by Steven Reaume
There are times that when a club opens in Detroit, it feels like it’s always been here, an icon of the city. It so perfectly fills a void in the scene. Grenadier Club, in my opinion, is one of those places.
Previously one of the many Grenadier private clubs across the country, Grenadier closed and reopened as a gay bar on the near Eastside of Detroit. We heard about the club in December of 2015. Our first night there they were presenting a drag show on the main floor. It felt like the drag shows of Detroit’s past. Authentic, diverse and raw. Looking for a space for an after hours weekly, in January we toured the the club.
When we were taken up the back stairs into the ballroom it was love on first site.
Wanting to recreate some of the unity, imagination and creativity of the original underground parties in Detroit, we started a weekly called BAK DØR in that ballroom. We decided to showcase a line up of club residents (Bunny Hop, DJ Holographic, Rex Bravo, and RJ Stefanski) that, in our opinion, reflected the talent present in todays scene. We would invite a guest resident each month, including some Detroit legends, to share the booth with them and help curate the party for the month. We joined with a different local artist each month to reimagine and transform the interior of the club. We quickly added a second chill room, RØM2, to highlight everything from experimental to ambient Detroit artists. Combined with the unique, generous and creative staff at Grenadier, the photos of Robert Guzman that reflected, on our posters, the essence of what we wanted BAK DØR to be (and quickly became a showcase of what it became) and the sound by Audio Rescue Team, we felt we had the right formula.
Since then, every Friday night at midnight, guests have come through the Lombardi Room’s back door entrance, up to the ballroom and come together on the dance floor until the sun came up. Some of the best seasoned and new DJs have shared the DJ booth, Detroiters of all kinds have celebrated life, each other and danced the strain of their week away. And yes, we all got gloriously messy.
Trying to find out more history about Grenadier has been difficult. One of a chain of clubs across the country, Grenadier Lounge of Marracci seems to be part of the Shriners organization. With obvious Egyptian references throughout the club and it’s ballroom, it’s mysterious history makes the space even more interesting. It has a Detroit flavor that’s difficult to describe unless you’ve been there.
As we close this chapter of BAK DØR, we take with us many new friends. We have gained a family in everyone that has made Grenadier possible. We look forward to spending many weekends at the club as guests, and as promoters in the future. We are honored to have been a part of the beginnings of this truly special and uniquely Detroit venue.
We couldn’t have incubated BAK DØR in any other venue, and are excited to experience what the many great promoters do in the space in the weeks to come.
We’ll see you on the dance floor of Grenadier, an instant icon of Detroit’s club scene.