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Iconic Baker’s Keyboard Lounge Seeks Historic Landmark Status

The Livernois Avenue nightclub might be Detroit's 194th official historic landmark.

Exterior of a black, brick building with a sign atop and a marquee
Baker's Keyboard Lounge.

The iconic Livernois Avenue mainstay Baker's Keyboard Lounge is in line to become Detroit's 194th official historic landmark, according to The Detroit News. Baker's opened in 1933 but soon transitioned from sandwich shop to live music venue. Today, it claims to be the world's oldest jazz club with a history of enticing talent to the area, from Miles Davis to Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane.

Regulars might attest to Baker's popularity weekend evenings when groups are hard-pressed to find a seat without a reservation. However, the Detroit club has faced challenges. The current owners Eric Whitaker and Hugh W. Smith III purchased Baker's in 2011 and say they're interested in booking bigger acts but can't due to the location's limited seating.

Whitaker and Smith hope that by securing city historic landmark status (a process that may take up to six months) they will be able to apply to join the National Register of Historic Places, making the bar eligible for tax credits.

"We are world famous. Now, we intend to be part of Detroit's comeback," says Smith, who is a former employee of the club. "We want to include the city's history as part of that rebound."

In addition, Baker's owners reiterated what they announced last January. They're in talks with Dan Gilbert to open a second location downtown.

Editor markup for 25 Historic Metro Detroit Restaurants and Bars. This is only visible in the story editor.


Baker's Keyboard Lounge

20510 Livernois, , MI 48221 (313) 345-6300 Visit Website

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