Detroit’s premier dive bar has put on almost every famous band to come out of the city at one stage or another in its long history, from The White Stripes to Rodriguez. Some people have even called it the “CBGB of the Midwest.” These days, The Old Miami on Cass Avenue is a great place to see a wide variety of gigs indoors and out, with most bills featuring an eclectic mix for a bargain price.
The Old Miami, 3930 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI, USA, +1 313 831 3830
Before it was brought under the Fillmore brand in 2007, this venue was known for most of its history as the State Theatre or Palms Theatre. Originally opened in 1925 as a picture house, it now holds 3,000 fans in a stunning, 80-foot-high (24.4 meters) space with classic chandeliers. Again, the room provides great acoustics, and the venue raises the caliber of every performance.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI, USA, +1 313 961 5451
Originally opened in 1939 as the Harper Theatre, Detroit’s premier venue for metal became a rock club in 1974. Putting on shows by national and local heavy metal, rock, punk, and alternative acts, including big names such as Iron Maiden and Megadeth, Harpos has become a Detroit institution. The venue hasn’t changed much over the years, but it was recently bought out, and the new owners plan to make improvements.
Harpos Concert Theatre, I-94 & Chalmers exit 222A, Detroit, MI, USA, +1 313 824 1700
In the heart of Downtown, Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy doesn’t quite date back to the time of speakeasies like some of these venues, having opened in 2007, but it has captured the spirit of the time with its famous cocktails and classic rock, by Carl & Company. It’s struck a chord with Detroit’s hip crowd, and celebrities, including Quentin Tarantino and Ryan Gosling, have also visited. It’s only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge has been called the “crème de la crème” of Detroit jazz clubs. Many music historians consider it to be the world’s oldest operating venue of its kind, opened in 1933 by Chris and Fannie Baker. Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis are among the musicians to have played here, and it has Art Deco decoration that dates back to the ’50s. The caliber of the jazz shows will help you complete the journey back in time.
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, 20510 Livernois Ave, Detroit, MI, USA, +1 313 345 6300