Status: Destined to fill the void left by London Chop House, Prive Smallz Ultralounge has been offering an alternative to downtown Detroit’s dance clubs for almost three years.
London Chop House was one of Detroit’s finest restaurants and served as a downtown institution for 53 years before it closed in 1991. And Prive is taking that great Motor City history and adding a new chapter by designing an ultimate one-stop downtown nightlife destination.
“We don’t have the capacity to do a club,” says Prive Facilitator Oscar Clark.
Instead, the downtown lounge, housed in the former Chop House building on Congress, focuses its energy on creating an upscale Detroit vibe for those ready for a chill night with some music, food and friends.
A cigar menu adds to Prive’s refined feel, and managers try to keep the venue “grown” (25 and above) by catering toward a more sophisticated set.
“We don’t want the kids,” Proprietor Darnell Small says.
Prive, located just around the corner from Elysium, is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
Gear: “We’re strict about the dress code,” Clark says. No athletic attire or boots will be allowed. All shirts must have a collar or be worn with a suit jacket, and all coats must be checked ($3).
Mood: “We don’t consider it a club,” Small says. “We try to go with the lounge theme with the décor, the music and the service we offer.”
Burgundy carpet and matching leather booths greet you as you walk down the stairs from the venue's street level entrance into Prive. While the wood-paneled walls bring out the cigar-bar feel, electric chandeliers and thick, silk ribbons softly draping the ceiling add an old-world elegance.
A sheer curtain separates the VIP area (complete with burgundy upholstered and leather-bench seating) from the wooden-dance floor near the DJ booth, though “we try to make everyone feel VIP,” Small says.
Pick me up: A 40-foot-bar wooden bar nearly spans the length of the lounge. And for those looking for a tasty bite, a tapas menu consisting of mostly fried favorites includes crab cakes ($14), jumbo fried shrimp ($12), Motown angus beef sliders ($10), breaded chicken bites ($9) and Alabama sweet potato fries ($4) or Prive seasoned fries ($5).
A martini menu features more than 20 signature Prive martinis, typically running at $12, with names like Ren-Cen (Patron and sour mix topped with lime soda), Mayor (Hennessy VSOP and vanilla cognac) and Kronk (Don Julio Blanco Tequila chilled and served with lemon wedges). The fruity-flavored Green Monkey is a favorite, Clark says.
Entertainment: House DJ Spudd spins on Fridays and DJ Rick Hines rocks the house on Saturdays -- which are rented out to promoters.
“We have ‘70s and ‘80s music with some up-to-date stuff,” says Small. “We try to keep the vibe mature. There’s no booty rap.”