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El Club Founder Plots New Cafe and Community Space in Southwest Detroit

He just launched a $50,000 Kickstarter

tables, chairs, and stage
A rendering of The Vernor Cafe’s stage area.
Courtesy of Graeme Flegenheimer

Nearly a year old, fledgeling Southwest Detroit bar and concert venue, El Club, is ready to expand into a new project: a coffee shop and community arts space. The Vernor Cafe is slated to fill a vacant building formerly home to a hardware store next to El Club on West Vernor Highway. The plans call for a coffee house with performance space and retail, three rentable band practice spaces, a silkscreen studio, classroom and gallery space, and a rooftop patio.

“I really struggle with the idea of selling alcohol to break even, so I wanted to make a space that was less about making a profit and breaking even and that was really focused on the arts,” says Graeme Flegenheimer, founder of El Club. Flegenheimer recently launched a $50,000 Kickstarter to help fund the renovations, which he hopes will commence this summer in time for a winter 2017/spring 2018 opening.

Screenshot of the exterior rendering for The Vernor Cafe.
Screenshot of the coffee bar area at The Vernor Cafe.

While several bakeries in the area do offer coffee, Southwest Detroit’s cafe culture has been leaner since Cafe Con Leche shuttered last year and The Vernor Cafe could help fill some of that void. The plans for the cafe are still in the early stages, however Flegenheimer says future patrons can expect coffee drinks, soft drinks, and possibly pies from El Club’s in-house pizzeria, Pepe Z’s. The space will also feature a small stage for live music acts, open mics, and more. The Kickstarter ends on May 17. Stay tuned.

The Vernor Cafe Kickstarter [Official]

Southwest Detroit Concert Venue Will Sling Pizza and Cocktails [ED]

All Crowdsourcing Coverage [ED]

El Club

4114 Vernor Highway, , MI 48209 (313) 279-7382 Visit Website

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