The HandleBar FAQ

Top Ten HandleBar Questions

1. What can/can't I bring on The HandleBar Detroit beer bike?

What you’ll want to bring along: 

  • Beverages (beer/wine/prepackaged beverages under 9% ABV)
  • Snacks if you want (if you do, we recommend items that can be eaten with one hand like pretzels.  An example of something that would be difficult might be a big sheet cake w/ plates, forks, knives, etc haha)
  • Coolers:  We provide Qty. 1 Cooler on each bike that has a capacity of 80 cans.  You may also bring coolers if you’d like.  Anything less than 2ft in width will fit in the middle of our beer bike.  We also have room for smaller sized coolers (roughly the size of a 6-pack of beer or a small backpack) overhead in the roof rack, but make sure you don’t bring coolers that leak! (they’ll drip on your heads!)
  • Ice: Bring your own
  • Cups (cups are needed if you bring glass; cans are by far the way to go, but if you bring cups consider lids – it gets bumpy out there and you will for sure spill without them)
  • Playlist for music (Spotify/Pandora works fine too!)
  • Completed e-waivers for all customers before you arrive for the tour

What you can’t bring

  • Liquor, jello shots, personally mixed drinks or anything over 9% ABV
  • No more than 16 passengers per pedal pub, no exceptions (if you have more than 16ppl just reserve more than one tour)

ALSO: City law states we cannot stop the tour at a party store to pick up more alcohol once the tour has started so come prepared!  The police do check this so it’s a rule we must enforce.  Once the tour starts whatever drinks you brought needs to last the 2hrs (of course, we can stop at bars anytime along the way as well)

2. Does The HandleBar have electric pedal assist?

YES! EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  Our bikes are hand built by the inventors of the concept over in Amsterdam.  Here in the USA we’ve realized there’s a need for a motor, so we equipped our Original Pedal Pubs® with electric assist.  Our motor system was uniquely designed and built for our party bikes to help you out as much OR as little as you’d like!

Still prefer that pure pedal power we brought to the city back in 2015?  NO problem, just let your driver know! Prefer more help? You got it!

Stephen and I (Brian) are both mechanical engineers and we nerded out a bit over the design before releasing to you guys so that it helps, but doesn’t diminish the experience.  Why does this matter ?  Most people want to pedal, but don’t want a workout.  In every other existing motor design it locks onto the pedals and you can’t pedal faster than it; eventually customers catch on and just give up even trying.  Why exert energy when you’re constantly bottoming out on the motor’s set speed?  It’s a small difference, but something we have spent a lot of time designing and have heard awesome feedback on. (and proud of if you can’t tell, haha)  Like everything we do; we spend a lot of time carefully considering what is best for our customers so please let us know your feedback!

3. Tour Option Detail: Downtown vs. Midtown vs. Individual ?

Downtown Group Tours: 
A. Starting Location: In the heaviest density of restaurants & bars in the ENTIRE city (340 Macomb) so you only have to walk steps for your pre/post gatherings.
B. Booking: You book the entire bike and bring between 6-16 people (per party bike) and the price is fixed on the bike (regardless of the number of people you bring
C. Route: We typically make 2 bar stops and one group photo op stop.  We’ll go by almost the entire city on this 2-hour tour (Campus Martius, Greektown, Comerica Park / Ford Field, District Detroit, etc)  The discussion point is where we stop.  We have recommendations that we can talk about when you arrive, but as long as we can find parking we’ll go anywhere.

Individual Seat tours:
Exact same thing as a downtown group tour, except
A. Seating: You only book the number of seats that you need.  We’ll pair you with other smaller groups.
B. Route: Route is the same as well, but bar/restaurant stops we will have to make sure everyone is alright w/ our suggestions.  Always awesome and fun spots and most people are concerned about the route, which hits every downtown area.

