BY AJ TRAGER
KALAMAZOO – After months of sporadic action, a west Michigan bar finally reopens and comes out of the closet.
Metro Dance Club has rebranded itself as Metro Night Club and has officially named itself the LGBT bar in Kalamazoo.
Metro hit the Kalamazoo scene eight years ago and provided an inclusive atmosphere for all sexualities. In October, previous owner Marty Spaulding announced that the bar would officially close New Year’s Day; however, occasional events began popping up. After going through some financial changes and changing ownership, the bar is now out and proud, with a face lift.
Michael Mack, and his brother-in-law Scott Henderson, took official ownership of the 4,000 square foot space on July 7 and made significant changes to the interior and exterior of the space.
“We came in here closing night and it was a little sad,” Mack said. “Everyone was talking about ‘where we (the LGBT community) are going to go and what are we going to do.’ Metro is a home for everyone. The gay community can go to any bar and it is fine, but it is still nice to go to a place that feels like home. We wanted to officially call it a gay bar. That was one of the first things we wanted to do.”
Additionally, the two brought in more lighting, upgraded the sound system and DJ equipment, opened up the dance floor by putting in garage doors and fitted the walls with 55 inch TV screens to brighten up the space and make it feel more modern.
The outdoor patio is in the process of having freshly laid cement. Mack wanted to update the exterior since the “smoking section” would turn into more of a mud pit during inclement weather.
“One thing we are dedicated to is giving back to the community,” Mack said. “By having the bar, it makes it so we can do fundraiser events, raise money to give to Pride and donate to CARES. We have already donated to both.”
Mack spent the last 23 years living in California and spent much of his time owning and operating a two-story gay night club that was highlighted in many magazines in the area. He moved back to Michigan to see his family and to help out Henderson, and assumed the role as General Manager.
“I think we needed a place called home. We did a coming out party when we named it as a gay bar. The gay community loved it and embraced it. It was a big deal for the community to be called a gay bar,” Mack explained. “However, everybody is welcome no matter how they identify.”
The event listings have changed dramatically as has the website. Using his knowledge and connections, Mack is excited to announce that Metro is now home to steam parties, which he says have taken off and garnered a lot of attendance.
He has kept much of the same staff but has added additional events throughout the week. Tuesdays the bar opens at 5 p.m. equipped with specialty drinks. Wednesday is Karaoke Night. Thursday is College Night. For Friday and Saturday, Mack has lined up DJs from across the state, as well as talent from Los Angeles and San Diego.