Abick’s Bar

Detroit, Michigan

Six generations of the same family have built, owned and operated Abick’s Bar, one of Detroit’s oldest dive bars having opened its doors in 1907. An uncle of the family, John Benske, emigrated from Poland built the Abick’s Bar building and the adjacent residences. Ownership passed to Benske from original owner John Wasielewski who had secured the initial liquor license for the space. The name “Abick’s” was first attached to the space in 1919 after its purchase by family member George Abick. Eventually, operations fell to Manya Abick, who along with her mother helmed Abick’s Bar while the male members of the family were deployed in World War II. Manya sadly passed away in 2014, leaving ownership to her grandson, Eric Lakeman.

The beer selection is a bit more diverse than the set in 1907 when financial backing for the opening of the bar from Stroh’s Brewing meant that Stroh’s was sold exclusively. One expedition into the walls at Abick’s Bar resulted in the discovery of Prohibition-era bottles, a hint at the likely usage of the building as a speakeasy during that period. Photos throughout the space provide a glimpse of the dive bar’s rich past and family members.

Thankfully, Abick’s Bar wears its years well, the original tin roof presiding over a space that has changed little over the decades. A vintage 1911 cash register sits behind the bar, stuck on the price of the last item it rang up (55 cents). Unassuming outside, the signature feature here is no doubt the dazzling bar itself, a combination of vintage stained-glass windows, mirrors and community business cards wedged into the just-the-right-size bar back pillars. Drinking at Abick’s Bar feels a bit like drinking in a grandfather’s living room, down to the couches and what looks to be a vintage wooden filing cabinet.

SFG Note: This is a dive bar directory listing. We haven’t had the good fortune of visiting firsthand yet. When we do, you’ll get a great review. In the meantime, we’ve compiled information to help you make a choice on visiting.

The Basics

3500 Gilbert St
Detroit, MI 48210

Classification:
Neighborhood Bar

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Further Reading

  • Detroit Metro Times: Bar History
  • Model D: Bar Profile
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