Julie Taubman’s Day Trip – Detroit’s Infamous Bars

In order to get to know some of Detroit’s most interesting characters, it would only be proper to take a break from enjoying beautiful architecture to enter the world of the city’s fabled bar scene. From famed gang hideouts and Prohibition beer barons to punks and war veterans, photographer Julie Taubman captures Motown’s love of bars in her new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the only way it can be taken in. Drink by drink, shot by shot.

The Stone House

The Stone House


The Stone House Bar has a historical reputation that will overwhelm you before you ever hit the entrance. Despite now being packed with rockers, bikers and the like, the Victorian-styled home located near the Michigan State Fairgrounds was once the clubhouse for Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang. From it’s covered porch to backyard that features a horseshoe pit, The Stone House Bar is quite unlike any other drinking establishment in the city. As the favorite saying of its patrons goes, “Come as a stranger, leave even stranger.” They mean it.
Distance to next destination: 8.46 Miles, 15 Minutes

The Old Miami

The Old Miami


A known Cass Corridor hideaway, the Old Miami came to prominence as a favored watering hole for Vietnam veterans returning home from the war. Henceforth, the bar has been deemed a “veteran’s scene,” but also fully incorporates an interesting mix of punks and hipster types that come to see local bands play on weekends. Not only does the bar’s living room vibe make you feel like your at home with comfortable couches to sit on, the Old Miami has an expansive backyard that is the perfect place to drink a beer and peer out into the classic Detroit neighborhood.
Distance to next destination: 0.23 Miles, 56 Seconds

The Magic Stick

The Magic Stick


As a part of the sprawling Majestic Theatre complex in Midtown, the Magic Stick has set a precedent for being the purveyor of the city’s finest rock, hip-hop, pop and electronic music. Bringing in both large national acts and locally known heavy-hitters, the bar has recently become two different venues, the Magic Stick and the Magic Stick Lounge, in order to cater to bands of all sizes. Also, the Allley Deck, an outside patio adjacent to the bar, allows patrons to get a breath of fresh air at a particularly packed show while enjoying a view overlooking Woodward Avenue.
Distance to next destination: 8.40 Miles, 16 Minutes

Ye Olde Tap Room

Ye Olde Tap Room


Without the Ye Olde Tap Room, Detroit may have never survived the prohibition. Built in 1916, the original bar operated as a blind pig for a year until closing. The current bar room was added onto the original in 1922 and has since maintained its status as one of Eastsiders’ favorite hot spots. If you are a beer connoisseur looking for a particular brew, Ye Olde is one bar you need to stop in, as over 250 brews are offered on the always expanding menu, as well as over 30 kinds of single malt whisky. Truly, this bar is apart of Detroit history and drinking history alike.

Julie Reyes Taubman’s Day Trip – Detroit’s Churches and Graveyards

The Motor City is known for many things; putting America on wheels, the city’s storied musical history and the invention of the coney dog. Yet, one of the most overlooked amenities of this major metropolitan area is the massive surplus of beautiful churches and graveyards that populate its landscape. In her new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, photographer Julie Reyes Taubman captures some of the most idyllic imagery of both that the city has to offer.

Mount Olivet Cemetery

Mount Olivet Cemetery


Mt. Olivet, located on Detroit’s Eastside, is the city’s largest cemetery, as its vast reach spreads over 320 acres of land. With an endless number of interesting headstones and a monstrous walk through mausoleum, this space is a great place start exploring the city on a beautiful winter day. Maintained by a local Catholic non-profit organization, the Mount Elliott Cemetery Association, this graveyard predominantly features a mix of private citizens and influential politicians like U.S. Senator Patrick Vincent McNamara (D-MI) and U.S. Representative Louis Charles Rabaut (D-MI).
Distance to next destination: 2.94 Miles, 8 Minutes

Elmwood Cemetery

Elmwood Cemetery


Occupying 86 acres of Detroit land, Elmwood Cemetery is not only a beautiful place to visit, but has also had a tremendous cultural impact on the area. The property was one of the first cemeteries to be fully-integrated, dating back to 1850 when the state’s oldest Jewish cemetery was established on site. Influential Detroiters ranging from politicians including five-term Detroit Mayor Coleman Young to rock icons like the MC5′s Fred “Sonic” Smith are now amongst those that claim Elmwood as their final resting place.
Distance to next destination: 3.94 Miles, 8 Minutes

Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church

Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church


Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church, which is now home to Promise Land Missionary Baptist Church, is one of Detroit’s oldest, still-standing churches, as construction ended on the property in 1889. From the impressive towers on the outside of the facility down to the extremely detailed Baroque-styled interior, architect Harry J. Rill’s design remains awe-inspiring even in the twenty first century. In Julie Reyes Taubman’s coffee table photography book, there is an impressive shot showcasing the vantage point from the church’s mammoth baptismal tub.
Distance to next destination: 6.61 Miles, 13 Minutes

Saint Hedwig Catholic Church

Saint Hedwig Catholic Church


Despite Hamtramck being known as the city’s preeminent Polish stronghold, there was a large Polish community on the city’s Westside based around Saint Hedwig’s Catholic Church. Construction on the building was completed in 1916 and the church served the Polish community until its mass migration to the suburbs. It has been more recently adopted by Detroit’s new incoming Mexican population. Taubman’s photo captures a view of the buildings cross streets from the church’s steps, as well as the statue of Saint Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania, Poland and young adolescents.

