Nancy Whiskey

Detroit, Michigan

Named after Ireland’s County Cork, it is no surprise to find Detroit’s oldest Irish pub in the city’s Corktown neighborhood. But Nancy Whiskey is more than just a famed Irish pub, instead serving as Detroit’s oldest bar of any kind, opening its doors in 1902. Originally operated as a Digby’s General Store (look for the “Digby” mosaic just outside the front door) as early as 1898, the space converted to a saloon four years later and never looked back. Nancy McNiven-Glenn purchased the dive bar in 1987, adding her name to the space and focusing in on whiskey as a core offering. Thanks to an early love for Tullamore Dew, Nancy Whiskey has claimed over the years to be the brand’s highest selling location in the United States. First time visitors to Nancy Whiskey are often provided a free Tullamore Dew shot.

As with any great Detroit dive bar, there are stories to be told about Nancy Whiskey, in this case a rumor that the phone booth still visible in the bar today was Jimmy Hoffa’s unofficial phone of choice as an alternative to his federally-bugged office phone a few blocks away. The self-proclaimed “Detroit’s Oldest Party” has persisted through any number of bumps in the road, including a fire in 2009 and the global COVID-19 pandemic that threatened every bar’s livelihood. Fried fish is the food of choice here, a fact made famous by a Long John Silver’s commercial, of all things, in 2014.

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

2644 Harrison St
Detroit, MI 48216

Classification:
Neighborhood Bar

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Further Reading

  • Prohibition Detroit: History & Review
  • Bucket List Bars: Video Review
  • A Girl’s Guide to Drinking Alone: Review
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