Detroit Blues and Jazz Clubs


Whatever stew of ingredients that made Detroit so bound for electric music mastery via modern soul and techno must have originated in Detroit’s particular blues history. Like an American grapevine, purveyors of Delta blues moved to Detroit in the labor and blues wave coming North for work from the Delta South. The infamous Black Bottom, epicenter of Detroit blues bars, is today Interstate 75 and projects. But blues live on partly at the GM Renaissance Center a cityscape-defining cluster of seven glass towers filled with boutiques, restaurants and a hotel, plus the chic, if gentrified, Seldom Blues Club. Just as entrenched in Detroit, Detroit jazz clubs abound. Standouts include the Harlequin Café for live jazz and gourmet bites while Detroit’s Buddha Lounge is the spot for suave 1960s supper club jazz.
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Attic Bar

11667 Joseph Campau St., Hamtramck, Michigan; Tel. 313.365.4194
If authentic Detroit blues live music is your thing then it's hard to beat Attic Bar in Hamtramck. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but hey that's Detroit, it's the inside that matters at Attic Bar where some foot tapping, heart tugging, hand clapping blues can be heard nightly.

Baker's Keyboard Lounge

20510 Livernois, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.345.6300
Baker's Keyboard Lounge claims to be the world's oldest Jazz club, well we can't attest to that, we can tell you that over its long history, Baker's Keyboard Lounge, has played host to nearly every important and infamous live Jazz musician in the country. A Detroit staple for nearly eight decades, Baker's Keyboard Lounge, has live music nightly and is a powerhouse in the Detroit Jazz scene.

Bert's Jazz Marketplace

2731 Russell, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.567.2030
Bert's Jazz Marketplace jams with straight forward, smooth Detroit Jazz and serves it up with fantastic food all night long. When big names roll through town, Bert's Jazz Marketplace, is their place to come in for some impromptu sessions.

Buddha Lounge

21633 W. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.535.4664
While not exactly a jazz club in the traditional sense, Buddha Lounge deserves to be in this category for its cooler than cool atmosphere, its eclectic people, and the smooth sounds emanating through the speakers from DJs and live music acts. So far as a club goes to chill with friends, enjoy a drink, and synthesize a jazz feel, Buddha Lounge is pure zen.

Carriage House

24200 Grand River, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.535.3440
The Carriage House is a definitive live music Detroit Blues Club, the large capacity bar hosts some great Blues talent with open jam sessions a couple times a week and plenty of other entertainment such as billiards and darts, a great jukebox keeps the Blues rocking at the Carriage House.

Centaur Bar

2233 Park Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.963.4040
If we could use only one word to describe Centaur Bar in Detroit, it would be swank. Luckily, we can use many more. Smooth jazz, either from live acts or over the sound system, expertly fill up the Art Deco interior which evokes the most sophisticated places of the Jazz age. The food, drinks, and service are top notch and the clientele is diverse all ensuring that Centaur Bar will be around to fill your jazz and libation yearnings.

Club Bart

22726 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, Michigan; Tel. 248.548.8746
Club Bart is an intimate venue to catch a variety of Blues, Jazz, Folk and Indie Rock acts, live music on the stage ensues a good time. Throw in an eclectic food menu in a very comfortable setting and you have a destination in Ferndale any day of the week for live music.

Courtney's

7119 Puritan, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.864.8441
Jazz is the mainstay at this club. Courtney's does good Detroit jazz early in the week with some fresh R&B on the weekends from the jukebox and a rotating slew of DJs.

Flood's Bar & Grille

731 St. Antoine, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.963.1090
Flood's Bar & Grille is an upscale joint where Detroit's elite come to drink and mingle under the velvety blanket of smooth live jazz. The sumptuous bar serves some of the best cocktails in Detroit and the nightly live music, jazz or otherwise, pumps the crowd up to frenetic levels, easily one of the best reasons to pull some dress clothes out of the closet.

Francel's Lounge

11894 E. Warren, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.331.6556
Francel's Lounge serves up Detroit jazz with good drinks and a mix of people. Entertainment varies, but, really, with good jazz and a few libations; does it really matter?

Gem Theatre

333 Madison Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.963.9800
Built in the 1920's, the Gem Theatre is marvel from the Jazz age that's been fully restored to its one time brilliance. The Gem offers more than just live jazz, it also houses world class productions of comedy, drama and musicals in a cozy, cabaret setting mixing dining, drink and elegance with intellectual food for thought. Really, the architecture alone is a Detroit must see.

Harlequin Cafe

8047 Agnes, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.331.0922
The Harlequin Cafe offers up superb live jazz and tremendous food in an intimate setting that jumps all week long, but the jazz really goes through the roof at this club during Detroit's famous International Jazz Festival.

Ka Ka's Shabang

12444 Visger Rd., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.386.1195
Although billed more as a hip-hop club now that gives the mic to upstart MCs and boasts crowd-pumping DJs, Ka Ka's Shabang was once a practice club for some of Detroit's Motown and jazz groups and still keeps that tradition alive on Sundays when you can hear phenomenal jazz at a club that hasn't forgotten its roots.

Memphis Smoke

100 S. Main St., Royal Oak, Michigan; Tel. 248.543.4300
The Blues and food are straight from the South and conveniently relocated in Royal Oak at Memphis Smoke. At this premier venue for live music, which consistently brings in the best Blues and Rock talent, you can relax, enjoy a drink, grub on some excellent down home food all while getting your Blues fix. A fixture on "best of" lists, Memphis Smoke aims to satisfy.

Nancy Whiskey's

2644 Harrison, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.4247
Detroit boasts some spectacular live music clubs, but the best one's for Blues come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here, Detroit's best kept Blues secret comes in the shape of Nancy Whiskey's, a hole in the wall type tavern that is visited every week by Detroit's best Blues artists, the food and drink is cheap, there's never a cover, and the Blues are simply smoking.

SereNgeti Ballroom

2957 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.832.3010
The SereNgeti Ballroom consistently brings in the biggest names in Jazz. Detroit Jazz legends are a weekly staple, the live music and voracious range of talent are enough to satisfy old and new Jazz aficionados with equal zeal.

The Double "O" Pub

25540 Grand River, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.592.9067
Classic Rock and Blues mesh well at the Double "O" Pub, with live music and some open mic, open jam session nights the Double "O" keeps rocking in the Detroit tradition.

The Jazz Loft

529 Monroe, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.962.7093
Located in Detroit's historic Greektown, The Jazz Loft's resident house band dishes up some of the smoothest jazz of any club in the city. Live music mixes with DJs spinning the same soul-filling sounds in an intimate setting that gets jumping. The Jazz Loft is an excellent place to mingle, imbibe and hear that true Detroit jazz sound.

The Rhino @ Harmonie Park

1407 Randolph St. Ste. 100, Detroit, Michigan; Tel. 313.963.6244
The Rhino @ Harmonie Park blends a supremely stylish atmosphere with live jazz, lite menu fare, and exquisite cocktails to create an unique entertainment venture, but don't let the swank ambiance fool you, this club gets jumping.
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—Detroit bar and club reviews by Ryan Osterbeck