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Slows Bar-B-Q


43 Reviews
Slows Bar-B-QSlows Bar-B-Q

Type: Bar, Eatery

2138 Michigan Ave
Detroit, Michigan, 48216-1305
United States

(313) 962-9828 | map

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Added by putnam on 09-26-2005

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 91
Photo of 86sportster883
4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

A great place on the outskirts of downtown Detroit. I visited on a weekday evening around 7:30. On the outside, the surrounding area appeared disserted except for the lack of parking nearby the restaurant. On the inside, the place was full of folks and buzzing with conversation. This is exactly the type of restaurant you would expect to find in a renovated old building in a downtown urban setting. I sat at the large bar in the center of the restaurant and ordered both food and beer. They have a fantastic selection of beers on tap and in bottles. I had a draft Chambly Noir from Unibroue that was outstanding. I like most all of Unibroue’s beers, but I rarely find them on tap. The black Belgian style ale went well with the “Big Three” BBQ entree that I ordered (a combo plate of pulled chicken, pulled pork and sliced brisket). The food was excellent as well, and it came out before I even finished perusing the extensive beer menu. The service was prompt and professional, the crowd was an urban mix of all ages, and the selection of BBQ sauces added an extra level of satisfaction to my dining experience. I found that the Apple BBQ sauce went well with my chicken, the Mustard sauce was great on the brisket and the Spicy sauce was a good compliment to the pulled pork. The sweet potato mash and cornbread were also quite tasty. After my meal, I ordered a bottle of Duchess de Bourgogne. This is an amazing beer and a testament to the well thought out selection of Belgian and French style ales offered at Slow’s. Quite honestly, I found this to be the best BBQ restaurant I’ve visited in recent memory. I will certainly return.

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Photo of benito
4.43/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

While Slow's may get (rightfully) lauded on this website, it is first and foremost a top-notch barbecue joint, one of the only restaurants in the city of Detroit that will be filled on a Monday at 12:05.

The entire restaurant is done in a simple wood-paneling, and a main bar divides the entryway from the main dining room. The kitchen is just off to the side, and it's easy to sneak a peek inside. I won't say much more about the atmosphere here, because it's the food and beer (and bourbon) that are front and center.

Slow's meats may be the best barbecue I've tasted outside the Carolinas, Texas or Missouri, and what's best about it is that it takes the best of each of those bbq hotbeds and brings them to downtown Detroit. The pulled pork, brisket, and chicken are all delicious and taste even better when tossed with one of Slow's homemade sauces. The Apple BBQ and Mustard are spectacular, and their Spicy BBQ, Sweet BBQ, North Carolina Sauce, and Jalapeno Garlic are all impressive as well. I also enjoyed my homemade side dishes--sweet potato mashers, greenbeans with mustard sauce, potato salad, and a rich, buttery slice of cornbread. I split the fried catfish appetizer with the folks I ate with, and there was more than enough to fill us twice over on the table. Not a single dish was short of brilliant.

As for beer--right this is a beer review after all--they've got about twenty taps fitted with brews specifically chosen to match the barbecue. Over the course of the meal I had a Founders Pale Ale, Hennepin, and Bell's Best Brown. Amongst the other taps were Two Hearted Ale, Arcadia IPA, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Maudite, and Rogue Chipotle Ale. Their bottle list, which is also available on their website, is equally impressive, and all this in a bar that has a wide-ranging collection of American whiskies to boot! The beer does the food justice--no small feat given how fantastic an eatery this is.

The only downside to Slow's is that it lives up to its name. We waited over 40 minutes for our lunch. Our server, to her great credit, apologized and offered us a free round of beers, and the wait was certainly worth the food. But, caveat emptor, you might wait for a bit for Slow's dishes.

Slow's is much more than a "beer bar." It's a great restaurant that acknowledges the importance of great beer, and eating here, one almost helps to elevate craft beer to a much merited status of food 'pairer.' If the craft beer movement is going to enter and change the realm of haute cuisine (as I believe it should) by shifting the way people think about food and drink pairings, we'll need more places like Slow's.