Midtown Group Tours:
     A. Starting Location: Detroit Shipping Company, 3 blocks north of Little Caesar’s Arena. (474 Peterboro St).  This location is PERFECT for groups to celebrate before and after the tour.  Why ?  You get the food of multiple five star food trucks (but they’re small restaurants inside), the atmosphere of a beer garden with massive outdoor and indoor seating, often LIVE music, artwork, etc.  Words can’t do it justice; check it out here:
B. Booking: You book the entire bike and bring between 6-16 people (per party bike) and the price is fixed on the bike (regardless of the number of people you bring
C. Route: You can ask to head north to check out Midtown. (Hopcat, Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Founders Brewery, Honest Johns, Bakersfield, 2nd Best, etc)  Or, we can head south and check out downtown too (Comerica Park, Spirit of Detroit, Campus Martius, etc)

4. What dates are available?

To see available dates and book your tour, visit our Booking page.

We operate from Mid-March through Mid-November, however, if you have a date/time outside of this window just email us at gm@handlebardetroit.com and we can help!  We do tours year round upon request 🙂

5. How many people can ride on each HandleBar?

For Group tours the minimum is 6 and the maximum is 16.  For individual seat tours you book as few or as many seats as you need.

If you have a party larger than 16, you may rent multiple bikes. The price per bike remains fixed regardless of party size for our group tours.

Seating on the pedal pubs:  Each bike has 12 barstool seats, 3 seats on the back and then one person in the middle (bartender standing or often times the middle turns into a dance floor). 10 of the seats have pedals. The guests typically swap seats at each bar stop so everyone gets a turn to pedal and/or not pedal.  For individual tours typically guests rotate amongst themselves at stops, but just speak up if you want us to help facilitate a swap!

6. How much does a tour cost?

Pricing depends on the date/time, but if you fill the bike it’s between $18-$25/person depending on the day and time.

We also offer individual seat tours that start at $25/seat

All you need to do to check pricing is go to the book now page and hover over the date you’d like and it will give you the final price 🙂

7. Is there music on The HandleBar?

Have you ever been to a (fun) party without music? C’mon now!  Just bring your phone or MP3 player and we’ll hook it up to our stereo.  We have lightning / headphone / aux connections on the bike ready to go or you can try bluetooth as well.

Pro Tip: Create a playlist for your day, or queue up Spotify and plug into our stereo 

8. Where does the tour start / end / go?

Downtown Tours:  Start/End at 340 Macomb, Detroit, MI 48226 in the most bar/restaurant heavy area in the ENTIRE city of Detroit. Here’s a map.

Most people prefer that we take care of the route and every tour gets to see all of downtown (Campus Martius, Greektown, District Detroit, Grand Circus Park, Comerica, etc) and the area just north of Little Caesar’s Arena – all in a 2hr tour.  If you have a special request to check out Corktown or Eastern Market just say the word.  It’s hard enough on you to assemble your group; when you arrive we want you to relax about the decisions, but also these days things change downtown with all the construction, big events that force road closures and parking changes and it can get confusing unless you’re down here often.  The discussion point is where we stop and we have awesome recommendations, but if you have a specific request just let us know right before we take off.  We’ll take you wherever you’d like as long as we can find parking.

Typically we stop at 2 bar/restaurant spots for every tour and one photo op stop, but how many you do depends on your pedaling and the amount of time you want to spend at each location.

Some options for bars downtown:

Campus Martius area: Checker Bar, The Fountain Beach Bar, Grand Trunk Pub, Central Kitchen, The Skip , the Instagramer’s Heaven The Belt , Punch Bowl Social or others!

District Detroit area: Town Pump, Park Bar, Rusted Crow Distillery, Brass Rail, TinRoof Detroit (select days only), Little Caesar’s Arena (Sports & Social Detroit, Mike’s Pizza Bar, Kid Rock’s) Hockeytown Cafe, Bookies, etc.

Greek Town: The Detroiter is probably our favorite stop to make during a tour.  Because we start all our tours in Greek Town we typically suggest you hit up these places up before or after your tour, but Greektown is ALWAYS a favorite to drive though and see all the people eating outside, which we do for every tour.

Some of the bars to hit before or after your tour: Firebird Tavern, Old Shillelagh, Giordanos, Exodos Rooftop bar, Level 2 rooftop bar, Basement Burger Bar, The WellThe Greek, Pappy’s, The Baltimore, B-Dubbs, etc.  Most of the bars above are within a few feet of where we start our tours.

