If I had to choose between going to a stadium to see my favorite band or heading to St. Andrew's to see a relative unknown, I'd pick St. Andrew's every time. There is nothing as exhilarating as scene outside St. Andrews as the doors open. The steam rising from the street in the gritty urban night. You get people with soul. People on the fringes.
Bands hang out at the bar because there's no backstage - they have to walk through the auditorium. The floor is wooden and run down, and we like it that way.
Sure there are other places like St. Andrews in other cities, but for me, St. Andrews epitomizes what's great about Detroit. It exudes toughness and even danger, but when you get close enough you realize it's about fellowship and community.
Why I love Detroit: For me, St. Andrew's is a bellwether for Detroit. Bars come and go, but St. Andrew's has stayed the same since I first came more than 20 years ago. If something happened to it, I'd expect the city to come crashing down.
St. Andrew's isn't squeaky clean; it's not trendy. But it survives. If you seek it, there are amazing things going on beneath the surface. Just like Detroit.
NEXT: Fred Hall