Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I thought Pampas was a Brazilian Steakhouse...

First of all, I apologize for the delay in getting this review out, but with law school finals quickly approaching, my time is basically non-existent. Anyway, when rumors started flying about a party being thrown by Capital Event Productions on the night before Thanksgiving at a bar next to the Palladium in Birmingham, I assumed something new opened up and I just hadn't heard about it. I was aware that the Brazilian steakhouse "Pampas" was next to the Palladium, but people don't party there on the weekend ... right?

I still don't know if people party there on the weekends or not. If they do, they should stop. And if they don't, it should stay that way. As it turned out, there was a party on Thanksgiving Eve at Pampas and to put it nicely, it was a complete and utter disaster. The options for getting into this "bar" were buying a ticket for $25 before, buying a table for $100 before, or buying a ticket at the door for $40. Here's the best part: If you bought the ticket at the door for $40 or the ticket beforehand for $25, all you got was admission into the "bar." No drink specials - no free drinks - nothing. Now I'm pretty sure that the Michigan economy is in complete recession right now, but even if it wasn't, charging these prices just for admission is ludicrous. (Ok I'm being a little over-dramatic about the recession thing... the individuals attending this party obviously weren't worried about it considering it seemed like half the people attending came in a limo.) Additionally, for $100, all you got was admission, a table, no line, and a bottle (I'm not sure what type of bottle you received).

Apparently some people were in the "bar" before 10:30p, but it was pretty evident that most people came around this time. When I first arrived, the line was not very long, but obviously not moving and no one was getting in. The crowd consisted of kids who attended Andover High School and West Bloomfield High School within the last 10 years, in addition to some from Lahser, Cranbrook, and Country Day. People were pushing, and someone (the manager maybe?) came flying out and was screaming/cursing/etc. at everyone. It was obvious that management at Pampas were completely unprepared for the amount of people trying to get in and the bloated ego type of crowd that was attending. Needless to say, once the limos started pulling up to the place, all hell broke loose. The cops showed up and attempted to push everyone backwards, the manager continued to be hell bent on alienating every potential customer in line, and the pushing and shoving continued.

A couple things must be noted here. First, soon after I arrived, the manager informed everyone that if you did not have a ticket, and expected to buy it at the door for the bargain price of $40, it was useless for you to stay in line because you were not going to get in. Second, not only were people who already had tickets waiting in line with what seemed like no chance of getting in, but even people who paid $100 for a table were stuck outside. Some people got the hint that they were not going to get in, considering the rawkus line, the big headed cops, and the insane manager running the door.

Ok, I said people started to get the hint that they weren't getting in the front door, but that doesn't mean a back door wasn't going to be unlocked. Apparently a bunch of people ran in through a back door near the dumpsters and once that began it was a forgone conclusion that this party was going to end quickly. Within ten minutes of the cops showing up, someone had pulled the fire alarm and the entire bar, and rumor has it the entire building, which includes the Palladium, was forced outside by police and firemen. I don't know if anyone was ever let in after that, but I didn't stick around to find out. Everyone left Pampas and made their way over to Big Rock. I'm sure that went over well... All in all, their was no way for the night to be worse. Considering I was only inside for 5 minutes before everyone had to leave, I am unable to even report on the atmosphere inside.

It is a shame that the night turned out like this, especially when everyone paid such a steep price to get (or not get) in. Owners, managers, Capital Event Productions and all other promotors should be embarrassed about the events that took place and if life was fair, they would refund everyone's money. That is obviously not going to happen, but people should know what did happen that night. To get to the point Pampas, I don't know how you operate on a normal weekend night, but if the night before Thanksgiving was any indication, maybe you should just stick to cooking steak.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

Put Your Hands Up For Detroit

There's a rash of people going around with too much pride for the very city they have yet to explore. I can not even begin to count the number of guys and girls I've met who have *never* been to a club downtown. I can't even being to estimate the number of people who haven't even ventured to Birmingham or Royal Oak. One of my closest friends lived in Royal Oak for a number of months, and in that time, only went out in Royal Oak once or twice. There is definitely a place for dive bars, sports bars and the like, but there also exists a higher quality atmosphere that needs to be explored. Until places like The Corner Bar (Birmingham), Envy (Detroit), Elysium (Detroit), and Cinq (Royal Oak) start being visited by normal patrons, the potential for these bars will never be fulfilled. Instead, they'll go on being filled by the same trendy clicks and fashion whores who get way more attention than they deserve.

