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)
  • Cooler/Ice:  Anything less than 2ft in width will fit in the middle of the beer bike.  We also have room for smaller sized coolers overhead in the roof rack, but make sure you don’t bring coolers that leak!
  • 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

What you can’t bring

  • Liquor, jello shots, personally mixed drinks or anything over 9% ABV
  • No more than 16 passengers per beer bike, no exceptions

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!  Once the tour starts whatever drinks you brought needs to last the 2hrs (of course, we can stop at bars anytime along the way)

2. Does The HandleBar have electric pedal assist?

NEW FOR OUR 4th SEASON IN DETROIT:  YES! All 8 of our Original Amsterdam-built bikes are now equipped with electric assist. These systems were uniquely designed and built for our 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 Brian are both mechanical engineers and we nerded out a bit over the design so that it helps, but doesn’t diminish the experience. This is something we’ve been fine-tuning for the last year. The same rule is true: if you don’t pedal, we still don’t move, but it adds a little pep in your pedal to get off the starting line and get up “hills”. So far the feedback has been great, but let us know what you think!

3. 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.

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 and we can help!

5. How many people can ride on each HandleBar?

The minimum recommended number of passengers is 6. The maximum per barcycle is 16. If you have a larger party, you may rent multiple bikes. The price per bike remains fixed regardless of party size.

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 just speak up if you want to 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.

7. Is there music on The HandleBar?

Have you ever been to a (fun) party without music? C’mon now!

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).

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

All tours Start/End at 190 Gratiot in the heart of downtown Detroit. Here’s a map.

Most people prefer that we take care of the route, but if you have something in mind all you have to do is tell your driver right before the tour (or during it). We typically stick to the downtown areas around district Detroit, Campus Martius, Greektown, but can also hit Corktown and midtown as well (check out the map here). Typically we stop at 2-3 spots for every tour, but how many you do depends on your pedaling and the amount of time you want to spend at each location.

Campus Martius area: Checker Bar, The Fountain Beach Bar, Grand Trunk Pub, Central Kitchen, Hard Rock Cafe

District Detroit area: Town Pump, Park Bar, Rusted Crow Distillery, Brass Rail, Chelis Chili Bar, Little Caesar’s Arena (Sports & Social Detroit, Mike’s Pizza Bar, Kid Rock’s) Hockeytown Cafe

Greek Town: Old Shillelagh, The Well, The Detroiter, The Greek, Pappy’s, The Baltimore, etc.

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

Midtown: Founder’s Taproom, Harry’s, Temple Bar, 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 don’t charge 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. 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!

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?

We’re located right in the heart of downtown so the options really are endless. The closest spots are only a few steps away: Vicente’s is an awesome smaller Cuban spot, Punch Bowl Social has huge seating capability, Calexico is a new Mexican restaurant with great outdoor seating right on Woodward, Hard Rock Cafe and Texas De Brazil are steps away as well. Also 2 blocks down Broadway from us is Detroit Beer Company and Small Plates – both great options for food/drink. Not even a block or so in the other direction is also Greektown, which is absolutely loaded with bars and restaurants.

If you’re really looking to take the party up a notch we also recommend trying 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: Looking to hit a game this year and don’t want to break the bank ?  Check out our offer 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. If we can fill your spot, we will refund you in full minus $25

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

Prep: Before the Tour Starts

How do I sign the waiver?

On the day of your tour, all riders must sign the e-waiver. 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?

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.  

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. 

Things are so different down here - where the heck should we park ?

So many options: 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 our 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. If you bring glass, it cannot be accessed unless we are at one of our designated stops. 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 tour 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 food, beverages, and coolers. In the middle of the barcycle, we have more space for large coolers 2 feet in width or less.

Can we bring a keg?

Nope, and you don’t want to. 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 folks.

What route will we take?

Your driver will handle the route, unless you have specific places you really want to go. As long as parking is available, we’re more than happy to tailor the route to where you want to go. Our typical route includes stops at Campus Martius, District Detroit/Comerica Park & Greektown, but we can also hit Corktown or Midtown if you want to try something different.

Who drives this thing?

Each tour comes with your very own Bar Handler. He or She will steer the barcycle 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 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!

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 HandleBar to the starting point on time. The time it takes to complete a tour is up to the people pedaling. The Bar Handler 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 the HandleBar 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 – even with the new state law. All of that is history, as we know, because Detroit city council passed an ordinance in late 2016 to specifically allow alcohol.

Are you guys really the original ?

Yep, we sure are and it’s easily provable.  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 just ask any of the people in the Mayor’s office and city council we met with for over a year to negotiate allowing us to operate.  (or any of the Detroit bar owners or people who live downtown!)

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 as we think most people know and it says more about them… than us.  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 pedal pub that was invented, designed and manufactured in Amsterdam over 20yrs ago by Henk and Zwier Van Laar so we are the Original in every sense of the word.

Ready to Book?

Are you ready for an incredibly unique downtown Detroit experience?
Book your HandleBar experience today and see Detroit like you’ve never seen it.

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