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The relaxed, welcoming atmosphere sets the mood for a night not to be forgotten. Signature cocktails and dinner are ordered as the Jazz trio begins to play on stage. The quiet bustle of the club begins to come to life!
Cliff Bell's is once again alive with spirit and song. But don't take our word for it…. Discover this cultural gem for yourself during an evening of jazz and dinner, Sunday brunch, daily lunch, or our popular happy hour.
"The place to be in Detroit."
- The New York Times
When you walk inside this joint you are immediately transported back to the 1940's/1950's. You feel like you are in the heart of the golden era in Detroit, you can picture the all the classic cars parked on the street around the surrounding blocks. The atmosphere keeps the feel alive and the live music drives it home. Absolute must visit for anyone who enjoys jazz or live music.
Perfect anniversary dinner and music with my husband! Food, staff and music were amazing! Will definitely return!
I've reviewed Cliff Bell's before, but wanted to update because the food has improved significantly since our last visit.
But start with this: no one goes to Cliff Bell's specifically for dinner. You go for the amazing (and completely authentic) art-deco ambience and the equally-wonderful jazz on the stage. The bistro-style food, while not incidental, has always been the least of the reasons to walk in the door.
And I'm guessing that's why, over the years, the owners have let the food been hit or miss. Sometimes it's on target, as when former chef Matt Baldridge ran the kitchen. Other times -- well, we came for the music, anyway.
This time, we ordered mussels, grilled swordfish, and braised short ribs. And everything worked. Especially the ribs, slathered with a savory mustard sauce that contradicted everything Provencal I normally prefer in braised ribs, but were fall-apart tender and wonderfully flavorful. The swordfish, a dish that's far too easy to dry out, was spot-on moist. And the mussels were decent, although I prefer real bread alongside, as opposed to the few stingy slices of toasted baguette they supplied to sop up the broth.
A couple of quibbles about prices, because they're up significantly. Few entrees are under $30, and $43 for lamb chops is highway robbery. This isn't a chop house, and shouldn't have prices like one. Like so many music venues, wine bottles are also overpriced, which may be OK if you're just having beverages during the music, but less-good for dinner.
Cliff Bell's continues as a first-order "place to go" in downtown Detroit -- especially if you're a jazz fan. But note that you can only reserve a table if you're having dinner; otherwise, it's first-come, first-seated, which means you may find yourself standing at the bar on a busy weekend night.
First off. The ambiance is second to none. Unfortunately they have changed the menu from-the last time we were there. Bring back the Chicken & waffles with the jalapeño syrup & let people enjoy both your mimosas & Bloody Marys. Simple. Did Sunday brunch. Food was very good just miss the little things.
We always love coming to Cliff Bells! Great service, great food, great music, great everything!
Went to hear Ari Teitel. He was fantastic!! Enjoyed the whole evening
Food was incredible. Live music sets the atmosphere. This is a mainstay
Music, service, cocktails and atmosphere was terrific!
Food and ambience was good. Our waiter was also good, but the restaurant appeared to be a little understaffed not allowing our waiter to pay more attention to his tables.
I would absolutely go back for the music. Bravo to the musicians! The ambiance was beautiful. The food was mediocre at best.. There was absolutely no seasoning on the vegetables and the broccoli was really undercooked. It took 25 minutes to get a glass of water and another 10 to get a cocktail. It looked like the waitresses didn’t have sections which made it very difficult to wave her to our table when needed. I feel bad for leaving this kind of review for such a historical establishment, especially being someone who truly appreciates jazz music.
Did not care for the fact that our 6:30pm dinner was over at 9:45pm and my husband and I was just enjoying the band. And all of sudden the hostess states that we had to pay $10 covercharge if we wish to hear the rest of the band. We left because we all ready spended $125 for dinner and now you trying charge us more.. that's tacky. Next time let your reservation customers know you in advance.
Cliff bell's was an awesome experience. Be prepared for a relaxed pace that is set up specifically so you can enjoy each course along with the live music.
Originally our table was up front by the stage. We asked to be moved further back cause the band was extremely loud. Our calamari app was very good, different, with shrimp, zucchini and carrots. We’d order again. The mushroom rage was just OK. Our filet was tasty but we asked for medium rare and had to send back since was too overdone. Our beet and kale salad was mostly kale hardly any beets. Wouldn’t order that again. The service was very good even dealing with the steak etc. We enjoyed the entertainment and would return. It was great seeing a nice mix of people young and old listening to the jazz!
A little overpriced for the portion and quality. They didn’t serve bread before dinner was served.
