House and techno pioneer Claude VonStroke knows Detroit. The DJ/Producer may have been born in Ohio, but he spent his formative years in Detroit, cutting his teeth on hip-hop and early electronic music, and to this day he regularly makes passes through the Motor City on tour. Though the DJ is currently based in Los Angeles — and his influential Dirtybird label based in San Francisco — he never passes up on a chance to shoutout the city that formed both his taste and the very core of techno music itself.
Most recently, VonStroke has released an original mix titled “My Love Check” that appears on Carl Craig’s Detroit Love Vol. 2 mix and a live album chronicling his set at last year’s Movement festival. Last week, VonStroke performed a new set at Movement 2019 in Detroit with fellow DJ/producer Green Velvet as the act Get Real. Voted America’s Best DJ in 2018 by DJ Mag, with Dirtybird scoring Label of the Decade in Mixmag, we thought he’d be a natural pick to key us into all of the best insider spots, clubs, and under the radar spaces in Detroit.
Here is the best Detroit has to offer according to Claude VonStroke.
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Happy Winter Solstice! Less than 100 Harem Club Lunar calendars left 🔥 you can buy them online or pick them up at @toothandnailoddities inside the @rustbeltmarket or at the @brightlytwisted in Corktown!! This is a cover “outtake” of December 2019, @innafae . We were so lucky to shoot inside the @theschvitz . And thank you @mill35_photo for all your help on this
This is kind of locals-only type spot. I even have a t-shirt on my website of me laying down on a couch in front of a naked lady painting in here. You go here for the sauna. it’s like an old men’s club from a mafia movie. I actually found out this used to be owned by mobsters and swingers, and at one point it was even a Jewish community center. There is a lot of history to this building which makes it really interesting and kind of seedy in a good way.
Lafayette Coney Island
The classic, the original. Lafayette is one of the oldest businesses in Detroit. Two brothers started rival hot dog shops next door to each other in the 1920s. But clearly, Lafayette is better than American Coney (which went on to serve chicken nuggets, pizza slices and a bunch of crap). Lafayette has one of the greatest hot dogs you could ever eat covered in delicious chili. This would be the first place I would go late at night with my friends. I’m always good for two with everything right around 3 am.
My favorite thing on the menu is the ribeye. They also make pretty great handmade pasta but I don’t usually order pasta. They have all the regular shit you would want from a nice place to eat BUT they are normally booked way in advance, so plan to make a reservation.
If you ever need some good comfort food, atmosphere, and drinks, this is the place to be.
Italian and Mexican food — the combination seems obvious but I cannot think of another place that does it this well. I haven’t been here in a while but they have a tasty Strawberry Jalapeno drink that I remember enjoying. One of my friends who shoots a lot of my music videos is both Italian and Mexican and took me here about 10 years ago for the first time. I take my friends and family here when they can’t make up their mind on what to eat.
Cafe D’Mongos Speakeasy
Everything here is very vintage. Lots of electric guitars on the walls and all the drinks are served in one-off cups. So you get your iced tea in a local Wildcats middle school cup or a Hanukkah goblet. They have live music, drinks, and the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Detroit. I love Jazz, so I go here when that is on the program — because Detroit has some of the best musicians in the world.
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Couple more shots from my set on Detroit’s @313.fm during the Movement weekend at @urbanbeanco. Thanks again to 313.FM for inviting me to play for their special broadcast! #sarasimms #313fm #313 #detroit #techno #technocity #technoproducer #house #artist #blondeshavemorefun #movement2018 #urbanbean #pioneerdj #nativeinstruments #traktor #guess #guessgirl #allenandheath #xonek2 #djset #live #modernDJ
This is a secret DJ room underneath the Urban Bean. I still haven’t had a chance to play in here but I love this space. Perfect for your crazy after hours. We used to do our clothing shop for Movement inside the coffee shop upstairs. Eventually, we had to move our operation inside the festival but someday I’ll end up in this crazy little room playing a set at 5 am.
A lot of the best parties are here. Some great music. It’s not too big and not too small. You can get a great view of Detroit from the patio. I’ve seen everyone from LTJ Bukem to Terrence Parker to Newclues play on the outdoor patio here. This is where you can usually find me at 7 am on Monday morning of Movement. It’s also one of the only outdoor venues that I can think of now that the Old Miami (a classic haunt) is shut down to electronic music.
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Shout out to everyone who came out to @secondbestdetroit for our first bubble hockey tournament! Beers were drank, friends were made and a champion was crowned. Congrats to Chicago’s own @hombreverde91 for taking home the Stanley Gulp! Until next time…. live the Great Lakes Good Life! ——- #midwesterngentleman #greatlakesgoodlife #mwg #mwglife #midwest #midwestern #detroit #michigan #secondbest #secondbestdetroit #bubblehockey #hockey #tournament #champion #beer #gentleman #menslifestyle #lifestyle #travel #adventure #boi
Second Best is a place where you can play arcade games in the lounge. This is a 90s-inspired location and I love to play a few rounds of Galaga before sitting down for a refreshment. This is one of the places I really vibe with and is a go-to when I’m in Detroit. I used to play a lot of video games when I was a kid — making this something of a personal paradise.