Don't miss it.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.7/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Wow, did we ever pass up a good thing when the people that I was with opted not to take me here in February! It sat a couple of blocks north of the former Tiger Stadium site, and boy, was it deceptive. The address (correctly) was 2138 Michigan Avenue, but the number was frosted into the upper glass panel at the end of a short vestibule. “What fronts said vestibule?” you may ask. Well, how does a huge, horizontally slatted, varnished blonde wood doorway with a small mail-sized slot marked “Pull” grab you? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, some of the staff were on break and pointed to the way in. Phew.

The whole place was dominated by blonde and light-brown wood and exposed, unfinished brick. Along the right wall, headed aft, were three extremely high-backed booths, followed by the kitchen, all of the way aft. Fronting the kitchen were wide strips of hammered copper, fastened by pop rivets. Turning left after entering the door, I encountered the elongated, “U”-shaped, copper-topped bar. The right side of said bar, facing aft, was the smoking section. There was a nice, open passageway that bisected the bar, which was buttressed in the overhead by heavy bolted and nailed wood plates. This was probably necessary because the left side of the space, facing aft, is/was 2140 Michigan Avenue! To the far left were their restaurant tables and chairs, followed by three big picture windows overlooking Michigan Avenue. There was also a biergarten under construction, ostensibly due to open after 04 July weekend of 2006, on the site of what would have formerly been 2142 Michigan Avenue. The washrooms were all of the way aft on the left-hand side and continued the industrial feel with rough welds and a tiny concrete sink. The ambiance was also very good, with soft jazz and blues being played as background music.

The beer (and bourbon and wine) list came sandwiched between two wood boards, hinged together like a hospital clipboard. Ha! They featured twenty (20) taps and one hundred (100) bottles, almost all micros and quality imports. Fabulous.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.68/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Reviewed from a visit on Wednesday, July 5th.

Finally, made it down to Slow's, during my week off from work. Putnam from Cloverleaf, has always highly recommended this place. Showed up Wednesday around 8:00pm. Only seating that was available, was at the bar. Very nice decor, tons of wood and hammered copper. Booths and tables are available, and about 15 seats at the bar.
The bartender was excellent, told us about the specials and what was new on tap. Speaking of taps, Slow's has 20 awesome taps. From Bell's, Arcadia, Hennepin, Rogue, and Great Lakes, just to name a few. They have a fanastic beer menu. All beers are listed by styles. They even have Trappist brews from Orval and Rochefort. Most likely the best beer selection I've seen in this state. They even have two pages dedicated to Bourbons.
Now to the food. The food is absolutely fanastic!! I ordered the North Carolina pulled pork. It was awesome!!! Along with the pork you get to choose two sides. I had the potato salad and the baked beans. Both were very tasty and delicious. Portions are good sized, I was very full when I finished my meal. All in all Slow's has to be the best place to go for great beer and great food! Prices are very reasonable and the waitstaff is great. I can see many return trips in my future. A must try!!!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.25/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

I stopped here for dinner while in Detroit on business. It was rated #1 place by BA to stop for a beer in Detroit, so I finally tried it.

The atmosphere is pretty cool, lots of woodwork, especially in the entrance. But the food and the beer is the draw:

There were about 15 taps, all with good selections: Maudite, Hennepin, Bell's Oberon, Bell's Consecrator, Arcadia IPA, Rogue Chocolate Stout, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald, Hoegaarden, and more. Also there were ~25 more Belgian and French style beers in bottles, including Trappists such as Westmalle, Rochefort, and Achel. Very good selection for a BBQ place.

The food was excellent and the beer was relatively low priced. I had Hennepin on tap for $4, and Saison DuPont (375ml) for $8. I highly recommend this place for a good dinner in Detroit.

