In the pocket

The best in truly rockin' live music, with rows of billiards tables to boot. Over the past few years, this former bowling alley/pool hall that is the upstairs component of the sprawling Majestic Theater complex has evolved from a spunky, funky noisy underground venue for music to become a consistent contender for top national touring acts and A-list locals (particularly those that ply their musical trade on the garage and indie rock scenes).

Fortunately, that progression has been accompanied by environmental and acoustic improvements, too. The Stick built a sturdy, big stage where once was a slapdash elevated affair, added a decent sound system (and a soundman that knows how to appreciate and accomplish good sound for a variety of artists) and installed air-conditioning. Today, the Magic Stick packs 'em into its modest confines for a wide array of the hippest national and local acts, from the feedback-driven frenzy of Yo La Tengo to the blazing rockabilly of Nashville Pussy to the transcultural sounds of local faves the Immigrant Suns.

For those evenings when there's no band, DJs (often employees or scenesters) take up the musical slack spinning soul, punk, brit-pop, rockabilly, swing and techno. On these nights, the comfortable, couch-blessed intimate area near the bar suits its mingling, quaffing-friendly purpose just fine. The Stick also offers the city's largest quantity (outside Hamtramck, of course) of cheap beer. Stroh's, PBR, Hamm's and other cheapies can be had for around $1.50.

Meanwhile, over a dozen professional quality pool tables beckon… and there's rarely a wait to cue up. All around, the Magic Stick is a safe bet among many other musically-risky venues for quality consumption (and a quick game of 8 ball) in down-or-midtown Detroit.

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