It's time to indoctrinate new people into the Detroit lifestyle. It's time to stir the pot and mix things up. There are plenty of individuals who would enjoy all that our city has to offer, and instead of filtering these people out of the scene, their participation should be encouraged. But let's not confuse the idea of encouragement with upbringing.

The worst thing we could do to the city is to turn any new-found patrons into clones of ourselves. Things need a change, and we're only going to see that happen if we're stuck holding the door open, rather than running around grooming newbies into our own likeness. Bring someone into the club or bar, and let them develop on their own. Let them come in underdressed or overdressed. Don't be shoveling copies of 6 Degrees in their pockets and leaving the latest Ambassador in their back seat. Hopefully they'll be wise enough to realize that every local publication in Detroit does nothing more than preach to the choir.

Open a new bar or club in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago and it's understandable that not everyone from the city will make the trip. For cities so large, even gaining public awareness is an achievement. But in Detroit, when a venue has been open for years, there is no reason for public ignorance. And you can only place so much blame on the public before someone (like us) starts pointing the finger at the entire scene and saying "It's your fault these places are filled with the same people."

So go on. Invite out your friends and coworkers who don't typically enjoy the music. Have them bring their friends. Show them around and help make them feel welcome. But please, don't run them through the gauntlet and pop out another local DJ groupie. If they genuinely enjoy their new nightlife, their personal style will emerge in due time.

We'll hold back on our criticism of this new demographic.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Crave The Post???

I frequent the Post Bar (Novi) because of the greenhouse-type area. It's spacious, there's real air to breathe, and there's plenty of seating. But I usually stay away from the other side of the bar where all the sloppy girls get dirty. It this very mentality of mine that usually keeps me away from the other Post Bars. But last night after a few good drinks at Crave (Dearborn), we rushed over to the Post Bar (Dearborn) and grabbed a table. Nothing special in this report... but there are a few things worth pointing out.

Crave is dead on a Friday night. It's a good place to go with a date, or a handful of friends. But don't go with a wingman and have dinner for two. It is a good place for girls to go in small groups and gossip, because you won't have guys goggling over you. But I was surprised to see the bathroom a mess when there was only a dinner crowd. Hopefully they cleaned up for their later guests.

It was also a bit depressing to find their cappuccino machine broken. I love my espresso and settling for coffee with Bailey's never quite hits the mark. Nonetheless, Crave is a good Friday night appetizer.

The Post Bar (Dearborn) also stayed fairly calm for Friday night- probably due to the fairly high concentration of middle-aged men with flat tops, khakis and a Ford badge. Come on girls and boys. It's a Friday night. Get out here and represent. I may not care for sloppy girls and ghetto guys, but at least they bring energy to the dance floor.

Friday nights in Dearborn on Thanksgiving weekend need some help. Crave is a restaurant, so I really can't complain on that end, but the Post Bar (Dearborn) is just sitting there with an empty dance floor and a few 30-somethings. So stop eating leftovers for dinner, and save them for your 3am fix after the bar. Just imagine how much better it will all taste?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Don't Call It A Comeback

...it's been there for years. But unfortunately, the Thanksgiving Eve party at Clutch Cargo's (Pontiac) may have been a one-off. Paxahau came in with Richie Hawtin and a killer sound system, throwing one of the better parties to come to Pontiac in a L O N G time. On the biggest bar night of the year, I was expecting to pay a slightly higher cover. But I wasn't expecting the $35 price tag to draw such a huge crowd.

