Mutiny Bar is a Tiki-Dive in the Southwest area of Detroit. The bar offers a neighborhood spirit with delicious, tiki inspired vices. Mutiny is an paralleled spot for a chill night, where there is never a shortage of rum.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Ryan Kirk Contributing writer
There is something about staggering into a dive bar in the dead of winter that truly warms the soul. For many people in the Southwest part of Detroit, that was VL Bar. VL was an antiquated dive with a pool table, a jukebox, and a bartender that looked like they took full advantage of Woodstock. You know the spot: no hand chalk for the billiards, but the best music in town your quarters could buy. You don’t go to these places for the aesthetics — you go for something stiff and bold.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Tiki bars are in a full resurgence. These ever-popular Caribbean cane juice establishments are taking cities by siege, often a bit pretentious, usually quite expensive, always decked out to encapsulate a Polynesian excursion, and great for throwing back some fun rum-filled libations.
they decided it was time to change the game and create a Tiki-dive hybrid: Mutiny Bar.
For the most part, these two very different establishments have walked down the same street but on opposite sidewalks. However, in modern-day Detroit, rules are just like a microphone from an Eminem show: shattered. The guidelines the rest of the country chooses to abide by don’t quite apply. When a few of the bartenders behind the iconic Bad Luck Bar and The Sugar House purchased VL Bar, they decided it was time to change the game and create a Tiki-dive hybrid: Mutiny Bar.
The objective was not to rob the neighborhood of the dive that they had become accustom to, but to enhance the experience. They didn’t demolish the inside; instead, they closed down for two weeks, updated, and evolved. The Tiki watering hole looks like it’s been there for years, and in a way, it has. The wood-paneled walls just found a new medium, as bamboo now lines them.
Displayed around the bar are old menus from classic Tiki joints, like Trader Vics and Chin Tiki. The bar boasts a community-first vibe, allowing customers to BYOF (bring your own food), which is great for neighboring food establishments. They also offer very affordable drinks. Oh, and that ol’ jukebox? It lives on…
Among the cocktails are some of the timeless Tiki favorites, like Monkey Punch and Painkillers. They’ve also got their take on the Mai Tai: the Rai Tai, which features Lost 40 Rye, Pierre Ferrand Curaco, orange, and lime. If you’re a nostalgic local who’s missing VL, don’t be intimated — grab a shot and a beer! After all, this is a Tiki-dive, no shame in self-indulgence.
Look out for their flag hanging outside, blowing in the wind off of Vernor Hwy. The flag proudly displays a hand emerging from the water holding a blade. It declares a mutiny is in place. And in today’s day and age, maybe this Tiki revolt led by bartenders in Hawaiian shirts is exactly what we need.
Mutiny is BYOF, so, stop by the neighborhood pizza joint, and bring a slice to the bar
If tiki music isn’t setting the ambiance, throw some quarters in the jukebox. They’ve got an unmatched selection
Our CYTIES recommendation: Stick to the menu, they’ve got a stacked set of bespoke tiki choices
If a mutiny is in place… we’re all about it, let the Hawaiian shirt, tiki drink revolt begin!