Appropriately enough, The Whiskey Six offers a drink called the Prohibition cocktail. That fits right in with the theme of the new restaurant that takes the Prohibition era as its inspiration, especially the six-cylinder automobiles known as whiskey sixes that brought booze across the frozen river from Canada when boats couldn’t get through.
The proprietors, a group of Grosse Pointe businessmen, thought that made an interesting influence for an establishment not far from where the autos unloaded their precious cargo.
After much searching, they found a handsomely restored 1928 Studebaker, and it is a focal point at the classic American pub, parked high in the rafters above the bar and dining area. The airy, high-ceilinged space has a traditional look with its brick, dark wood paneling and uncovered paned windows looking out on the street scene. The U-shaped white marble bar is stocked with dozens of bourbons, Scotches as well as draft and bottled beers, many of them local.
Local is a key word both at the bar and on the menu, which doesn’t break any new ground but offers choices ranging from well-prepared snacks such as the house-made soft breadsticks dappled with Parmesan, and sharable plates typified by grilled prawns.
There are full-blown entrees as well, but in the early going, the lighter items and the pizzas seem to be catching most of the attention. Those who want heartier dishes choose from Black Angus New York strip steak at the top of the price range to a vegetable Napoleon at the gentler end. And if you wonder why the prices end with the number 6, well, you haven’t caught the little joke.
The fare hits many of the current buttons without being trend-obsessed. You’ll find grilled fish tacos made with mahi mahi, sliders in choices of beef, lamb and crabmeat, each with its own accompaniments, flatbreads in Mediterranean and Italian guises, and chicken wings and ribs. There’s the requisite burger, made with Piedmontese beef, and its cousin, a portabello mushroom version.
The local angle is emphasized by the one-ounce bags of Better Made potato chips that arrive with a number of small sandwiches ranging from a three-cheese grilled cheese to a delicious bratwurst with spicy grain mustard, and each of the petite sandwiches is $7.96.
Desserts are especially local. Vernor’s ginger ale and vanilla bean ice cream, root beer floats with Faygo and Sanders hot fudge cream puff are among the choices.
And about that Prohibition cocktail: its includes gin, sweet vermouth and Chartreuse with a dash of bitters.
The Whiskey Six
646 St. Clair, Grosse Pointe
Call: (313) 939-2403
Hours: 3 p.m.-midnight Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-midnight Sat.-Sun. Bar later. Hours will expand when patio season arrives.
Prices: Bar snacks $4.96-$9.96, small plates $8.96-$12.96, sandwiches $7.96-$12.96, pizzas $9.96-$13.96, flatbreads $13.96, salads $10.96, entrees $11.96-$29.96, desserts $6.56
Credit cards: All major
Liquor: Full bar
Noise level: High
Parking: Nearby municipal lot and street.
What the ratings mean
★ — routine ★★ — good
★★1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent
★★★★ — outstanding