General downtown: Downtown Louies, Queens Bar, Detroit Beer Company, Cornerstone Barrel House, Anchor Bar, Coaches Corner, etc.

Midtown: Detroit Shipping company is a fan favorite because of it’s huge capacity, open air picnic tables and quick restaurants, Founder’s Taproom, Harry’s, Temple Bar, 2nd Best, Bakersfield, etc.

Corktown: PJ’s Lagerhouse, McShanes, Nemos, etc.

Eastern Market: Eastern Market Brewery, Thomas Magee’s, Vivios, Detroit City Distillery, Cutter’s, BB Butchers

Something we’re proud of: We refuse to take money from bars to be “partnered” with us so we’re not obligated to take you anywhere you don’t want to go.   It also means some of them offer us better discounts because we’re not charging them to stop, which we completely pass on to you guys.  Aside from what is listed there are also other bars all over downtown that we can go to – just ask us – we have no preference and will steer you towards the places we think you’d like as long as we can find parking near them.

Most importantly: Don’t get stressed out about all the options – the vast majority of people just show up and let us take you around!

Midtown Tours:
     A. Starting Location: Detroit Shipping Company, 4 blocks north of Little Caesar’s Arena. (474 Peterboro St).  This location is PERFECT for large groups to celebrate before and after the tour.  They have massive outdoor and indoor seating, multiple quick and delicious restaurants, often LIVE music, art, etc.  Details here: https://www.detroitshippingcompany.com/

B. Route: You can ask to head north to check out Midtown. (Hopcat, Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Founders Brewery, Honest Johns, Bakersfield, 2nd Best, etc)  Or, we can head south and check out downtown too (Comerica Park, Spirit of Detroit, Campus Martius, etc)

9. Where do I sign this damn waiver?

Cool your jets pal. Here she is: WAIVER

10. Any suggestions where we should eat / go before the tour?

If you do a tour with us you’re getting the best starting location of anywhere in the city.  We’re located right in the heart of the most restaurant and bar saturated area in the ENTIRE city of Detroit so the options really are endless.  Don’t mess around with trying to coordinate an uber or driver; just walk to one of the awesome spots below:

Food & drinks within a couple steps of us: Firebird Tavern (15% off your bill INCLUDING alcohol if you show them your reservation), Old Shillelagh, Giordanos, Basement Burger Bar, B-Dubbs, Fishbones

Food & Drinks within 2 blocks of us are Calexico, Mootz, Detroit Beer Company, Vicentes, Punch Bowl Social, The Greek, Pappy’s, The Breakman, Texas De Brazil, Small Plates, San Morello, 7 Greens Salads (no alcohol but AMAZING salads!)

More centered around only drinks and within 2 blocks: Exodos Rooftop bar, Level 2 rooftop bar, The Well, Skip Detroit, The Baltimore,  Queens Bar, Deluxx Fluxx, etc.

If looking to check out another area we also recommend trying Detroit’s largest Microbrewery, Atwater Brewery. They have a VIP area that you can rent right inside their brewery that holds up to 60 people.  More info here.

The Detroit Lions x The HandleBar Special Offer

The Detroit Original x The Detroit Lions: Stay tuned!  We’ve had deals with them in the past and hope to for 2019 as well (2018 here)

Booking Your HandleBar Experience

How can I find available dates and times?

Visit our BOOKINGS PAGE to view all availability and book your tour. If you are within 2 days of your requested tour, please text us at 586-960-5851 and we may be able to squeeze your group in!

How do I pay?

You will need to pay in full when you finalize your booking online (Book HERE). No cash payments are accepted. We do not hold tours without full payment.

What if I want to cancel or reschedule?

Cancellations more than 14 days out you can reschedule for no cost (just shoot us an e-mail or text us) or you can get a refund to your credit card minus $25 to cover booking fees. Cancellations less than 14 days out – No refund or rain check (you are responsible for the full price of the tour, regardless of deposited amount).

Please let us know if you need to cancel, as we will do our best to fill your tour (sometimes we have a waitlist).  If we can fill your spot, we would offer a reschedule option.