Detroit: 138 Square Miles – Westside, Pt. 1

Whether it’s the ever-looming Michigan Central Station or the Hotel Yorba sign made famous by The White Stripes, the location of some of the most iconic images of Detroit, Michigan can be found on the city’s vast Westside. With wide-laned roads like Grand River and Michigan Avenue acting like veins, hundreds of different cultural backgrounds blend together and result in a vibrant landscape of local color. Look no further than Julia Reyes Taubman’s book Detroit: 138 Squares Miles, as a defining document of the rich history of the Westside.

Amelia Earhart Middle School

Amelia Earhart Middle School


With its impressive outer walls that looked more like a skateboarding ramp than something designed by an architect, the Amelia Earhart Middle School once rested in the heart of Mexicantown. Nestled across the street from beautiful Clark Park, the building opened in 1964 and was unfortunately demolished in 2010. However, before its deconstruction, Julia Reyes Taubman captured the immense, sloping concrete walls of this awe-inspiring building in photograph form forever.

Buffalo Soldiers Heritage

Buffalo Soldiers Heritage


While Detroit remains a major, metropolitan city, it doesn’t take long to find a little bit of the country inside the inner-city. Witness Exhibit A, the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Center located at River Rouge Park. Celebrating the rich history of an all African-American military regiment, the center offers not only a historical look at this important piece of American history, but also horse riding lessons as part of this culturally enriching experience.

Michigan Avenue

Michigan Avenue


The 2100 Block of Michigan Avenue is one of the most written about and visited areas in the recent history of Detroit. Featuring the lauded Slows Bar-B-Q and the city’s preeminent home seller in O’Connner Real Estate, the block is a perfect example of how the city is rebounding in the face of adversity. Yet, it still retains character with smaller businesses like the down and dirty dive bar, LJ’s Lounge, and the fantastic, brand new coffee house, Astro Coffee.

Ford-Wyoming Drive-In

Ford-Wyoming Drive-In


While the term “modern day relic” may be a bit of an oxymoron, it would only be proper to assess such a title to the Ford-Wyoming Drive-In. Found on the outskirts of Detroit and Dearborn, the Ford-Wyoming theater opened in 1950 and is one of the only traditional drive-ins left in the Metro-Detroit area. The site features five active movie screens, a playground that screams “tetanus shot” and an incredible lighted sign that beckons passersby into the lots entrance. With the nearly impossible-to-beat two movies for the price of one, the drive-in is one of the most underrated attractions in town.

Julia Reyes Taubman’s Day Trip – Underrated Detroit Landmarks

In Julia Reyes Taubman’s new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the local photographer explores the city through her lens in a way that many of her contemporaries have not. Disregarding whether a building was abandoned or still inhabited, Taubman captures both the Motor City’s decay and rebuilding process. Culled from the photos of this newly released coffee table book, here is a day trip for locals to check out some underrated Detroit landmarks.

The Fisher Building

The Fisher Building


The architecture firm of Albert Kahn Associates has a resume of work in Detroit that is far-reaching and expansive to say the least. Yet, The Fisher Building is perhaps one of its most impressive achievements. Led by head architect Joseph Nathaniel French, the group started work on the building, located at 3011 West Grand Boulevard in Midtown, to serve as the headquarters of the Fisher Body Company. Start your day trip here by checking out the immaculate golden tower as you drive into the city. Once inside the building, take in the vaulted art-deco ceilings, as illustrated in Taubman’s photo.
Distance to next destination: 1.49 Miles, 4 Minutes


The Scarab Club

The Scarab Club


Hidden between the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Scarab Club is a contemporary art gallery with walls that date back to 1928. Deemed a National Historic Site in 1979, the well-worn wood beams of the building showcase an impressive who’s-who of signatures from traveling artists who have visited the club including Diego Rivera, Margaret Burke White and Norman Rockwell. Be sure to check out the rotating exhibitions that take place monthly as they often feature some of Detroit’s finest current artists.
Distance to next destination: 1.61 Miles, 5 Minutes