The atmosphere screamed busy, but had plenty of breathing room. And there were sounds to soothe whatever your mood. The main floor was the main event. iLounge was the refuge for anyone too hot or too tired of screaming in conversation. I was told upstairs was ambient, but I never made my way, way way up. Dancing was far from required, but most everyone fulfilled their obligation to the night at one point or another. If Clutch Cargo's could carry this vibe on a monthly basis, or at least a few times each year, it may help move Pontiac in a different direction and bring some balance back to the area.

Candy Kids
Only a few people rocked the glow sticks last night. That was nice. And guys cant be too upset with a guy to girl ratio of 2:1, when it seemed like everywhere you looked there were ladies asking you to ask them to dance. The women knew what they were doing, and they all looked fabulous. But the men, aside from a small minority, must have decided to coordinate with one-another because I lost count of the number wearing the same unbuttoned dress shirt or stripped polo. Nonetheless, they carried it well and I didn't experience any of the typical ignorance that usually walks around Clutch Cargo's. Everyone came to have fun. Everyone did.

Who is Richie Hawtin?
A regular for Detroit on every holiday or special occasion, who regularly never comes up short. When I said I was surprised so many people paid so much to get in, I forgot that this is what happens whenever the DJ's name is Richie Hawtin. If you haven't seen him before, or it's been a good two years or more, figure something out and make plans to attend his next gig. He makes it easy for your heart to find the beats.

Slippery When Wet
I was struggling to find things bad about the night. Honestly. But when a friend decided she needed to run into the bathroom, I decided to take my leave as well... and that was when I saw the light. The bathroom was absolutely horrid. I want to say it was "absolutely, completely, and entirely horrid," except that it had what appeared to be a clean (and working) sink and automatic soap dispenser; no paper towel, but no big deal. A giant drain should be installed, along with a firehose and lysol dispenser. The other problem I found myself having was walking up and down the stairs, and along the upper balcony. Even with tennis shoes, every other step I had to recover from an almost fall. I can't imagine how I would have survived if I had worn my heels.

If Paxahau throws another event at Clutch Cargo's, go. I can't promise it will be as good. I can't promise it won't be bad. But I can tell you that it was damn good once, and that's reason enough to give it another shot. Clutch Cargo's has been trying to find itself for the past few years, and opening iLounge in the basement was the first major step in migrating away from the typical "Top 40 18 and over" trend. This party demonstrated the club is headed in the right direction. In fact, when I left at 3a (or maybe it was 4), the place was still live. No one came out to leave early, and a part of me wonders just how tired I would be this AM had I said "No, let's stay a bit longer. Dance?"

Small disclaimer: Many years ago I had worked closely with Clutch Cargo's on various online promotional campaigns. Please don't assume I'm being biased here. Had Thanksgiving Eve been what I would have expected from a typical Friday or Saturday night, this review would have been completely different ;)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Just In Time

After catching the red-eye back Monday and making it through a full day of work, I thought that this week held some promise. But then I got a few emails announcing some upcoming festivities. We've got two lame-ass promotional flyers on the floor today-- Turkeylicious, and Miss Bangin' 2006. No, I didn't just list the names of a restaurant menu item and the newest porn dvd. But let's break this down and hope I still have enough energy to recount the LA events this past weekend.

Turkeylicious- The Good...
I'm going to start out with the only two good things about this event. One- It's a Ray Rizzle event. I met Ray way back when Sevin (Pontiac) first opened and he's always been cool. He knows what he's doing. Unlike most of the other "promoters" out there, he actually is pushing his name the right way, instead of throwing birthday parties for his friends. (Okay, maybe he's doing that too, but at least I've never seen his name attached the event credits). Number Two reason why the event has promise is that they pulled a DJ from LA. It's not that the DJ is from LA that is important here, but rather it's the fact that the main dose of music is being prescribed by someone who doesn't give us our fix every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

