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The Best Live Music Bars in Detroit

by MaryQuinley January - last edited 2 weeks ago by Chantelle

In the 1960s, music lovers worldwide celebrated the hatched-in-Detroit Motown sound. Twenty years later, the techno movement was born in Motor City. Today, Detroit’s music scene, from rock, jazz and blues to country and metal – and every genre in between – continues to thrive. Here’s a sampling of the best live music bars in Detroit.

 

The Majestic Center

 

The Majestic Center | The Best Live Music Bars in Detroit

Live performances at The Majestic Center © The Majestic
 

 

The Majestic Center, a circa early-1900s midtown hangout, hosts rock, blues, jazz, hip-hop and techno performances. This multi-purpose haunt houses The Magic Stick and The Majestic Theatre. Best bets for pre- or post- concert chow? Try lobster mac n’cheese or pork belly sliders from the on-site eatery, Majestic Cafe.

 

Bert’s Marketplace

 

Live jazz and Cajun catfish sooth late-night cravings at Bert’s Marketplace in the Eastern Market district. The bare-bones club presents a sizzling line-up of local blues, rock and jazz talent. Warm weather draws musicians outdoors to perform on the patio while wafts from barbecue smokers entice passersby to sit, listen and savour.

 

Cliff Bell’s

 

Touted by Playboy as “one of America’s best bars” with “the works, just as it was way back when,” Cliff Bell’s supper club features live entertainment, dinner and Sunday brunch. Art deco dominates the 1930s-inspired former speakeasy, where smooth sounds of past and present jazz magically meld.

 

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

 

Baker's Keyboard Lounge | The Best Live Bars in Detroit

Jazz and Blues at Baker's Keyboard Lounge © Marvin Shaouni
 

 

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge – Detroit’s oldest jazz club in continuous operation – also traces its roots back to the 1930s. The likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Nat “King” Cole and other jazz and blues greats have all performed in this intimate club with its signature piano-shaped bar. Live entertainment and soul food top the nightly agenda here.

 

Bleu

 

Rhythmic vibes and snippets of multi-coloured neon lights bounce off the walls at Bleu’s, a trendy downtown club. The place is huge – it accommodates 800 people during popular DJ-driven events.

 

Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine

 

On Friday and Saturday, Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine (also downtown) sizzles with salsa as patrons converge on the dance floor for free lessons. Dollops of rock and pop weave happily with Latin flavours at this after-dinner party.

 

MGM Grand Detroit Casino

 

MGM Grand Detroit | The Best Live Music Bars in Detroit

V Nightclub at MGM Grand Detroit © Scott Spellman
 

 

Whether your preference is for piano bars, DJs sets and dancing to hip-hop, or even ballroom lessons, find it all at the MGM Grand Detroit Casino. With five different bars and lounges to choose from, there’s something for every musical taste here.

 

Sound Board

 

Sound Board, Motor City Casino’s premier entertainment venue, hosts international notables like Aretha Franklin, Jay Leno and Patti LaBelle. Live pop, rock, electronic, and Top 40 performers lead the nightly hoopla in the second floor Chromatics Lounge. 

 

Small’s

 

Head to the fringes of the city to Small’s in Hamtramck for an assortment of new wave, dark ‘80s, retro ‘90s and plenty of rock ‘n’ roll. The 200-capacity venue hosts live bands several nights a week.

 

Danny + The Darleans | The Best Live Music Bars in Detroit

Live session by Danny + The Darleans © Bill Bowen
 

 

Dirty Dog Jazz Café

 

Dinner and cocktails at Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe Farms is a great bet for weekly live jazz performances. Other musical neighbourhood favourites are The Magic Bag in Ferndale and Uptown Grille in Commerce Township.

 

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Have you visited any of these live music venues in Detroit? Where do you go to hear great music when you’re in town? Share your thoughts with us below.

Written by Mary Quinley 


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About the author: MaryQuinley

Mary Quinley

Mary Quinley is an award-winning journalist who writes for magazines, newspapers and online publications. She is the author of the book 52 Ohio Weekends: Great Getaways and Adventures for Every Season. Mary resides in Metro Detroit most seasons. In the winter, she heads to southwest Florida to enjoy beach towns, back roads and happy hours. Family and friends are priorities 24/7.