Rockin' Detroit Bar celebrates 10 years

October 13, 2011|By Heather Youmans, Special to the Pilot
  • Dan Bradley, founder of the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. The live music venue will celebrate its 10th anniversary Saturday.
Dan Bradley, founder of the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Club Mesa, a popular Costa Mesa destination for punk shows in the 1980s and '90s, is long gone.

A decade ago The Memphis Group transformed the old club at 843 W. 19th St. into Detroit Bar. It hasn't stopped rocking Orange County.

On Saturday, Detroit Bar will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Since opening in 2001, it has established a reputation as an O.C. hub for internationally-renowned artists, and up-and-coming local talent. Detroit Bar is now widely seen as at the forefront of presenting a variety of genres of new music, including alternative, world, hip hop, disco, and electro house. KCRW radio out of Santa Monica, for one, regularly mentions bands and gigs performing at Detroit Bar.

"I have to say what keeps the music-goers coming back is the bands, both local and national," Vince Phung, its events and promotions manager, said in an e-mail.

"We have some of the most talented musicians come through so that any music enthusiast would be hard pressed not to stop by at least once," he added. "Then we win them over with our atmosphere and amazing bar staff. Even when we have a packed house we maintain the feel of a lounge, a place where you can just hang out and have a drink."


In a speak easy lounge meets rock 'n' roll nightclub setting that can accommodate 300 to 400 people, Detroit Bar offers locals and visitors the opportunity to experience an eclectic mix of live performances by indie-rock outfits, critically acclaimed touring acts and cutting-edge DJ lineups.

Past local, national and international talent have included: Airborne Toxic Event, Album Leaf, Ariel Pink, Autolux, Chk Chk Chk, Cold War Kids, Crystal Castles, David Bazan, Deerhunter, Dinosaur Jr., Elliott Smith, Fitz and the Tantrums, Foster the People, Helmet, Ima Robot, Kid Sister, Little Dragon, Local Natives, Matt Costa, Mike Snow, Modest Mouse, Pinback, Ra Ra Riot, Peanut Butter Wolf, Shiny Toy Guns, Steve Aoki, The Breeders, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Young the Giant.

Among these bands, Stereo Lab, Black Lips, Cold War Kids and Matt Costa have returned to play at Detroit Bar when they could have sold out much larger venues.

To mark the decade, Detroit Bar on Saturday will host an intimate, invitation only celebration. It will feature performances by Peanut Butter Wolf, DJ Charles Feelgood, Danny Love, Cocoe, Scotty Coates and a special guest performance by Stones Throw recording artists Vex Ruffin. Guests will enjoy a hosted bar and complimentary Memphis catering for the special occasion.

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