...the Ugly
Unfortunately, we've got the "Top 8 Hosts" attached to this event. WHAT THE FUCK is up with that?! Tell me I did not just read that. Tell me that even if I did, that it is not a reference to the Top 8 on myspace. Please. Please. PLEASE. Tell me it ain't so. To make matters worse, it looks like half of the pictures of the hosts were taken with a camera phone. High class? Oh yea. (You caught the sarcasm, right? Because pretty soon I'm gonna be leaving out the obvious references to it). I almost want to ask for an explanation, but already I know the answer won't be any good. What possible use is there for these hosts, other than bringing all their friends. Basically, this flyer blatantly says "Come hang out with our friends. Because those are the only people who are going to be here." UPDATE: The event is Nov. 25 at the Elysium Lounge (Downtown Detroit)

Miss Bangin' 2006
Apparently, this is where we'll crown Michigan's most beautiful woman. No offense to the person who came up with the name of the event, but if you're looking for the most "beautiful" woman, you don't use the word "Bangin'" in the event. Beauty is an adjective that also implies some sense of class, whereas Bangin' (with the apostrophe) implies the girl knows how to fuck (or at least looks like she does). To make matters worse, the flyer has a giant photo of five women who look as though someone is groping them unexpectedly, and their dresses look like they came off the rack at walmart. Nothing about this event look good. Sorry. Stay away from Fifth Avenue (Downtown Detroit).

I haven't been to LA since I was 18, so this was my first time to actually hold my nose and jump in. The weather was great, especially considering Toronto was f*cking cold the previous weekend. Between the pool party @ The Standard, the hotel party @ Le Meridian, and the Xenii after party, I have absolutely no complaints. Everyone had Effen vodka. No one smoked indoors. The music was always in line with the atmosphere. And despite any preconceived notions I may have had, everyone was super polite and sociable. This summer really opened my eyes to New York and LA, and I can now comfortably and safely say that Detroit has much to learn.

XD is starting to feel a social obligation to the D.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


We've been out and about the past week, and will continue to be gone until the holidays. Toronto, Chicago, LA, and Wisconsin have taken our weekends, and school/work has consumed the weeknights. Come Thanksgiving we'll have much to report.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Layer > Effects > Outer Glow

Select Detroit, 6 Degrees, PictureThis!, after5, The Creep, the Deuce Deuce boys, Bella Blue, Tommy Kash, etc etc... The list is growing exponentially, and without any form of pruning. Today I saw a flyer advertising the appearance of one of the Gotti boys at a club in Pontiac. I'm refraining from dishing out the details of the event so as to limit the number of guests, and raise my chances of meeting him! *sarcasm* But seriously, why are venue owners extending invitations to promoters who create such tasteless events? It used to be that every once in a while a limousine service would sponsor an event. That was bad enough. Now we're offering up advertising spots to anyone and everyone who can type their name photoshop, add a glow to it, and call it a logo.

Exclusive Detroit has no desire to get into the sponsorship game. While it would make us feel cool to see flyers on the street with our logo pasted on the shoulders of a local "model," we just don't feel it necessary. Of course, should Kate Moss or Gemma Ward ever grace a Detroit flyer, we'll be more than happy to stamp ourselves on the back. If XD is ever to be involved in an event, it will be exclusively. There will be no other advertisers or promoters, and we'll simply publish a date+venue. This isn't to say we have things in the works. It's just an idea.

There is a place for Detroit Club Scene, DanceClubCam and the like. We just don't think that place is in the spotlight. Venue owners should take command of their venue and look beyond the numbers. They should get involved and set an example for all promoters to live up to. A standard has not yet been set in Detroit, and until that time, there is no one to say when someone stooped too low.

Exclusive Detroit hopes someone important is listening.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

In The VIP

I'm so tired of seeing prices for VIP reservations+bottle service. Since when is VIP open to anyone with a couple hundred bucks? Hell, if the point is to make the area high class, the prices should be even higher. Spending a few hundred dollars on any given night isn't *that* expensive when you think about it. Sure it's a bit extravagant, but it's not going to put you in the poor house. The other option of course is to have a real VIP area, and a separate "Chumps Area" for people who want to reserve more than just a public (*gasp*) table.

I was at Bleu (Detroit) a long time ago to check out Max Graham. The VIP area was filled with people from the Detroit Club Scene forum. There were so many people upstairs that the main floor was a wasteland. This isn't acceptable. There is no reason for anyone to be up there, except for the DJs, the promoter, and a few sexy girls.