Cliff Bell's was nice. I had the Scallops with risotto. The risotto was excellent. The scallops were just OK. My guest ordered the truffle fries. These were also outstanding. I thought the music was a little to loud. It is a jazz club and the trio playing was good but not anything special. I would go again just for the risotto and the truffle fries. They also served Detroit's Faygo soft drinks!!! I haven't had those since I was a kid. Nice club in Detroit!!
Was amazing food and amazing music 10/10 would go again.
Great food Great music. Love the place. Our waitress seemed a bit rushed and impatient. She even asked if she could cash us out because it was the end of her shift and she wanted to leave. Awkward situation but we made the best of it
We go to Cliff Bells often - so took some out of town guests Friday night! The first round of music was really poor and extreme loud. The second session was awesome and one of the best we have heard.
The service - worst we have ever had. Food got you through Friday evening.
Might rethink coming down!
Ambiance is always great! Jazz Music is wonderful. Nothing like eating a spectacular meal in an old Detroit Speakeasy. Took our kids ages 14-22 and they loved it, 18 year old's choice for her Birthday Brunch. We have been in the late evening on a date also and loved it.
Have been to Cliff Bells for brunch and dinner and it has been amazing every time! Great place for a date and listen to live jazz!!
I love “Cliff Bell’s”!!!!!!
Great night. Love the ambience. The refurbishing of old wood is beautiful. We sat by the musicians. Seemed like a great table intil we realuzed we were in the superhighway to the restrooms.
Three of us were celebrating a birthday with tasty food, swinging music and a comfortable ambience. Other guests enjoying themselves around us enhanced the pleasurable experience. Our server took splendid care if us and even provided a brief history of the place.
Incredible interior design! Live music was good! Pickle martini not as great as I remembered! Lobster risotto NOT worth money! WAY too much pepper! Couldn’t find lobster! Mascarpone cake was incredible! Need better wine list!
Awesome place for jazz! The food is good and ambiance is great. Depending on where you sit, you may not be able to see the performers. Probably close to half of the seating has an obstructed view of the stage so beware if that is important to you.
Perfect Sunday brunch spot, live music and great food. I wasn’t impressed with the $10 Bloody Mary tased very watered down.
Great night at Cliff Bell's! The food was excellent. The Diver Scallops were incredible, and prepared just right and the Old Fashioned and Sezarac I had were mixed perfectly. I can't remember what my date had, but she loved it. The Steve Wood Quartet was amazing and a perfect accompaniment to the historic feeling at Cliff Bell's.
We brought my parents to Cliff Bell's for a belated Mother's Day and it was wonderful! The music was outstanding, the service was attentive and friendly, the food and drinks were excellent! The hostess sat us promptly and even gave us a choice between further back from the music or up close which I really appreciated. The only downside is having to pay cover when you are planning on eating dinner. We spent a couple hundred on dinner and drinks for four, so the extra $10 per person felt like a money grab. BUT if that cover goes to the entertainment then well-deserved because they were excellent. Overall I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend to those looking for a special night out.
Good Jazz Bar & Jazz groups playing. Pretty loud & very energetic. We would Go Again!
Very expensive, but worth the experience of the beautiful Art Deco room and great live jazz that is hard to find these days!
The atmosphere was great. The history of the place is outstanding. I expected more of the food quality for the price.
Mother’s Day. Great food
I brought my Mom here for her first time and she loved the ambiance and live piano during brunch. We were put off at how long service took - I had to go the hostess stand to ask for a server after no one came to take our drink order. The food also took longer than normal and the restaurant was at half-capacity, max. We will be back for brunch or happy hour because this place is a gem in the city and was worth the waiting.
Fabulous dinning. My son took me to Brunch for Mother Days and it was perfect
The apps and dessert were very good but the main courses were disappointing. The waitress didn't seem to happy to be there so she made the experience less appealing.
Friendly service, Good Food & Spirits, Excellent Live Jazz - all perfect for pre-theatre dinner and entertainment.
I don't know if the front door staff are new or what, but we had a reservation but it still took about ten minutes for them to figure out where to seat us, and when they did they put us on the stage in a table with not enough room to even sit at, ridiculous. I had to ask the waitress to move us to another table in the bar area, which was much more comfortable and then we got excellent service too. Also, there were kids trying to sell candy bars and playing with the grand piano while we were there, which I thought was bizarre for a fancy restaurant, this place is not cheap! Look at the menu prices, then decide if the diner should expect a fine dining experience or a coney island experience. Mine was closer to one and not the other.
Great food, service was right on point and was a very enjoyable evening.
Entertaining a guest from Moscow, Russia
Cliff Bell's is rated 4.1 stars by 1245 OpenTable diners.