Do you guys sell gift certificates?

Yep, you can purchase gift certificates for any dollar amount. They’re great for birthdays, work outings or even to donate to charity auctions to generate funds.

Get Gift Certificate
How old do you have to be to ride The HandleBar ?

All riders must be 18 years or older and must be 21 or older to consume alcohol.

Prep: Before the Tour Starts

How do I sign the waiver?

All riders must sign the e-waiver before we depart (We always appreciate those groups that do it before they arrive!)  Each rider must show their confirmation email received after completion as well as ID to ride.

The details are here.

What is the weather policy?

If HandleBar judges the weather is subjectively bad enough (thunderstorms, freezing rain, etc), we will notify you at least 2 hours before the tour start time to offer a rain check. You may decide to still go as long as the weather is safe enough to ride. Never assume your ride is canceled.

We ride rain or shine. There is a large roof that overhangs in all directions to protect you from direct rain and we go into bars to dry off. No one likes to get wet when they’re dry, but once you’re wet we can tell you from experience that tours in the rain will often have more fun than not because of how much more ridiculous it makes the experience. Life is what you make of it and a HandleBar tour is no different 🙂 . Don’t believe us? Just check the reviews!

Please dress appropriately for predicted weather conditions.

How many people pedal the bike?

For our group tours you bring 16 people including yourself and we provide a driver (17th person). As far as the pedaling goes, there are 10 sets of pedals. If you look closely you’ll see there are 12 “BarStools” total (6 on each side) but only 10 total pedaling seats (5 on each side). Each side also has a seat over the wheels, which means they don’t have pedals. Each cycle bar also has a bench in the back that seats 3 people who want a rest or just want to relax. The last passenger spot is in the middle of The Handlebar and is reserved for the group “bartender.”

Who can’t pedal The HandleBar?

Passengers shorter than 5’3”  may have a hard time reaching pedals although every pedal pub has 3 adjustable seats.  

There is a maximum weight of 300 pounds for people on the bike seats.

The bench at the back of the cycle bar is perfect for those who don’t fit the height and weight limitations. 

Where the heck should we park ?

So many great options & some that are FREE: Check em out here.

What type of clothing should we wear?

Really, anything can be worn and you’ll be okay, but remember you’re pedaling a bike so consider that when picking out your wardrobe. We do, however, recommend you not wear sandals as they can easily come off while pedaling.

What if we don’t want to drink alcohol?

No problem! We have tours where people just want to ride and enjoy the unique experience. The HandleBar is always a blast and we welcome everyone.

Can we decorate the bike?

Yes! The dimensions of the parts you can decorate can be found below. Decorations can be hung anywhere on the bike with the exception of covering our HandleBar website address. We recommend zip ties, rope, or string for attachment methods. We do not allow tape as duct tape removes the varnish from the wood and scotch tape is not strong enough to hold.

barcycleCycle Bar

What to Expect During The Cycle Bar Tour

Can I drink alcohol on The Handlebar?

Yes! Riders are allowed to drink beer, wine and any other type of pre-packaged drink as long as it’s under 9%ABV.   What is a pre-packaged drink ?  Think white claw hard seltzer, mike’s hard lemonade, Lime-a-ritas, etc. (so many options!) .

If you bring glass, it cannot be accessed unless we are stopped and at a bar (glass can and will break so we don’t recommend it!). If you are bringing wine we recommend plastic water bottles because cups tend to spill.

KEEP IN MIND: City law states we cannot stop the Rolling Pub / Bike Bar / Party Bike / Pedal Pub / Bar Bike at a party store to pick up more alcohol once the tour has started so come prepared! (of course, we can stop at bars for you to anytime)

Does The HandleBar supply food or beverages?

It’s actually illegal for us to provide alcohol, but the good news is you can Bring Your Own Bar®️  Alcoholic beverages are limited to beer and wine while on the beer bike. Mixed drinks and hard liquor are not allowed on The Handlebar. However, pre-packaged drinks like White Claw Hard Seltzer, Bud Light Margarita in a can, JimBeam+Coke in a can or anything pre-packaged and under 9% ABV are allowed. We have tons of space on the roof rack for beverages and coolers. In the middle of the bar cycle / bike bar, we have more space for large coolers 2 feet in width or less. (We provide Qty. 1 cooler that has an 80 can capacity)

Can we bring a keg?

