12 March 2011

Beautiful Jazz in Beautiful Detroit

I’ll tell you what, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge proves southern hospitality is nothing compared to the welcome one will receive while exploring Detroit’s Jazz scene. A group of buddies and I ventured to the world’s longest running Jazz bar, Baker’s and were given a crash course in courtesy.
We strolled in through the front doors around 10:45 P.M. and were awkwardly standing in the middle of a conversation circle started by the greeter and a few guests. Thankfully, before the awkwardness could affect our moods the employee to our right said, with a smile and a tilt of his head “Welcome, make yourselves at home” as he motioned with his hand to the source of the alluring music.

I pushed the tattered red velvet curtain hiding the lounge’s entrance to the side and the ambiance created by the bar’s 75+ years of history gave me an out of body experience I haven’t felt since Bonnaroo 09’. I felt like Dean Martin going to knock back a few drinks with Frank Sinatra at a bar reserved for only the classist of Hollywood stars.

We grabbed the furthest table located in the corner which only magnified the level of coolness I was feeling as corner tables have a strange way of turning me on. Our waitress came over to see what we were drinking as we listened in silence to the musicians who were speaking to us threw their music.

I order a vodka tonic and the BBQ Rib Sandwich.

When the waitress finished taking our order the band’s singer said something that made everyone I was with feel tense.
“All right everybody we are going to play one more song as these guys [Bakers] are trying to close up.”
How can the these guys close up, I thought, if we just put in our order. Then it hit me, they can’t.

We were the group of people who were preventing all the workers from going home and if you have ever worked in the restaurant industry then you know those people suck. When our waitress came back with our drinks, we asked what time they closed and she said 11P.M.

I looked at my watch, it was 11:15 P.M. and we had just placed our orders. Our waitress assured us, by making fun of our discomfort, that no one (employees/customers) would mind staying until we were ready to leave. And she had a point, as everyone was still in deep conversation and had their drinks to finish.

Since the customers decided that Baker’s was staying open the singer invited his mentor, who was in the audience, up to the stage to show off her talent.
Not a single person at Baker’s was upset about staying open an extra hour and thirty minutes which showed me something I am not use to seeing from a business. Baker’s operates based on the idea that if people are looking for a good time, give them one. What surprised me the most was, despite Detroit’s bad rap this is the only business I have ever been to that showed me that kind of hospitality and to me...That’s Amore.


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