- 15606 Joy, Detroit, MI, 48228
- Overall User Rating:
- (329 ratings)
Status: It’s not a stereotype to say that the patrons and bar staff at Backstreet Nightclub are flamboyant, sociable and just plain nice, but you won’t find the usual flashing lights or neon signs beckoning you into this dance club. Just a subdued black banner touting the club’s name gives away its location in a shopping plaza at the corner of Greenfield and Joy Road.
Open since 1979, this club has entertained gay, straight and curious club goers with DJs, video screens, weekly specialty drinks and more. For the month of July, Backstreet continues to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
“I would accredit a lot of (the success) to the DJ and the owners for changing the club,” says 22-year Backstreet vetran Grant McGlohon, who works as the operations manager. “You have to change things and make things new.”
One of the big draws is the club’s location, McGlohon says. “We get a draw from Ann Arbor because of the location; we’re near all the freeways. We’re not downtown Detroit or downtown Pontiac.”
Backstreet serves the 18 and up crowd on Fridays and Saturdays. Cover is $10 if you’re under 21 or if you arrive after midnight, and $5 if you’re over 21.
Gear: You won’t really find anything out of the ordinary here when it comes to attire, though don’t be surprised to see the servers and male dancers workin’ it in barely-there briefs.
Mood: The “large crowds and good music,” have kept 25-year-old Mateo McGough of Westland coming to Backstreet since he was 18 years old, and 21-year-old Caleb Pippin of Rockwood enjoys the club because he “knows everyone here and it’s a good place to come and hang out.”
The club is separated into three distinct sections. When you first walk in, you’re greeted by a massive square bar with a crystal pendant chandelier over looking dozens of back-lit bottles. Alcoves, tables and chairs are available throughout the room, but if it’s dancing you’re interested in, just take a few steps to the next section of the club which features two DJ booths, a light-up dance floor and a bar. The next “room” consists of a wall-to-wall bar with a glass block front lit by glowing lights.
The mood at Backstreet is typically “upbeat and energetic,” says McGlohon, and while the target audience is gay males, “everyone’s welcome to come and party – gay, straight, male and women. Come and dance, that’s what the club is there for. You don’t have to be a gay white male.”
Pick me up: Four bars, including one on the patio, makes getting a drink (grab a beer for $4-$5) hassle-free. Bartender Mike, aka Papi, makes Papi specials each weekend, and this past Saturday, the special was a fruity, punch-like drink.
Entertainment: “The party is in the music,” says McGlohon.
For the 30th anniversary, 21-year Backstreet veteran DJ Lee, who began spinning there six months after it opened -- took his spot at the tables once again. Resident DJ TimmyD typically handles the beats.