Nope, and you don’t want to bring one on a bicycle pub. We’ve done it before and kegs get super foamy during the ride, they are harder to keep cold and it gets very messy trying to fill 16 cups throughout the tour. That and everyone is so picky these days; who can agree to all drink the same thing?!

Cans are the way to go when you’re on a Rolling Pub / Bike Bar / Party Bike / Pedal Pub / Bar Bike

What route will we take?

Route vs. Stops: It’s a common mistake to confuse the route with the places that you stop on your bicycle bar.  Our downtown tours hit every hotspot on every tour (Campus Martius, Greektown, District Detroit, Grand Circus Park, Comerica, etc) and Midtown tours see the entire area as well.  More detail is below; but almost everyone comes on the tour and trusts us to show you the city 🙂  Stephen and I (Brian) have been doing this for 7yrs now and it’s more about the route and spending time on the rolling pub than focusing too much on where you stop. 

Downtown Tours:
Start/End at 340 Macomb, Detroit, MI 48226 in the most bar/restaurant heavy area in the ENTIRE city of Detroit. Here’s a map.

Most people prefer that we take care of the route and every tour gets to see all of downtown (Campus Martius, Greektown, District Detroit, Grand Circus Park, Comerica, etc).  If you have a special request to check out Corktown or Eastern Market just say the word.  It’s hard enough on you to assemble your group; when you arrive we want you to relax about the decisions, but also these days things change downtown with all the construction, big events that force road closures and parking changes and it can get confusing unless you’re down here often.  The discussion point is where we stop and we have awesome recommendations, but if you have a specific request just let us know right before we take off.  We’ll take you wherever you’d like as long as we can find parking for the bike bar.

Typically we stop at 2 bar/restaurant spots for every tour and one photo op stop, but how many you do depends on your pedaling and the amount of time you want to spend at each location.

Some options for bars downtown:

Campus Martius area: Checker Bar, The Fountain Beach Bar, Grand Trunk Pub, Central Kitchen, The Skip , The Belt , Punch Bowl Social or others!

District Detroit area: Town Pump, Park Bar, Rusted Crow Distillery, Brass Rail, TinRoof Detroit (select days only), Little Caesar’s Arena (Sports & Social Detroit, Mike’s Pizza Bar, Kid Rock’s) Hockeytown Cafe, Bookies, etc.

Greek Town: The Detroiter is probably our favorite stop to make during a tour.  Because we start all our tours in Greek Town we typically suggest you hit up these places up before or after your tour, but Greektown is ALWAYS a favorite to drive though and see all the people eating outside, which we do for every tour.

Some of the bars to hit before or after your tour: Firebird Tavern, Old Shillelagh, Giordanos, Exodos Rooftop bar, Level 2 rooftop bar, Basement Burger Bar, The WellThe Greek, Pappy’s, The Baltimore, B-Dubbs, etc.  Most of the bars above are within a few feet of where we start our tours.

General downtown: Downtown Louies, Queens Bar, Detroit Beer Company, Cornerstone Barrel House, Anchor Bar, Coaches Corner, etc.

Midtown: Detroit Shipping company is a fan favorite because of it’s huge capacity, open air picnic tables and quick restaurants, Founder’s Taproom, Harry’s, Temple Bar, 2nd Best, Bakersfield, etc.

Corktown: PJ’s Lagerhouse, McShanes, Nemos, etc.

Eastern Market: Eastern Market Brewery, Thomas Magee’s, Vivios, Detroit City Distillery, Cutter’s, BB Butchers

Something we’re proud of: We refuse to take money from bars to be “partnered” with us so we’re not obligated to take you anywhere you don’t want to go.   It also means some of them offer us better discounts because we’re not charging them to stop, which we completely pass on to you guys.  Aside from what is listed there are also other bars all over downtown that we can go to – just ask us – we have no preference and will steer you towards the places we think you’d like as long as we can find parking near them.

