Two Black Gay clubs rock Detroit

Something old, something new

By Brent Dorian Carpenter

Party animals in Detroit have two new reasons to celebrate. Time Square, located in the heart of downtown Detroit, has once again opened its doors, launching it's "Wet and Wild Wednesdays" for the African American LGBT community. On Detroit's far east side, Club Xhale seeks to provide a new venue in an area of the city that has traditionally been underrepresented by black gay clubs.

Club Xhale is a cozy, intimate club that will put patrons in the mind of an upscale version of the Continental or Vibrations, both of which are defunct. Xhale's proprietor Troy McCants is an enthusiastic Detroit booster who is not at all discouraged by the spotty success rate of black gay clubs.

"I love a challenge and I also believe in investing in the city with real estate," McCants says. "You're taking a risk with any business. We don't have anything on the east side and I'm actually from the east side, so I thought it would be nice to do something different and offer us something on the other side of town because we have a lot of people that frequent clubs from the area and they have to travel all the way to the west side or downtown."

Before McCants bought the club 18 months ago, it used to be a straight club called Club Diamond Ring. After extensive remodeling, he reopened it on January 1, and indicates that he is already in the process of expanding into a vacated property next door.

The bar currently includes several music video monitors, a gaming area, and two-for-one Cuervo 1800 shots. A big Whitney Houston fan, McCants renamed it after the hit movie "Waiting To Exhale."

"The lady who used to own it was a real estate agent, and so she didn't have the time to put into it. She tried to rent it out and lease it out and it just didn't work. I met her and realized it was an opportunity for me to take advantage of. What I'm hearing is that there is a need for this type of club. We're going toward the mature crowd and they say they want to support it."

McCants says that the response has been "great" in the four months since the doors opened. The universal opinion of the capacity crowd in attendance last Friday indicated that, indeed, he has a winner on his hands.

"The Woodward is okay, but since the fire at Off Broadway East, we really don't have anywhere else to go," summed up one patron named Anthony. "It's nice to have an alternative."

"In addition to 'Fresh Air Fridays,' we have 'Sexy Saturdays' for the ladies, and on Thursdays we just opened up something for the guys and the girls," McCants explained. "We do offer live entertainment on Thursdays. For example, we had a live flute player this past Thursday. DJ Dream is known locally in the city and she's excellent. She does both House and R&B Techno. The response from the community is that they like her and they like her sound."

McCants says the cover charge on all three nights is free before 11 pm, and $5 thereafter. He also indicates that Club Xhale plans to be a participating sponsor of Hotter Than July.

"Right now we're talking to the committee to see what we can do. We would like to offer something like a small comedy or poetry venue."

Time Square, which has been through several previous incarnations, boasts newly remodeled state-of-the-art sounds and lights. Legendary DJ Melvin Hill spins Hip Hop, R&B and House, and all drinks are $5 before 11 pm. Cover charge is $5 before 11 and $10 after.

Club Xhale is located at 16314 East Warren Avenue between East Outer Drive and Chalmers. For additional information, call 313-343-9100. Time Square is located at 1431 Time Square near Grand River and Woodward behind the Trolley Plaza Apartments. 313-961-0232.

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