When summer comes around and we wander out into the hot and steamy city, there should be just one important mission on our minds: the quest to stay cool. And since coolness is more than body temperature — it’s a state of mind — the able-bodied congregate at the Detroit hot spots to be among other cool people. Here’s where you’ll find them:
Having celebrated its grand opening several times already (any excuse for a party!), the Motor City Brewing Company Tap Room (470 W. Canfield) is a wonderfully low-key addition to the downtown scene. Brewmeister/entrepreneur John Linardos has transformed this building into a hospitable bar serving Motor City’s complete line of tasty beers on tap. Large windows and a nice roof deck — not to mention a good mix of Detroit hipsters — makes for one relaxed, rollicking good time.
Only a few blocks away, a nondescript green building near Wayne State University houses the Third Street Saloon (701 W. Forest at Third). On Thursdays, funksters Brad and Scott fill the smoky pool hall with the sweet sounds of James Brown and his brethren, as college and postcollege folk down cheap drinks. Sounds like summer, huh?
And if it’s summer, that means there are gonna be huge crowds and a billion motorcycles fuming downtown Royal Oak. Nestled among these, however, is one of the last independent coffeehouses, the vibrantly colorful Cafe De Marquis (204 W. Fifth St.). Featuring European-style service, here you’re actually encouraged to sit, relax and enjoy a delicious coffee or fruit drink.
Aaron Timlin’s detroit contemporary (5141 Rosa Parks Blvd.) gallery is a shining example of a good idea become reality. This summer, Timlin will be taking some time off from art displays (fear not, they’ll be back in the fall) to organize and — thankfully — continue hosting some great music shows. With the obvious lack of small, all-ages, independently booked venues in Detroit, d.c. fills the bill quite nicely with its wonderful vibe, nice people and a space that just keeps looking better each time you visit.
Speaking of multiuse spaces, the Zeitgeist Theater/Gallery (2661 Michigan Ave.) may be known for fascinating plays and art exhibits, but the real treat is found in back. A large, full-service bar is nestled among a row of booths for all your pre- and post-exhibit libations.
Meanwhile, Small’s (10339 Conant) in Hamtown has opened its outdoor deck for the summer. The private fenced-in patio is one more reason to visit this corner bar. There’s just something so inviting about Small’s, whether it’s the impeccable decor (check out the velvet paintings behind the bar), the always personable bartenders, its top-notch jukebox or a crowd of people intently enjoying their drinks and the company.
On the north end of Detroit, Buddha Bar (21633 W. 8 Mile Rd.) has been roping in the cooler element of the city. It is a surprisingly small yet cozy room that, again, excels in low-key atmosphere. A variety of DJs, musicians and young-at-heart scenesters gravitate to this leisurely hangout.
Finally, for the very younger crowd, there’s the all-ages and alcohol-free Wired Frog (21145 Gratiot Ave. in Eastpointe). Here you’ll find a huge crowd of high-schoolers sweating out the summer and enjoying every moment of their vacations while listening to up-and-coming punk, emo and indie bands.
Forget movie theaters and swimming pools, the best way to beat the heat in Detroit is to be among the cool masses. Get out there!
For more info on the coolest clubs in metro Detroit visit our Club Metropolis.Aaron Warshaw is the Metro Times listings editor. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org