We explore the often overlooked city of Detroit, taking in the best spots with our tour guide, music producer and DJ Eric Cloutier
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We're with the creme de la creme of the DJ world, as we talk to music producer and DJ Eric Cloutier. Starting his legendary underground sets back in 1996 he's played in some of the most internationally acclaimed clubs, from The Boiler Room in Berlin, to the The Bunker in New York. He's also one of the few prized artists to play the coveted Labyrinth festival in Japan. It's not luck that got him here either. Eric's specialised way of playing captivates and pulls in his listeners, and in his own words;
I like to focus on hypnotising people in to a deep groove and just locking them in
Where’s the best place for a first date?
Cadieux Cafe. Nothing sets a first date off properly like some healthy competition over a game that nobody has ever heard of, and that only exists in Detroit. Feather Bowling, while similar to bocce ball, is a one-of-a-kind experience you can only get in Michigan.
It takes patience, skill, and a fair amount of booze to properly enjoy the game, but in the end you’ll laugh about the goofy time you had rolling a log down a dirt halfpipe while guzzling some of the finest craft beers in Michigan. Trust me, it’s well worth the wait for a lane.
Where’s your preferred place to chill and clear your head?
Detroit Institute of Arts. While half of the tourists who visit Detroit would much rather load up their memory cards with snapshots of the rubble and decay of the city, nobody pays much attention to the fact that the Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the finest collections in North America, including the absolutely stunning Diego Rivera fresco murals pertaining to the industrial rise of Detroit.
The museum also had a complete redesign a few years ago, opting for an entirely new curation - instead of grouping things together by artist or period, everything is mixed up together into themes and concepts, allowing older and newer, fine art and modern, to all sit in one section complimenting and contrasting each other without getting bound to a single style, genre or age. Well worth the day admission.
Where serves the best breakfast?
The Dime Store. On paper the menu looks fairly standard and simple, but that’s pretty much where the formalities end at The Dime Store. Almost every ingredient in the cafe is locally sourced, all of them top quality, and everything carefully selected and then prepared for killer breakfast and brunching downtown.
More than a handful of the plates are food coma inducing, so be prepared for an afternoon nap once you’re done. Also, their deli features some glorious eats, so stop in before you walk around the city for a fantastic sandwich.
Where’s your favourite place to have a quiet drink?
Cliff Bell’s. Most people are unaware of the world famous and legendary jazz club that still resides in Detroit right near Grand Circus Park. Just a few blocks from Tiger’s Stadium sits this cozy, warm, friendly, and musically flawless little bar that serves fantastic cocktails below the curved wood ceilings of this gorgeous hideaway establishment.
With live music basically near every night of the week and a stones throw from almost anything you could possibly be doing downtown, this is by far the best place to go to when you need a break from the traffic, to forget about work, or just meet friends and have a chilled out evening.
Where’s your favourite place to have a messier night?
The Works. One of my oldest haunts back in Detroit, The Works has proven detrimental to my health on more than a hundred occasions. I used to DJ here at least three times a month when I was still living in Michigan, but even on my off nights I found myself back downtown getting more than fuzzy with friends.
The Works has, and continues to, play host to some of the finest techno and house the city has to offer, as well as a constant stream of international talent looking for a true Detroit club experience.
Where are your favourite places to shop?
Threads. Threads is one of those places everyone ends up at when they come to Detroit, and it's for good reason. Between the killer selection of new and used music and the vintage clothing, there’s always something to be found while digging around in the shop.
A great place to stock up on Detroit related memorabilia and clothing, you can also grab the newest vinyl from Michigan musicians, and possibly catch an impromptu in store performances from local Detroit celebrities who have decided to share their new purchases.
How would you describe your city’s style?
Proud. Ups and downs happen to everyone, but not many places have felt it so heavily as Detroit. Despite all the negative connotations and perceived images the city and its natives have, its residents are some of the most proud and humble in the world. Not much can keep a resident down, and there’s not much they can’t overcome.
It’s an honour to have lived, worked, played, or grown up in Detroit, and the lengths people will go to display it are unending - be it in sports, music, art, or culture. With a smile on their face they continue to work against the daily oppression the city routinely throws at them, and never will they lose their faith in the place they call home. What up, doe!
What song sums up your city?
Stevie Wonder - Living For the City
Potentially one of the most influential musicians to ever come from Detroit’s long musical history, Stevie Wonder perfectly sums up Detroit life by poetically articulating the presence of racism, unfortunately a deeply ingrained part of Detroit history.