Marketing primarily to the gay community, 9 nightclub went through growing pains before evolving into one of the must-hit party spots in downtown Ferndale.
“We opened in 2001 as (the gay club) Q,” says Tom Pearlman, who co-owns the venue on Nine Mile just west of Woodward with John Kalina. “We did a Latin-theme format (Monkey Bar) about a year and a half ago, and then we decided to go back to our roots, which was the gay-themed club.”
Though catering to the gay community, 9 is anything but exclusive.
“We get a lot of straight people,” says Pearlman, a nightclub veteran who opened his first metro Detroit club in 1986. “Women like to come in because they feel more comfortable. They’re not getting hit on by every guy.”
Guys, maybe not, but 24-year-old Patricia Montry of Madison Heights says 9 is her spot because of all the women that frequent the club.
Fridays are marketed toward men as male performers anchor the entertainment while Saturdays are dedicated to the ladies with the female form taking the lead. But just because one night is built around one sex, anyone of any preference are invited to attend whichever night they feel like going out. Cover on Friday and Saturday nights is $5.
Jeans, tees, jerseys, hats or dresses are all fair game at 9 where tolerance is key and the only rule is wear what makes you comfortable.
Unlike some clubs where liquor seems to play a key role in the amount of fun people have, it’s the people that frequent 9 whom determine the tone. Maybe it’s knowing that they’re in a safe environment where it’s cool to be themselves (or maybe they did down a drink or two before coming through), but 9 patrons are generally free spirited and always seem ready to have fun.
“There’s every type of person in here,” says Kevin Nylund, who has worked at the Nine Mile venue for seven years. “We’ve got gays, we’ve got couples.”
A gay-friendly city, Ferndale is home of the annual Motor City Pride Festival, a street fair that serves Michigan’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, and is also the first city in Michigan to elect an openly gay mayor, Craig Covey.
A disco ball is suspended above the dance floor which is flanked by tables and a raised platform with a pseudo bed standing on its end. An outdoor stone and concrete patio with its own wooden bar, plastic green lawn chairs and black metal tables allows you to take the party outside.
Pick me up
A full wooden bar with a leopard-printed face serves everything from fruity cocktails to beer and hard liquor. Drinks average $4 and buckets of Bud and Bud Light are $9. Frozen regular or strawberry margaritas are $3.
If you’re craving a stiff one (drink that is) during the week, head down the street to Soho, a three-and-a-half-year-old martini bar that is also owned by Pearlman and Kalina. Open seven days a week, Soho serves up $.75 beer on Mondays and $5 martinis on Fridays. Stop by Soho, and you’ll get a pass for free admission to 9.
A new Las Vegas-themed show began last week where perfromers from the Troy Dance Studio entertain the crowds.
“It’s like a cabaret,” Pearlman says. “We do it once a month. The next show is Halloween themed on the 10th and 11th of October."
“I love it,” says 23-year-old Bill Wilson, who Metromix spoke to during his first visit to 9. “The show earlier was awesome. I never even expected that, and they play music that I like.”
Music, spun by house DJ Steve, ranges from Donna Summer to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”