By Amanda Renkiewicz – Photos by Standby
Off of an unassuming street in downtown Detroit, well-dressed people walk confidently down the brief alley and disappear into a side door with the glow of someone prepared for a good time. While very little on the exterior points to glamour, once you step inside and push back the velvet curtain, you’ve entered Standby, a dimly lit speakeasy with a custom cocktail menu to tempt even the most dedicated prohibitionist.
Standby’s beverage program is a celebration of the modern classic cocktail. They utilize innovative techniques to bring new flavors and experiences to the glass while truly honoring the classics. Their equally dynamic dinner menu features locally sourced fare, handmade pasta, and from-scratch bar offerings. The interior is seductive, with a dark wood bar that’s a masterpiece, intimate seating, and a vibe that’s authentically alluring.
The cocktail list is completely glorious. Every drink is singular, forcing visitors to go through the list one by one (a long but worthwhile goal for frequent guests). For an adventurer in cocktails, the Nereus has characteristics of dill, spice, and smoke, mixed with Norden Aquavit, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Amaro Dell Etna, Old Bay Gomme, celery bitters and more. After the pandemic we’ve all been experiencing, everyone ought to have a healthy dose of Penicillin, a spicy, bold drink with White Horse whiskey, fresh lemon, honey ginger syrup, and a dash of Laphroaig (single malt scotch). For those who need to burn the Midnight Oil, their take on the words is a bitter and citrusy blend of Fernet-Valley, house Falernum, lime, and angostura bitters.
Standby’s future is in the hands of the community. Closing their doors on March 16th was a heartbreaking decision that put their staff in an incredibly vulnerable position. To help circumvent their situation, they are offering their Standby At Home eBook, filled with a thrilling collection of cocktail recipes for you to make yourself. All proceeds are being donated to their amazing team. It’s now our turn to standby an incredible, fabulous part of Michigan, and gather some impressive and innovative cocktail recipes at the same time!
225 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226