I understand the desire for promoters to make money. But by killing the fascination that should be associated with the VIP area, they are raising their guests' ego to a level beyond their means. If you go out enough, you're bound to get into clicks. You're bound to meet DJ's and promoters, get invites and free drinks, and eventually get free reign of any club. But what's the point? Does hanging out backstage make you special? No. VIP isn't there to boost your self confidence. It's there to show respect to influential individuals who deserve, and have rightfully earned, privacy and luxury.

It used to be that walking into a VIP area was an extension of one's celebrity. Unfortunately, the mindset of those outside the velvet rope has changed from awe to insult. No one cares if you're in the VIP section anymore. They know you bought into it. They could have bought into it too, but didn't. Once you acknowledge their passive decision, you'll be all the better for it.

Bring back the real VIP area, and move the second-rate, worn out couches somewhere else.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mixx Lounge

Mixx Lounge is located in the Main Street area in Novi. It's run by the same guys from Deluxe Lounge (Detroit), but has (in my opinion) a better vibe because of the people it draws. Before I go any further, I better throw out the disclaimer that I do know a handful of the people from Mixx and Deluxe. I like to think that my preference for the place has nothing to do with it, but who knows. Here's the rundown...

Back to Basics
Mixx is best described as a hip, laid back kind of bar and you won't look out of place if you dress up or down. There's plenty of seating, and even at its most crowded, you can still breathe if you're left standing with friends. They've also got a great selection of everything, though the music varies from night to night. Early in the night, the back of the bar has a lounge area with couches and tables+chairs. But as the night goes on, everything gets pushed to the walls, making room for a dance floor.

Unfortunately, there are a handful of things that make it less than the perfect bar. First off, it has televisions. You'll be seeing this criticism time and time again on XD. I think televisions should be removed from any bar that is not willing to call itself a "sports bar." Bars should be a sociable place, and while televisions might spark one comment here or there, they can't carry a conversation. The little electronic game machine on the end of the bar isn't too attractive either, and probably repels more people than it attracts. Not only does it leave you no room to put your drink, but it blocks your view of the girl that would otherwise wink at you if she didn't think you were actually playing the damn thing. Luckily, the arcade smash-hit "Golden Tee" is off to the side.... The last major gripe I have with Mixx is their parking. It seems that a valet company took it upon themselves to confiscate all nearby spots. I have no idea if this is kosher, but it sure as hell seems like a scam. If you're looking for an alternate avenue, you can try and park in the lot BEHIND Mixx (near Mongolian BBQ), and walk through to the other side of the office building.

UPDATE: We haven't seen the valet company hording the spots as of late.

Effen Great
The best thing about Mixx is the overall atmosphere. I can't stress that enough. It's just a very comfortable place to be. All the bartenders are fast, courteous and conscious of who's been waiting. Sometimes the wait staff can be a bit slow at the booths and tables, but they're all polite and open to quick small talk and one-liners. Even the bouncers move people in as they roll up, making lines non-existent. When it comes to liquor, Mixx does it well. They're one of the few places I've found that serves Effen Vodka and Black Cherry Effen Vodka (both are highly recommended), and they have a good selection of martinis and Vitamin Water mixed drinks. The bar is also extremely clean compared to the nearby 5th Avenue (Novi), and unlike The Post Bar (Novi), the paper towel in the bathroom is always stocked.

Dance Dance Revolution
As mentioned earlier, the back of the bar turns into more of a dance floor as the night goes on. I'm not sure if there is a set schedule for the type of music played each night, but my ears have heard everything from White Snake to Bad Boy Bill. The DJ is in the corner, but I *think* that the setup amounts to a table with a mixing board and a laptop. I did hear some Hed Kandi on the speakers one night, but the following week when i returned it was all 80s hits. Your guess is as good as mine.

