Open Bar

The Anchor Bar
November 1, 2012

The Anchor Bar
450 West Fort Street, Detroit, MI

Year opened 1959. It’s been in its current location since 1993, after its purchase by the Derderian family.

Who drinks here Union members, hockey fans, post-shift cops, and newspaper and TV journalists.

Signature drink “The coldest beer anywhere,” says owner Vaughn Derderian ($3 bottles).

Oops In 1970, when the FBI investigated alleged gambling at the Anchor, then located elsewhere, Detroit News Publisher Peter Clark let the agency monitor the bar from an abutting vacant office. Nearly simultaneous with arrests at the Anchor on May 6, 1971, the News appeared with the front-page headline: “16 Detroit Policemen Accused as FBI Raids Big Betting Ring.” No other outlet had the story, suggesting the paper and the feds struck a deal.

Solidarity The Derderians didn’t hold a grudge, and the bar was both refuge and staging area during the 19-month newspaper strike that began in July 1995. The strikers would gather there each day before marching, and they published a newspaper, the Sunday Journal, in office space above the bar. The Newspaper Guild representing News and Detroit Free Press employees still has meetings here.

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Tanveer Ali is a Chicago-based journalist who is Chicago’s data reporter and social media producer. He has reported for the Chicago News Cooperative, WBEZ, and GOOD Magazine, among others. A former staff writer at the Detroit News, he received a master’s in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.