Attention fellow Detroiters: Spring is upon us! Along with mother nature’s fresh growth and renewed vitality, comes the symbiosis of hospitality, cultivating the revitalization of Detroit.


Last September, The Sugar House was honored to be invited to Chicago to deliver a definitive Detroit drinking experience to ChiTown’s Violet Hour patrons. Soon, the Violet Hour, one of GQ Magazine’s “25 Best Cocktail Bars in America” will be honoring Detroit with a taste of Chicagoland craft. Violet Hour will be doing a total bar takeover at Sugar House on April 17th.


There are yet many parallels that the Violet Hour and Sugar House share. Mainly, both are fragments of large, thriving restaurant groups. The Violet Hour is part of ‘One Off Hospitality’(OOH). The Sugar House is from ‘Detroit Optimist Society’(DOS). Both have some real powerhouses among them.

Notably, the OOH has multiple James Beard Foundation awards under their belt. In 2015, Violet Hour won “Best Bar Program”. Also, the OOH’s Blackbird’s executive chef Paul Kahan, won “Outstanding Chef” in 2013. Similarly, DOS partner and executive chef at Wright & Co. Marc Djozlija was a semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America” in 2015.


This takeover convergence was not an accident. Restaurateur and cocktail enthusiast Dave Kwiatkowski was a Chicago resident and Violet Hour patron prior to establishing the Sugar House, in Corktown. It’s no secret that the Violet Hour was a big inspiration for the Sugar House concept.


In the same way that the Violet Hour set the standard for cocktail bars in Chicago, since 2007, the Sugar House has done the same for Detroit, since 2011. It would seem that they both had in effect, started a bit of a local cocktail revolution among themselves. In a 2008 interview, Violet Hour partner and head mixologist Toby Maloney commented on the current cocktail environment in Chicago by saying,


“I’ve seen places that are doing cocktail things a little bit more than they did before in Chicago. But I think it’s an evolution that was bound to happen because the cocktail thing has been so big on the coasts for the last ten years, and now it’s slowly going toward the middle of the country.”


Ten years later, we can absolutely say that Maloney was correct in his assertion. Similarly, from an interview with Dave Kwiatkowski in 2011, regarding Detroit and the lack of a cocktail scene, he said,


“…people in the city have so few options and even less high-quality options. We saw that as our opportunity. We thought if we create a beautiful space, keep it high-end but affordable, we will be successful. Quality sells in Detroit. There is an audience for it. People that live in the suburbs want cool stuff in Detroit.”


We could all agree that there are no longer a lack of options in Detroit. The common consensus is that there seems to be a new restaurant opening up every couple of weeks. With so many choices, the Sugar House has continued to remain relevant and on top of its game by staying true to quality and excellence of service.


The Violet Hour takeover will start at 5PM and end at 12AM. There will be four Violet Hour bartenders mixing up a series of their own modern classic creations. Come up and witness history, as Chicago meets Detroit!