nights in the Motor City.
Though Detroit’s got its share of proud electro fans,
it seems they prefer to keep after-hours music spot The Works
under the radar. With little by way of advertising and a single-page
virtually impossible to read website, our Stalkers found out
about the long-standing place the old way: word of mouth.
Although the spot was granted its exception to the rule after-hours
status through legal loophole, grandfathered in as a gay club
on Saturday nights, Friday night after-hours have their own
secrets. This month’s NightStalkers check out the elusive
spot, and divulge everything worth exposing in written word!
I’m a big party freak. I like going to different places.
So when I first moved down to Detroit it was a big let down.
Clubs closed at two a.m. And the music in most clubs, being
top 40, wasn’t something I could get into either. I
was dying to go someplace interesting. Hence my ready-to-rendezvous
reaction when somebody told me about The Works, and the fact
that it stayed open until five a.m.
When I got there fortunately the music was exactly the type
I was looking for – the kind that just hits you as soon
as you enter. It was refreshingly different from the rest
of Detroit music.
But the actual fun was happening in a room connected to the
front room through a passage. Fondly called the “Back
Room” by regulars, it was basically a big industrial
room devoted to dancefloor, with another DJ booth. The music
in the front was more soft/progressive house, which allowed
people to talk and take a break from the hardcore house/techno/trance
being played in the back room.
And come two a.m. the place went from boom to kaboom! There
wasn’t even any standing space available, packed with
all the insomniacs from the clubs closing at two a.m. And
yeah, the cover charge also goes up by five bucks after two,
though that didn’t detract the clubbers pouring in.
“The smarter alternative,” yes, that’s what
the place calls itself. And in a way it’s true. The
first thing I learned about Works is: leave all your inhibitions
and preconceived images on how a bubbling night place should
be behind. My girlfriend and I hit the spot around 11:30 to
find something quite different from a run-of-the-mill night
spot, surprisingly too, since it’s minutes from all
the downtown hip and happening places.
Finding it was, well, hard. You can pass right in front of
the place several times and still not know it. The dark streets
and the construction nearby don’t help either. Inside
we discovered there was an event called “Oh Snap”
being held there by an outfit called “picturethisdetroit.com,”
so projectors were setup showing pictures of clubbers at various
With no dress code enforced, fashion was all over the place
ranging from college polo and slacks to high-end, edgy clubbing
clothes. Same with the people, from techno ravers to club
hoppers, but everyone seemed to know the place through someone
else, as opposed to mainstream advertising.
When I get myself a drink I’m surprised at the wide
variety of beers available. I order a Newcastle, which costs
five bucks – most of the well drinks were four to six
bucks and were generous in size. Another pleasant surprise
was that the place stayed open ‘til 5 am. The $10 cover
was definitely worth it for the all-nighter, beats driving
around at three in the morning looking for any open places!
When first told about the Works, I was reluctant to go. It
got even worse when I found that there was no valet parking
available, I didn’t like parking my expensive car on
the grass patch adjacent to the place.
Entering through a front room, Works looked the part of dive
bar, minus its DJ booth and VIP seating. Drinks were a big
plus and were reasonably priced. The bartender made some really
nice Long Islands. But honestly, the music is the first thing
you notice, ranging from just loud in the front room to positively
eardrum bursting variety in the back room. What do I say about
the back room? It’s an industrial-sized room with graffiti
painted on the walls including huge gear and psychedelic electronic
The whole place was grooving to the music being spun by the
DJs, especially the back room. I myself, though not normally
a big fan of electronic music, got sucked into it. As they
say, you can’t help but give into good music.