The Death of the Dive: What’s Next for Two Iconic Dive Bars in Downtown Detroit?

Detroit News reporter Melody Baetens discusses the changing landscape of downtown Detroit bars as one sells, another closes.

Melody Baetens/ Detroit News

Click on the audio player to listen. CultureShift airs weekdays at 12 p.m. 

Some of Detroit’s most well-known dive bars are shutting down or changing hands downtown.

In late July, Cobo Joe’s — a longtime favorite of Red Wings fans — announced they would be closing after the owners decided not to renew their lease.

Just a week later, the Anchor Bar announced they were being bought by the Elia Group. Elia also own Parc in nearby Campus Martius and 220 Merrill in Birmingham. 

According to Detroit News reporter Melody Baetens, Anchor Bar won’t be closing — just changing ownership.

Baetens spoke with the new owner of Anchor Bar and says there will be renovations made to the bathrooms and some other general updates. However, the things that made Anchor Bar a favorite spot for sports fans and journalists will reportedly remain the same including the “wall of fame” of framed photos and certain menu items.

“Behind the bar there’s photos of journalists and sports figures and just Detroit figures from days gone by,” says Baetens. “Unless those photos belong to the original owner’s personal collection, they will stay.”

Baetens also says the majority of Anchor Bar employees will keep their jobs.


  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.