Masonic Temple Roller Derby

Masonic Temple Roller Derby


Known as the world’s largest Masonic Temple, this Cass Corridor building is not only the meeting place for local masonic organizations, but is also home to touring music acts and the Detroit Derby Girls. Using the classic wooden floors from the original 1922 construction, captured above in Julia Reyes Taubman’s photo, local roller skating ladies smash and grab their way to victory in homage to the glory days of 1940s roller derby. Even if the hometown favorite Detroit Pistoffs aren’t in for an evening of primal rage on eight wheels, the Masonic’s ornate Gothic features are enough to make you want to come back for more.
Distance to next destination: 1.02 Miles, 4 Minutes


Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy

Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy


Quaint, but not quiet, Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy and it’s namesake/owner Larry Mongo are a little known secret landmark in Detroit. With hours that are limited to Fridays nights and an ambiance that is more Bourbon Street than Griswold Street, D’Mongos is the perfect place to rest with a drink after a few hours of Detroit daytripping. The restaurant/bar features a simple-yet-classic soul food menu and features fantastic live music ranging from jazz to soul to rock. Say “Hey!” to Larry and he will be sure to greet you with a big smile, a hug and, if you’re lucky, some great stories from Detroit’s past.

Detroit: 138 Square Miles – Eastside, Pt. 1

Head East out of downtown Detroit on the expansive highway known as Gratiot and you will see some of the most iconic sights of Detroit: 138 Square Miles, a new book from photographer Julia Reyes Taubman. There is Heidelberg Street, where world-renowned artist Tyree Guyton has turned a broken neighborhood into an ideal art project that beckons tourists year-round. Further down the road rests the Faygo factory. The Detroit company has been putting its own unique stamp on the soda world for over 100 years. While Taubman’s book features images of these memorable cityscapes, her photography will also open up readers to lesser known scenery, businesses and, perhaps most important of all, Detroit residents.

 

Feather Bowling at Cadieux Cafe

Feather Bowling at Cadieux Cafe

Hidden deep in the recesses of the Detroit and Gross Pointe border, The Cadieux Café is a bar that dates back to the prohibition era and has deep ties within the local Belgian community. Upon entry into the watering hole, patrons will be inundated with old country pride as the bar has imported the homeland’s love of mussels and finely crafted beers. Yet, perhaps what the Cadieux is known for most is its distinct claim of having one of the few featherbowling facilities within city limits. The sport is a cross between bocce ball and horseshoes that has entertained Belgians and Detroiters alike for hundreds of years.

 

Vanity Ballroom

Vanity Ballroom

Despite often being overshadowed by its Westside counterpart, the Grande Ballroom, music historians and fans will fondly remember the Vanity Ballroom as a place that offered amazing jazz, swing and, later in the 70s, rock and roll. While some will remember the venue for performances by Benny Goodman and the MC5, no patron of the ballroom can forget the intricate Aztec-inspired architecture of Charles Agree. Captured forever in Taubman’s picture above, it’s easy to see the ballroom still sparkles despite years of decay that has left some parts of the building decrepit.

 

Detroit's Dorais Velodrome

Detroit's Dorais Velodrome

 

The Detroit Velodrome is the perfect sign of the city’s past, present and future. Built in 1969, the banked race track once was a place of international competition for bicyclist, but was largely left to deteriorate by the 1990s. In the 2000s, local bikers of all kinds banded together to recreate the glory days of the track and have been working on its refurbishment. Still in its early stages of redevelopment in Taubman’s photo featured in Detroit: 138 Square Miles, the case can be made that with Detroiters at the helm of any project, like that of the Velodrome, the city has many good things in store for it.

Julia Taubman: Captivated By Detroit

The complicated city of Detroit has long been a magnetic focal point for artists, musicians, photographers, and creative-types in general. During the past 45 years of struggle and decline in this once-great American city, those on the outside looking in have been both troubled and compelled by its transformation. Photographer Julia Taubman was among these outsiders when she moved to the Metro Detroit area in the late 1990s.

Over the course of the last decade, Julia Taubman became a proud Detroiter, involving herself in the local artist community, eventually co-founding the Museum of Modern Art Detroit (MOCAD) in 2006. Taubman was fascinated by the city and the storytelling of both its legendary landmarks and forgotten ruins. Of the latter she believes, “Our town’s abandoned factories, train stations, warehouses and school buildings speak to us in ways that demand our attention and respect. It is a privilege to know this place.”

She began photographing the city in earnest in the early 2000s, and eventually amassed almost 40,000 pictures of Detroit from land, air and sea. This project ultimately culminated in the recently published Detroit: 138 Square Miles — a captivating document of the city as it stands today; recalling a glorious and storied past, mired in a distressing present, but still holding on to the lingering promise of tomorrow.

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