Food And Drinks

Best of Detroit 2021 Winner Spotlight: Liberty Bar


Liberty Bar acts as a safe haven for local members of the LGBTQ community. // Photo courtesy of Liberty Bar

D.Pontiac’s own town The Liberty Bar first opened in 1930, making it the longest-running bar in Oakland County. But the bar’s 90-year run was almost over in 2019 when the then owners decided to close their doors.

For much of the bar’s long existence, it acted – either overtly or covertly – as a safe haven for local members of the LGBTQ community. When Brett Nicholson from Pontiac heard it was going to be closed, he wondered where else regulars would find the kind of kinship they had forged in Liberty. He soon realized that the place needed to be saved and that this was only possible by buying it yourself.

After a $ 22,000 renovation and a complete overhaul of the food and beverage menu, Nicholson reopened the Liberty Bar in 2020. It now uses a small-plate concept and offers a selection of classic bar dishes such as tater tots and chicken wings, as well as numerous poutine variations. The most beloved? The Chelsea Morning, in which a traditional medley of french fries, quark and sausage sauce is topped with a fried egg.

Freedom barThe Pontiac Bar has a menu of poutine, chicken wings, sliders – pictured above – and more. // Photo courtesy of Liberty Bar

The New York City-themed drinks menu is an ode to the bar’s name. It offers creative cocktails like Brooklyn with vanilla, grapefruit and St. Germain, as well as the bestselling Bachelor Martini, a jalapeno pineapple brew with a skull-shaped ice cube.

Despite a tough first year, says Nicholson, the Liberty community is stronger than ever: “You will never leave without a new friend or a great story.”

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See who else made it onto this year’s Best of Detroit list – our annual reader survey on the most important things, places and people in the metropolitan area – here.

Dusty Kennedy