When Henry Ford opened the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, it was known as the “Motor City.” When Motown Records started up in Detroit, it was known as “Motown City,” and when Kiss released their Destroyer album in 1976, it was known as “Rock City.” What is it about Detroit that makes it the subject of so much attention?
Detroit, Michigan is more than just a city, it’s an attitude. Only a city this hard-working could be this hard partying, and if you’re looking to party, you can’t find a place more ready for it than Detroit. Even though you won’t have to look far to find fun in Detroit, you may want a little guidance. For those about to rock, here are a few of the first places you might want to check out first in Detroit.
1. The TV Bar
Judging from the name, you might think the TV Bar is something closer to a sports bar than a dance club. A TV screen may not be the focus of this Detroit nightclub, but if you’re thinking of a night in your living room meets dance club, the TV Bar will not be far from your expectations. Sure the TV Bar plays techno, house, disco and hip-hop, and all the rest of the usual suspects, but here, VIP is a foreign word, and red velvet ropes are parts of living room curtains. Manager Josh Guerin may have said it best when he declared’ “I don’t like going to a place and feeling like I’m not wanted there if I’m not ordering $100 worth of drinks. You don’t treat ‘em as customers. You treat ‘em as guests. Been there, done that? Come to the TV Bar and do this.
2. The Marble Bar
It may have come a long way from its Leather Daddy days as the Detroit Eagle, but you can still find a lot of leather at the Marble Bar. With some nights featuring an all-out house party, other nights a death metal mosh pit, and still other nights an S and M themed masquerade ball, this club may contain enough cow skin to make vegetarians think twice before entering. However, if the wearing of animals is not too problematic for you, it doesn’t seem to be too problematic for most. No matter what’s on the program, you can almost depend on a long line outside the Marble Bar, but with performances by Liturgy, Ceremony, and Nick Molina, it may just be worth the wait. The craft cocktails have Detroit Centric names, like Purple Gang and M10, but don’t go to the Marble Bar just to get one of those, when there’s a packed house, the full cocktail menu may not be available.
When it comes to gay bars in the Motor City, the Village People may come to mind. In fact, even the thought of a gay bar in a town like Detroit may seem like an Oxymoron to some. However, Menjo’s manages to pull the concept off perfectly. While Menjo’s surely has its share of pretty boys, the image here is all muscles and leather pants. You can let all your hair down on Furry Fridays or show up on Twisted Tuesdays for the weekly workshop on all things Fetish and Kink with some of the hottest underground techno starting after 11. Of course, you can always take home the belt on karaoke nights; just bring your facial hair, pierced nipples, and tight jeans and join the party.
4. Niki’s Pizza
There are probably a lot of broken plates the day after a party at Niki’s and it may not just be due to the high decibel level of the music. Niki’s is the lounge in Greektown serving up Greek style pizza and Greek-style celebration Detroit style, and apparently, to the patrons of Niki’s breaking plates is just a part of the norm. While the daytime crowd may know Niki’s for its delicious food, the nighttime crowd knows it as the five bar, four-floor party headquarters where the music is always pumping, the drinks are always flowing, and the Feta Cheese Burger is always cooked to perfection. The salads can feed an army (of rabbits, maybe, but an army nonetheless) and be sure to go home with Niki’s salad dressing as a party favor. Locals highly recommend it.
5. Whiskey Parlor
Anyone with some knowledge of Detroit will tell you of the city’s love affair with whiskey. Detroit fought for the fiery beverage in the Prohibition era, and it’ll be darned if it’s going to give up the fight now. When it comes to places that take Whiskey drinking in Detroit seriously, the Whiskey Parlor is probably at the top of the list. The bar features a list of 100 bottles in addition to whiskey and wine flights to satisfy anyone looking to bring their whiskey home. Plus, if your looking for an accompaniment to that brew, it can be found in more than one way at the whiskey parlor. The truffled Caprese salad with cream filled Burrata and bourbon cherry cheesecake are just two of the small-plate offerings to pair with your drink, and the steady soundtrack of live jazz and purple light brings the perfect ambiance to a night full of whiskey and romance.
6. I Rock Nightclub
If the name “I Rock” brings back images of the I-Roc sports cars of the 1980’s, you probably belong at the I Rock Nightclub. With a list of alumni that reads like a who’s who of hair metal, the I Rock may well have given birth to the late 80’s early 90’s metal scene. The mere walls of this club are hallowed, and the pictures posted on them prove it. The walls of the I Rock are wallpapered with autographed pictures ranging from Ted Nugent to Funkadelic to Yngwie Malmsteen, with some pretty revealing pictures of Patty Smith, and glamour shots of Dale Bozzio thrown in for good measure. Want to party like its 1989? Come down to the I Rock where You Rock, I Rock, and We Rock in Detroit Rock City.
Updated: April 4, 2018