keep up with the times but staying true to their historical roots.