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4.9/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I visited Detroit over the long weekend and went to Slow's after the Tiger's game on Sunday. It was a treat and a surprise too. I didn't expect it to be anything special pre-judging by the neighborhood, which for the most part, appears to be abandoned. Parking was a cinch. The A/C felt great coming in out of the heat. We sat at the bar and the service was prompt. The bar menu is two wood planks connected by a hinge on one end. The selection was deep. Michigan micros are well represented from a visitors standpoint. I was surprised to see one of my west coast favorites on tap: Rogue Dead Guy. They also had the Lindeman’s Pomme on tap . I think there were 16 draft choices and none of them are macros. I hadn’t tried the Lindemans yet so we asked for a taster. The bartender poured a sample for us. I ordered a Bell’s Oberon Ale draft. We ordered a plate of wings that were served with 4 different BBQ sauces. They were the one-piece drumette and wing portion and they were fabulous. The bourbon menu is an extensive 2 pages. There are more bottled Belgian’s to choose from than I was familiar with. We also had a Jolly Pumpkin Roja to help the wings down. The menu pokes fun at the macros by using their respective propaganda to describe them. It’s even funnier because they deliberately mix them up. Bud Light description: Why ask why, drink Bud dry / Bud Description: The Champagne of beers / Miller High Life: Tastes great –Less Filling and so on. There were a few construction guys at work outside on what appeared to be the start of a patio. The wash basins and fixtures in the bathroom are unpretentiously cool so don’t forget to go and wash your hands. Thanks to the BAs on the Great Lakes forum for a great suggestion!

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Photo of ypsifly
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited Slow's on a Monday evening after working all day downtown. It was just what I needed after a long day on my feet. I sat at the hammered copper bar and stared in amazement at the number and quality of beers on tap. After looking through the wood covered beer list I ordered a MC Ghettoblaster followed by a Hennipen. Both were fantastic. I was a bit tired to begin with and the beers were setting in so I opted for carryout and had a goblet of Maudite while I waited for my half slab of St. Louis ribs with baked beans and potato salad. I ordered the ribs sans sauce because I know sauce can cover imperfections in the ribs or the way they were cooked. I wanted to see if these folks know what they are doing and they passed with flying colors. I will say that it was the best ribs I have had in MI and they could hold their own against and even surpass the level of quality found in most southern rib joints.

The atamosphere was very comfortable with the simple yet elegant interior design. The use of hammered copper and wood fit perfectly together. The quality of the food was top notch. The service was attentive and knowledgable. The beer selection blew me away. From PBR to Trappist styles other than Chimay and a little bit of everything in between. The food and drink is very reasonably priced. Most beers on tap are $4 and the bottles are only a few bucks more than average shelf prices. They also have a killer whisky selection.


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Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev -9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Had heard and read alot about this place and I love the cue so I headed on over after the Tiger game last Thursday.In the section of Corktown in Detroit near old Tiger stadium,really not much parking we found a spot acroos the street off to the side of the place,alot of wood in the interior with a big bar that goes thru the front room into the side room.I didnt get the number of taps I would say 30-35 with a heavy tilt towards MI. micros I had a Founders pale ale,and a Bell's Concecrator doppelbock.We had the bbq beef and gouda enchiladas they were awesome,for an entree I had the tri platter of brisket pulled pork and pulled chicken the chicken was very good the brisket was ok and the pulled pork seemed a bit dry but was flavorful.Iam not a big fan of eastern style NC style bbq but the vinegar and chili based sauce was spot on for the style,also a sweet,spicey,apple based,and orange oberon sauce was available with the spicey sauce my personal favorite.Its always good to find a good cue place with a great tap selection,a good place to go while in metro Detroit.

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Photo of marburg
4.6/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

ADDENDUM: The beer list at Slow's has grown as quickly as its number of patrons. Without a single macrobrew on its list and only a limited number of overzealous American micros, the 10 or 12 pages is that much more impressive. A majority of the beers are obviously selected to match the cuisine perfectly. There are bigger lists in Michigan, but there is no BETTER list in Michigan.

OLD REVIEW (10-10-2005): Saddled up to the porcelin pot, it took me a moment or two to recognize the accoustic southern blues tunes playing over the speaker. Sounded about right for the cuisine, though it was interesting the audio was more theme appropriate in the restroom than in the dining room. It was a good first impression, however, as I'd hurried through the place to the back, not giving much of a glance as I passed through.

The beer list is good, though the knowledge -- as might be fair to expect at a new place -- is lacking. Ch'Ti is not Castelain with a different label; thanks for playing. (You're forgiven though because you charge a miniscule 4 dollars for a pint of Dead Guy Ale and a paltry 6 bucks for a bottle of Orval.)

