In 2010, the Detroit Eagle shuttered after 25 years as a leather daddy bar. This month, it officially re-opened under new management as Marble Bar — a live music venue that will probably be unrecognizable to anyone who frequented it during its leather daddy days.
For one, the former club's infamous sex dungeon is gone. But beyond that, the new owners have completely reconfigured the interior. The bar has been moved from the center of the room to the side, creating a wide-open space that feels palatial. The feeling is further emphasized by warm touches — including sconces, chandeliers, and yes, lots of marble. Meanwhile, a partitioned upstairs features a lounge where guests can relax on midcentury chairs. The bar has a tall shelf that has a rolling ladder to reach the top shelves — though when we visited it wasn't stocked nearly enough to warrant using the ladder.
But that's not to say that Marble Bar is just another shot-and-a-beer rock 'n' roll dive. Beers range from the low end ($3 PBR) to the high ($10 Frambroise). The menu also includes a selection of classic cocktails with a twist — like the Billy Bonds (Old Overholt Rye, Punt E Mes, honey lemon syrup) and the Purple Gang (Pimm's Blackberry & Elderflower Liqueur, honey lemon syrup, lemon juice, and Perrin Blackberry IPA).
Marble Bar had a soft opening in late September, but last weekend was its official grand opening, with high-profile gigs by metal pioneers Pentagram and two back-to-back record release shows by Detroit's Protomartyr. Other near future shows promise an eclectic mix of genres, including house music by Tour Detroit on Oct. 16, country singer-songwriter Nikki Lane on Nov. 7, Austin, Texas-based punk rockers Video on Nov. 8, and recent 4AD signee U.S. Girls on Nov. 22
The ample space should allow for Marble Bar to hit a sweet spot, booking acts that are perhaps too small for venues like the former Magic Stick but too big for other venues around town.
"It's a little bit larger, so it fills that gap between of the small rooms and the big rooms," says Virginia Benson, who is doing booking and bartending. "But also, I feel like it's more of an 'everybody's invited' kind-of bar. It's a place where you can go when there's not a show and you can still get a nice drink — you'll feel comfortable."