Best Underground Music & Art In Detroit

December 13, 2011 9:04 AM

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Scarab Club Exterior


Looking for some cool art or hot music in Detroit? Well, look no further — here’s a list of the best places in Detroit to take in underground music and art.

Scarab Club Exterior


Scarab Club

217 Farnsworth St.
Detroit, MI 48202-4018
(313) 831-1250

Located right next to the Detroit Science Center, The Scarab Club is one of Michigan’s finest venues for art, music and literature. According to the official site, the club was founded in 1907 by a group of artists and art lovers who enjoyed meeting regularly to discuss art and socialize. Check out their calendar for the current exhibit, live model sketching or their next fabulous party. Membership is required for some events.

St. Andrew's Hall


St. Andrews Hall

431 East Congress Street
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-6358

St. Andrews Hall is something of a Mecca for the Detroit underground music scene. St. Andrews Hall continues to be the place to see some up and coming bands before they break the bank with pricey tickets. The scene varies from hardcore punk to new wave to rock although don’t expect to see a bubblegum pop act on the stage anytime soon. The venue it’s self is an intimate place with a few couches, a pool table and a balcony which allows for great views of a performance.



Magic Stick

4120 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 833-9700‎

The Magic Stick is one of Detroit’s best venues for live music and is the home for underground acts such as Detroit Cobras, White Stripes and Skatalites. The Magic Stick, despite being very airy, also presents an intimate feeling with a large stage, a balcony for the brief Michigan summer, pool tables, and a fully stocked bar for those looking libations. The Magic Stick is located at 4120 Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Clutch Cargos


Clutch Cargos

65 East Huron Street
Pontiac, MI 48342-2204
(248) 333-2362‎

When going to this venue you may begin to scratch your head as a result of the peculiar architecture. Unlike most venues Clutch Cargos is actually a converted church which goes hand and hand with the eclectic acts you often don’t see at the larger places. Clutch has an elevated stage which creates a pit for the audience to worship local bands as though they were deities. Clutch Cargos located on 65 East Huron in Pontiac is surely a scene were you may just be surprised in what you find.

mocad 420x316 Best Underground Music & Art In Detroit


MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art)

4454 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-6622‎

The Museum of Contemporary Art or as it is more affectionally called, MOCAD, is a space where emerging ideas in contemporary art meet the waiting eyes of critics, artists, and the general public. MOCAD located on Woodward is nestled between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University, and the College of Create Studies. The building its self is actually a converted auto dealership and the interior reflects its gritty past with lofty ceilings, brick and concrete floors, and contemporary interior design (a mixture of old and new). The museum features public programs such as lectures, musical performances, films, literary readings, and educational activities for children.

pjs lager house1 Best Underground Music & Art In Detroit


PJ’s Lager House

1254 Michigan Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-4668

This little gem is located in Corktown just down the road from the MGM Grand. The owner, PJ, is a hands-on. You’ll probably find him serving food and drinks. The place is very clean, the musical guests are solid, but fans say that the acoustics are not ideal. Visit on a weekend for the best lineup of acts. On some evenings you can see four bands for between 5 and 8 bucks. Bonus! The freshly battered onion rings are out of this world.

View Comments
  • Eric Podzorski

    What about the Scarab Club near Wayne State, the Caid (Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit), or the PJ’s Lagerhouse,

    • Sara

      I agree, those are some great places!

  • MCB

    this barely scratches the surface let alone goes underground in Dietroit
    clearly CBS needs someone on the streets here in town
    CPOP has been closed for over 2 years

    • JorgeMSU

      Thanks for the heads up MCB. I’ve removed C POP.

      Eric, thanks for the suggestions! We’ll look into it!

  • mikeclark

    yeah, i agree with MCB. as a young person you named 1 venue that is actually showing popular “underground” music.

    you need to name some dubstep clubs as well, no one goes to bars or pop clubs to dance, only old people and squares.

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