Most importantly: Don’t get stressed out about all the options – the vast majority of people just show up and let us take you around!

Midtown Tours:
     A. Starting Location: Detroit Shipping Company, 4 blocks north of Little Caesar’s Arena. (474 Peterboro St).  This location is PERFECT for large groups to celebrate before and after the tour.  They have massive outdoor and indoor seating, multiple quick and delicious restaurants, often LIVE music, art, etc.  Details here: https://www.detroitshippingcompany.com/

     B. Route: Since we’re closer to Midtown we suggest heading north to check that out. (Hopcat, Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Shinola, Old Miami, Founders Brewery, Bakersfield, 2nd Best, etc)  If you prefer, we can head south and check out downtown too, but most groups book this tour to check out something new & different and we’ve heard great things since starting them 🙂

Who drives this thing?

Each tour comes with your very own Bar Handler. He or She will steer the rolling pub for you, get pictures along the way, keep you fueled and guide you through some of the coolest areas of town. We could not be more proud of the crew of young hard working Bar Handlers that have joined our team over the years.

The Bar Handler is also in charge of the Rolling Pub / Bike Bar / Party Bike / Pedal Pub / Bar Bike, so what they say goes.

Do you have music on the bike?

Have you ever been to a (fun) party without music? C’mon now!  Just bring your phone or mp3 player and we’ll connect it to the stereo on our bike bar.  We have lightning / headphone / aux cables or you can use bluetooth on every rolling pub.  If your phone requires a USB-C or some other connection just bring it w/ you!

Pro Tip: Create a playlist for your day, or queue up Spotify and plug into our stereo (we’ve got you covered with the hook-ups required and the speakers/stereo).

What if our tour takes too long?

You will be charged a late fee if you do not return the Rolling Pub / Bike Bar / Party Bike / Pedal Pub / Bar Bike to the starting point on time. The time it takes to complete a tour is up to the people pedaling the bicycle bar. The Bar Handler (driver) will assist in keeping you on time. We have test-pedaled all routes and know how long they take. We have never had this be an issue!

Was alcohol always legal on The HandleBar?

No, it wasn’t legal according to the city of Detroit until the 2017 season. History: Senate Bill 165 was passed in July of 2015 and allows alcohol to be consumed while on a Rolling Pub / Bike Bar / Party Bike / Pedal Pub / Bar Bike in the state of Michigan. The city of Detroit’s interpretation for the 2015 and 2016 seasons was that an existing city ordinance, Disorderly Conduct Code § 38-5-1, did not allow alcohol on bike bars – even with the new state law that explicitly allowed it.  As you can imagine, we had our discussions with the city on this interpretation at the time, but all of that is history, as we know, because Detroit city council passed an ordinance in late 2016 to specifically allow alcohol on bicycle bars.

Are you guys really the original ?

Yep, we sure are.  Just about every media outlet did a story on us when we first opened.  (One that aired on Oct 2nd in 2015 is here)  Not only that, but we had many negotiations with the Mayor’s office and city council to negotiate allowing us to operate.  Paving the way wasn’t necessarily easy for a concept like this, but we’re proud to have done it the right way and to have been welcomed by the city.

Seem weird for people to ask ?  For a couple years now, our competition that came in after us has been running ads on social media and google adwords that they are “Detroit’s first pedal pub” and “Detroit’s Original Bike Bar”.  We’ve contacted them and they refuse to remove the wording even though it’s very obviously not true.  Our friends, family and staff get pretty fired up about it and often send us screen dumps of the ads, but Stephen and I aren’t too worried about it because we think it says more about them… than us.  Besides, is being first really that important ?  We’re more focused on being the best since we can control that going forward.  We get this question sometimes though, so now you have the facts 🙂

Also, not only are we “The Detroit Original”, but we operate the world’s first Original Pedal Pub® that was invented, designed and manufactured in Amsterdam over 20yrs ago by Henk and Zwier Van Laar so we are the The Original in every sense of the word.

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Book your HandleBar experience today and see Detroit like you’ve never seen it.

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