It's hard to go to Mixx Lounge and not have a good time. Don't expect a wild, crazy night (unless you drink more than is socially acceptable), but do expect an exciting mix of mature, young professionals. Guy to girl ratio can get kind of high, though more often than not it's at a decent level. There's a good mix of people and packages of 2 or 3 seems to be the norm. If Novi is the chosen destination, and you're looking for something hip and mature, Mixx is a very fine place to be.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Birthday Party Events

There's a trend in Detroit to promote people's birthday parties. I don't know how it got started, but it's been brewing for a while. Come November 9th at Via Nove (Ferndale), the birthday party will have reached its pinnacle. "Sting" is yet another birthday celebration. This time it's Aaron, Rebecca, Aman, Laura, Tracie, Jason, Laura, Bella Blue, and John that will be getting their fix of celebrity. I hope there is a red carpet for them to walk down. *sarcasm*

I don't have a problem with any of these people on an individual level. They're all doing their part to promote themselves. The problem I have is that they're doing this in the most tasteless manner. If these people had national fame, they would be the equivalent of the media whores on every VH-1 and MTV special. It's not my cup of tea, but to each their own.

I really did gag when I read the part on the flyer that says "Celebrating the fascination of the most sexually hot blooded creatures on the planet!" But maybe they did that out of courtesy for those of us with class? Because that line alone is enough to ward off any respectable person.

Maybe it's because I work in a creative environment that I don't feel the need to be such a socialite to get my fix when I go out on the town. Or maybe having a particular desk job that offers no challenge to one's own ability, save perseverance, breeds these party planners. I haven't yet figured it out, but I think it has something to do with everyone trying to get in their fifteen minutes.

The DJ's and promoters are changing the nightlife landscape in Detroit, and not for the better. Each DJ has their following, and regardless of the venue, their circle of 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree friends follow. When it's time to promote a show, they just check their mySpace birthdays list and see who's up next. Is it not a sad state of affairs when the people who are supposedly hip and cool, are so un-cool that instead of throwing a real party and playing music relevant to the theme, they simply throw a birthday bash? I'm sick of it. Not to be rude, but I think it's in order: "No one f*cking cares that it's your birthday. If this is the best you can do as a promoter, do everyone a favor and stop."

Guys and Dolls

Being male, I can only write as a male patron. That being said, I would at least like to briefly describe my understanding of "the way things work" at a bar.

In my opinion, women have complete control over the situation and the conversation. Regardless of the circumstances at hand, it is the woman who gives the man a chance, continues or changes the topic of discussion, drops hints, or simply shoots him down. It is the responsibility of every man to react to her decisions, and do so in a way that will not entice her to push the eject button. This is not to say that he must excite and amaze her. I'm simply saying that it is his job to do whatever it takes (including being demeaning, arrogant, or preoccupied) to not just keep himself afloat, but to be her lifesaver. Every woman is different, and every woman reacts differently to different stimulation. For some, confidence is a plus. For others, it's cute when a shy guy puts everything on the line. It all depends on the woman's personality, and her mood at the time.

I don't believe that a man is really able to go out, pick any girl, and bring her home that night. But I do believe a man can single out the women who are candidates. Women, on the other hand, can do anything they want, to any man, any time.

If in these reviews you find that I'm making comments which seem to objectify women, or discuss the chances of men "taking a girl home," please remember to review this entry. I find that many of the most enjoyable nights I've had all involve talking and dancing with women whom I was just as close to in the beginning of the night, as I was at the end.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tequila Rain

Tequila Rain is in Novi at Fountain Walk. It's above Lucky's and the entrance is around the corner from the main entrance. How to describe Tequila Rain? The only way to put it, is like this: You know how there are chain restaurants? TGIFridays, Red Robin, Olive Garden? Tequila Rain is a "chain bar." It's overpriced for what it is, but it does offer everything that you need. There are a handful of places to sit, plenty of space to set down a drink, and a dance floor that's accommodating. In the summer the outdoor roof/patio is really nice, but it gets plenty busy. Drinks are not super expensive, and you don't have to wait long to get one in your hand. Although, get there after 10p and you'll have to wait 20 minutes till you make the front of the line. Once you pass dress code inspection and pay the $5 cover, you get to finally enjoy the emptiness of the club. It only gets busy inside after 12. Up until then, they have to keep a line out the door to give the impression that it's *the* place to be. My advice? Go early. Pay cover, get your hand stamped, then walk right into Lucky's. Get something to eat (the food isn't all that bad), or get an early drink. Hell, play some video games, shoot some pool, or watch sports on the big screen. Only migrate upstairs after 1130/12.

