In downtown Detroit, beyond a tasseled pink curtain, there’s a small, dimly lit room you can practically taste. Candy Bar, located in The Siren hotel, is an intimate watering hole clad almost entirely in pinks and oxbloods. The decor features blushing walls, dark-red velvet banquettes and a massive 1950s Murano-glass chandelier above a horseshoe bar. A disco ball, which used to reside in the renowned Les Bains in Paris, throws droplets of light.
One of the inspirations for the bar was Hollywood icon and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield. The star covered everything in pink: her mansion, her Cadillac, even her poodle. “We wanted to amp up the pink and really grind into the idea of a fully immersive monochromatic space,” says Will Cooper, chief creative officer of ASH NYC, the hotel’s owner and designer. Another inspiration for the bar was Perino’s, an Old Hollywood restaurant frequented by stars of the 1950s. Indeed, there’s a rarefied vibe at Candy Bar, a mix of romantic and risqué, haunting and refined. It feels like a lush movie set.
Sitting at the bar, it’s hard not to feel a little concerned about the 2,000-pound chandelier above you. But the worry slides into reverence as you soak in the ambient glow of its 670 glass pieces (and a couple of cocktails). A mischievous menu matches the atmosphere. Lead bartender Andrew John recommends the Lady Diana, which includes pistachio-infused Norden aquavit, custom Lady of the House gin made by Detroit City Distillery, yellow Chartreuse, and honey steeped in bay-leaf tea, all shaken and served in a coupe with a bay-leaf garnish. The new Elvis’s Nightcap features rum infused with dehydrated peanut butter and fresh banana, which is blended and then clarified in a centrifuge.
Guests also enjoy The Golden Hour, made with bourbon, rum, Amaro Nonino, lemon and mango syrup, shaken and served in a highball glass topped with soda. In addition to a “pretty rare selection of bourbon, whiskey and rye,” John mentions the highly curated wine selection. “I personally am partial to the Crémant d’Alsace,” he says.
Beyond the drinks, what’s truly intoxicating is the aesthetic of the bar itself. It seats 30 people, a mix of Detroit locals and hotel guests. Along with the decor, the crowd’s transience and diversity conjure a charmed atmosphere. As Cooper says, “The concept of a hotel bar is something we love so dearly.”