I can't do any more justice to the aesthetic or to the creativity placed in the details than has already been done by inebrius. But I can, if provoked, expend much energy rambling on and on and on and on (and on) about the sauces. My meal selection was The Big Three: chicken, pork, and brisket. At first I dribbled the sauces on just a bit because, really, the smokey flavors and ragged, varying textures were appealing enough. But once I got my favorite combos down, I slathered. I drenched. I swamped. I drowned. Chicken with the mustard sauce. And I have to agree that the Apple BBQ is the greatest thing to come out of a squeezy bottle since 45spf hit the scene for those of us with a Casper-like complexion.

The pork and brisket were better, I think, than the chicken. Perhaps that's obvious. I wasn't impressed by my cornbread, but I couldn't help but steal a sizeable portion of my wife's mac n cheese. I never eat mac n cheese -- good, bad, processed, homemade, elbow, shaped like little cartoon characters, whatever -- but I couldn't really stop myself. Black beans, fried catfish, and corn flan also helped lend my denim wasitband a certain elasticity as I filled up.

All in all, I found it immensely satisfying. It's a great atmosphere, our waitress was quick beyond her three days of experience, and the people seemed very friendly. I'm curious to try the sandwiches, because I have to imagine that one could escape with a big sandwich and the right low-cost beer for 10 bucks, which is pretty amazing considering the $6.95 low-rent turkey wraps slathered in week-old Garden Foods mayo being peddled at so many places these days.

Slow's is refreshing for its food, for its drink, and for its change of pace. Eating oneself into a daze never felt so good.

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Photo of putnam
4.75/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

BEER: The beer list was just re-done (January 2006) and vastly expanded. I've done some beer-aware travelling in my days (New York, San Francisco, Munich, Chicago, Amsterdam, London, Prague, and other places) but I've never seen such a coherent collection of top-quality full-service beer under one roof, anywhere. Period.

Three selections from Mahr's, two from Jolly Pumpkin, and others from Thiriez and de Ranke join Duvel, various Bell's products, various beers from Rogue, Hennepin, Samuel Smith's, Fullers, Great Lakes, etc. I think there's over 100 now.

ATMOSPHERE: This isn't merely a restaurant, it's a way of living. Recycled materials in a recycled landscape glorify a city's proud history. Everything about this place conspires to put its audience in touch with a wholesome, lively past, when food was cooked slowly and people were relaxed and happy.

SERVICE: Give them time. It is a minor miracle to bring together such a large team of specialists in such a short period of time (Slow's has only been opened less than 6 months). Considering the progress I expect the next report card to show even more improvement in this area. ALL the servers are eager to help and the ones who are new to real beer are willing to learn. Help them out. They may know more than you think too. Also, this is Detroit. Snobs will be smothered in brisket ends and filled with beer until they get the vibe.

FOOD: There are times on busy Saturday's, when more guests are turned away than who find seats, and at these times, occasionally, the plates of smoked meat can seem a touch on the dry side, like they were prepared maybe that afternoon. I can't imagine how the 6 month old kitchen team has kept up with the onslaught. Long hours and little sleep is my guess. By far, the vast majority of experiences with the food has been world-class (I've been there over 30 times). Fans of slow food will admire the delightful, authentic inconsistencies that prove someone is really making this food by hand. Five sauces are brought to every table every one of them perfect. Macaroni and cheese has nutmeg and pepper in it. Black beans, green beans, waffle fries, blackeyed peas, mashed sweet potato and cole slaw are all great.

Detroit now has a beer stop unsurpassed by any other in the world. Especially if you like bourbon too!

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.63/5  rDev +5.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Original Review: 12/24/05
Edited: 05/16/06

A barbeque place that showcases craft beer as the beverage of choice? Yes please!

Located in what formerly was a very vibrant area many decades ago but in the last thirty years sank into a deep funk. Recently though, places like Slow's have been starting up in the area, in the shadow of the grand but long-closed Michigan Central Train Station on Michigan Avenue.

