Spend the Night - Readers' Pick
Best Jazz Club
Published: April 25, 2012
2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com
Regular jazz had been conspicuously absent from downtown for years when new owners — Paul Howard, Scott Lowell and Carolyn Howard — restored and reopened this classy spot in 2005. (It had been dormant for three decades, and it was hard to tell whether the club had been transported to the present or you'd gone back in time.) They quickly found a winning synergy between a classy art deco setting, superior food and drink offerings ... and jazz. Not just any jazz — the quality stays high — but a wide variety of sounds finds a home here, from the sometimes twisted (next month, for instance, there's Imaginary Homeland out of New York, which bills itself as "African fiddles, talking drums and jazz") to the more straight ahead (RJ Spangler with an organ jam, saxophonist Mike Monford, singer Jarrod Champion and pianist-bandleader Scott Gwinnell are weekly-to-monthly roster names).