Royal Oak – On one of the first few editions of the Dine In The D Newsletter (sign up for it here!), I asked everyone for restaurant recommendations. I received tons of suggestions, but one place kept coming up - The Side Bar in Royal Oak. It was also recently named 2nd “Best Neighborhood Bar” by Hour Detroit Magazine, and it just opened up in February! I wanted to see what all the buzz was about so I went there, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Running a restaurant is nothing new to Jenna Derrig, the co-owner, but The Side Bar is the place she always wanted to own.
“Yeah, since I was 24 I wanted to own a bar... It’s kind of something I’ve been passionate about for a very long time,” Derrig explained. “I think it was that I really liked sloppy sandwiches.”
It’s a friendly neighborhood sort of spot, filled with regulars. She greeted customers by name as they walked in the door and told them to relax and make themselves comfortable.
“I love that I can make their day better,” she said.
All of this is an impressive feat considering The Side Bar opened in February of 2021.
“It had its challenges. Things have been pretty seamless, knock on wood, so far,” she said as she rapped on the table.
Their welcoming atmosphere is paired with an equally welcoming menu. As she puts it, they have a lot of sloppy sandwiches and a good selection of tasty sharable appetizers. They wanted to be very inclusive in their menu so they have a selection of vegan options, and offer any of their sandwiches wrapped in swiss chard instead of bread for a gluten-free, keto-friendly version.
One of their most popular entrees is their Broke Back Burger, their version of a cowboy burger with a half-pound patty, cheddar cheese, a giant onion ring, and BBQ sauce. The Big Daddy is an eye-catching kielbasa in a bun stacked with beer-battered French fries, homemade queso, and tomatoes. Their truffle wings smell divine, are nice and crispy and topped with shaved parmesan.
On their drink menu, you will find a collection of classic cocktails with a twist. For example, their version of a Manhattan includes a house-infused apricot bourbon, Cocchi Americano, and lemon bitters. They run Happy Hour Specials from 2 pm - 6 pm.
For more information, watch the video above. The Side Bar is located at 116 W 4th Street in Royal Oak.