Slow's itself is located in an old brick building which much of it's character has been allowed to shine through it's new upper scale facade. Lots of brick, exposed beams, wood floors and so on. The tables are situated around the centrally located bar. The beverage list is exactly opposite of most restaurants, about fifty bottled beers listed and twenty to thirty available on tap with a very meek wine list. A highlight was Rogue Chipotle on draft for $2.50 a glass which pairs really well with Slow's various barbeque offerings. There is a lot of variety but just about everything goes well with their fine culinary offerings The food was well made, but with a few weak links in there, including their very dry and bland cornbread. Entree portions can be small depending on the entree, especially at the prices, which doesn't always live up to the real barbeque traditions. The brisket for instance was listed as being "a full pound" when it was more like 8-10 ounces at most. Truly though, those are the only criticisms I can come up with and compared to all they do right, these are really minor points. Overall really good food, the baby back ribs are truly delicious. One could argue about the food's authenticity in execution or spirit, but their unique urban take on a down home style is authentic and without peer. If you've ever had the real thing, you'll see the differance immediatly, but make no mistake, this food is seriously good.

A good spot to get great food and even better craft beer, and just the type of place Detroit needs. I'm sure as this place develops itself the few kinks it has will be ironed out and it will get even better. I've been here a number of times now and have really fallen in love with the place. I was at first a little unimpressed with their interpretation of barbeque and their initial lax service standard but have since accepted Slow's for what it is and not what it isn't and truly everytime I go their weaker points are less pronounced and their strengths shine. What they do well they do exceedingly well and while it's a bit on the expensive side, it's well worth the expense (and the sometimes long wait for a table). I highly recommend going, truly a personal favorite. Top three in Detroit, hands down.


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Photo of jtw
4.75/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5

located on a somewhat "dated" stretch of michigan ave in the middle of detroit’s historic corktown. apparently it’s a renovated building from a while ago, and they managed to keep some of the ambiance. new-feeling but incorporates the bustling history from the area. long peninsular-shaped bar surrounded on all 3 sides by inviting booths and tables of varying size. i was seated at a table with a view of michigan avenue.

has a one-page beer and wine menu, but to my pleasant surprise, it’s 95% beer! about 20 taps, with some locals and many imports and other US micros. decent bottled selection, including about 10 bottles in 750s (such as most of the Castelain series), with about 40 bottles total. the prices are good, with a glass of Rogue Chipotle ale for $2.50; up to $16 for some of the Castelain 750s. Incidentally, Rogue Chipotle is the cheapest beer on the menu, and it functions as its own sommelier, because it quite literally would pair exceptionally with every single item on the menu, and even better considering the price! the food is serious barbeque, sandwiches from $7 and entrees to $25. pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs, grilled salmon, mac & cheese, sweet potato mash, and 4 different types of their own barbeque sauce (and a special spicy mustard).... i WILL be back for more, i suggest you do the same.

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Photo of inebrius
4.78/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I like to try and gauge the value of a joint by the menu. Before a morsel of food touches my lips I generally have a good idea what to expect. Some restaurants are easy to figure, The Fly Trap and its Spartan card of quality on one end, most Coneys and their five page Sysco inventory sheets on the other. Slow’s was easy: two pages on eight inch square paper, everything based on slow smoked southern fixed food, whimsical names not telling some story, an amazing drinks bill redesigned by a passionate local. Simple fare intended for comfort, joy and value.

I started with a $2.50 pint of Rogue Chipotle, a gently spicy, smoky session ale. There were a dozen good taps, twice as many good bottles. If they’re out of something there is something else just as good to replace it. As good a beer menu as I’ve experienced at a place not promoting themselves a beer bar.

When the food comes a spiritual red and white checkered cloth forms over the polished wood table and the folks around you start to drawl. I have lived in and traveled the Deep South extensively and barbeque does not get any better than this. Sure, you’ll find some semi-rural 200 square foot cinder block houses in Alabama that can smoke a side of pork like no one else but you won’t find many places doing this many cuts of meat this well. Sides are good too. Thick cut waffle fries, fat coleslaw redolent of celery seed, shells and cheese with bite, my only grumble a lack of collard greens.

Who thinks collards when they’ve got a plate of peppery dry-rubbed smoked short ribs in their face though? C’mon! Buttery brisket and melty pork and five regional sauces to cover them—the North Carolina and Apple were favorites. A goat cheese and fried green tomato appetizer vibrates off the plate. I need to go back just to make sure it’s real.

Sated and waddling back to the car and before a real estate tour of Corktown I made note of the long stack of well seasoned Hickory lying behind the kitchen, the laundry hanging from the balcony of a flat above the storefronts lining Michigan Avenue, and realized this scene never looked more natural anywhere.

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Slows Bar-B-Q in Detroit, MI
96 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.
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