Places like Nipsey’s are under represented in the city of Detroit. The Elmwood Park bar near the Garden Court Apartments showcases an African American community that still sees good in their city. The media needs to feature more joints like this one.

Gentrified/hipster bars are in Greektown and Downtown. Nipsey’s doesn’t want that crowd. It never wanted that crowd. However, that crowd is always welcome inside Nipsey’s. Unfortunately, hipsters don’t think it’s ironic or trendy enough.

The jungle green awnings and font on its signage foreshadow a themed bar. Inside, every single character, questionable and not, carries his/her own theme. There are two types of people who frequent Nipsey’s: the men who want to meet women and the people who want a safe place to congregate after a 8-12 hour shift. Some of the men are direct in their flirting tactics and at times could be downright offensive to the newcomer. Patrons inside know not to take anyone too seriously, and that’s a good thing. It’s not a dive bar by any means, but has the dive bar locals-only feel.

It tries to be a classy joint. It’s not a hip/hop club and doesn’t want to be. The back features a pool table, and that’s worth more than a DJ’s fee anytime of the day.

The bartender dresses in a formal shirt, slacks and vest. The waitresses wear pieces no different than the cocktail waitress uniforms in a high-class Las Vegas casino. Without an enforced dress code, the frequenters brave duds consisting of their Halloween costumes. And that’s on a normal day too.

Food is nothing to write home about here. Fare is like the stuff one finds served in a bowling alley. Nipsey’s keeps it simple with beer, wine, and other spirits. No hoppy IPAs or micro brews. No craft cocktails either. Snoop Dogg might be a part of the conversation, but it is not encouraged to drink gin and juice. A gin martini is okay.

Detroit keeps changing while Nipsey’s remains the same: inviting all in and keeping a neighborhood alive.


Elmwood Park

Detroit, Michigan

ATMOSPHERE: Mid 30-65 year olds gossip, vent, and find different ways to entertain themselves with a beer or glass of wine in their hand.

SERVICE:  Bartender and cocktail waitresses are attentive, but they won’t be kind to you if you’re not kind to them.

SOUND LEVEL:  Like a barbershop, anyone can hear everyone’s conversation. And everyone wants anyone to know what they’re talking about.

RECOMMENDED:  A cold pilsner.

DRINKS AND WINE:  Yes, no gin and juice.

PRICES: $2-$7

OPEN: Mon-Sat 5pm-2am



Wi-Fi:  No

Restrooms: One unisex bathroom. It does have a urinal in it tooJ


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