Dress Me Up, Dress Me Down
I consider myself a fairly fashionable person. I don't always dress the part, but when I do, I like to think I do it well. On multiple occasions I've been complemented on my shirts or shoes, only to have the bouncer turn me away at the door bc my jeans are torn (That particular instance was over a year ago). The other night I went with REALLY torn up jeans; not handmade tears (*gag*), but actual highly stressed, torn and reinforced jeans bought as such. One of the bouncers looked at me and called over another. The second bouncer then kneeled down, eye level with my KNEE, and after a pause told me I was good to go. All I have to say is, WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT?

Help Wanted: DJ
The music here isn't bad. The problem is the DJ. If you can stand mixing between Justin Timberlake and AC/DC, then I guess you won't have a problem (though, that in itself is a problem). I have no gripe with places that put on rock n' roll. And despite my lack of interest in pop music, there's nothing wrong with JT. You can even play them both on the same night; just not one after the other. Bottom line: the DJ at Tequila Rain blows. It's plain and simple. An iPod on random would yield better results.

Wait Staff That Can't Wait (To Go)
As mentioned above, it's not terribly difficult to get a drink. On top of multiple bartenders, there are plenty of perky, attractive waitresses walking around, looking sexier than any of the patrons in the club. The problem is that the waitresses do not know how to milk you for drinks and tips. Why is this a problem? It's a problem because they're not sociable. Being sociable, even if it is only done with the aspiration of taking home more money, makes for a better customer experience. She'll ask you how you are, what she can get you, and then return with the drinks and the bill. The only other question she'll ask is whether you want to put the tab on the card or pay cash. They're too busy trying to serve as many people as possible to stop for a moment and bullshit. I'm not asking you to flirt with me (okay, maybe I am), but I do want to feel like a welcomed customer. By the time you leave, you're left feeling like a one-night stand the morning after, but without the nightcap. "They got me drunk. They took my money. And they didn't even have the kindness to at least fake it."

The bartenders on the other hand are simply too busy to be sociable. When they're not busy, they're usually at the other end of the bar chatting with the bartenders that are; or they're doing busy work, which may or may not be part of their job description.

Let's Get Dirty
It's a fairly mixed crowd, and for that reason, the place doesn't have the best atmosphere. You've got guys dressed up in nice shirts and pants. You've got guys dressed down in cool, hip clothing. And then you've got guys dressed like they just came from class- baggy pants+striped polo or button shirt. Almost all the girls look pretty good. Same mix that applies for the guys apples for the girls, with the exception being the dressed up factor. Not many women walk in dressed to kill. But what makes for a really interesting mix within the bar are the age gaps. Next to the 21yr old drunk college girl freaking Joe Cool, you'll find their mother and father dancing with one another. You'll probably see a few guys from Ford dressed in business casual, sending drinks to the 20-something and her friend. They'll take the drinks. They'll talk to them for no more than one minute, and then they'll leave. The bad news is that after that ordeal, women will raise their shields. The good news is that the situation will repeat itself throughout the night, and after a while, they'll put down the shields and be open to conversation. Bottom Line: The men are a mix, though most have little sense of style and look the same. The women in the beginning of the night are college girls. The women at the end of the night are messy drunks. The one's in the know, know that closing the bar only hurts their reputation.

A good place to go with a large group of friends. But don't count on getting free cover, even if you bring 15 people, and have a guy to girl ratio of 1:5. It doesn't matter. In the end, you'll have fun. You just might freeze your ass off standing in line before the fun can begin.

Start Smoking, Outside

Detroit has not yet banned smoking indoors. If we were really hip to what's hot, we would all look at New York and LA. We would all stop smoking inside, and take it outside. What's the big deal really? Let's break this down, bit by bit.

You Don't Look Cool.
Let's face it. Smoking is not something that makes you look cool. It might be representative of some other quality (and no, I'm not implying anything). But, it certainly has no bearing on your "hip" factor. I'm not saying that it might not look sexy. I'm not saying that it might not look confident or laid back. I'm simply saying that a cigarette does not make you look cool. But a nice lighter or a cigarette case is another matter all together...

You're Adding to my Laundry.
I don't care if your breath stinks after a smoke. That can be cured without trouble. But the only way the smell is coming out of my jeans or jacket is by soap and water. Congratulations on making everyone have to do extra laundry.

I'm Not Shy, But You're Stuck Up.
Let's face it. Most women in Detroit are stuck up. Or rather, they always have a shield up. Tonight when I go out, I'm going to approach a handful of women. I'll simply say "Hi, how are you this evening?" The majority will answer, but will fail to return the question my way. The main reason is that the majority of women (not all) simply assume that everyone approaching wants to sleep with them. They see no other reason why a man would want to talk to them. The idea of someone just looking for a conversation is completely absurd. Enter the cigarette. When forced to go outside to smoke, especially on a chilly evening, one finds themselves in the company of other "singles." They're singles in the sense that they are alone, not that they are without a relationship. Their party is currently inside drinking and talking, and they are outside by their lonesome. When "singles" get together, conversation for conversation's sake is not only accepted, but welcomed (especially if it's a cold evening). It starts and ends outside the doors. Opening line? "Can I get a light?" Pick up line material? Inside, yes. Outside, no.

Deep Breath
Don't you just love the clean, fresh, open air of the outdoors? Isn't there something relaxing about taking a deep breath and feeling the cool air fill your lungs? The air in a bar or club is nowhere near as clean as the great outdoors, but we can at least strive to make it cleaner. Do everyone a favor and stop indoor pollution.

There is no rule that says you have to go outside to smoke. And Vinotecca (Royal Oak) is the only place I can think of off the top of my head that has a no smoking policy. Instead of waiting for legislation to pass, let's start a movement for the legislature. It's not about your rights. No one is asking you to give up the right to smoke. We're merely asking that you consider the rights of others. There's nothing wrong with being selfish. But there is something to be said for being hip enough to go above and beyond the general courtesy of saying "Excuse me" when you're pushing your way towards the bar.


There isn't a club in the metro Detroit area that is perfect. There are many that are good, but none that are great. Those that fall into the "good" category are frequented by the same patrons week after week. Through this blog I will do what I feel is my duty, and attempt to sway public opinion of all bars and clubs in the area. There is no reason for sub-par nightlife in Detroit; and that is exactly what we have, despite what typical club-goers and promoters may say. I'll start things off with a brief list of some things that are wrong with Detroit nightlife.

- Smoking
- Dress Codes
- Televisions
- Cover
- Cleanliness
- VIP access

If a mission statement is in order, let this be it:

"We don't like to hang out in Detroit anymore. Bars and clubs have become all too disappointing. Dress codes have been put in place to limit who stays out, not who gets in. Drinks are watered down. Bartenders looks like frat boys. The majority of patrons are each in their own click. And VIP stands for "I'm friends with the DJ," as opposed to "Very Important Person."

"We feel that the 21-35 crowd is being cheated. They are being shown mediocrity under the guise of class. Had the various local entertainment publications taken action and put forth honest opinions, we would not be taking up your time right now."

"This website is our attempt at making Metro-Detroit nightlife better. We provide constructive criticism to all the venues we visit on a regular basis. Our hope is that as EXCLUSIVE DETROIT earns your respect, venue owners and promoters will look to us for advice, and thus do a better job of providing high-class entertainment- all night, every night."

A Long Time Coming

Exclusive Detroit was conceived over 3 years ago. Unfortunately, my desire to "do it right the first time" kept delaying things. The site was intended to be (and still plans to eventually be) a giant list of ranking and ratings of all the major hot spots in the metro Detroit area. Until I get off my ass and put together all the backend database work though, this is going to be a blog- plain and simple. Now, let the fun begin!