Soho comes to Ferndale in the form of a new martini bar

By |2009-04-09T09:00:00-04:00April 9th, 2009|Uncategorized|

FERNDALE – Men, music and martinis – that’s the slogan for Ferndale’s newest gay nightspot, and it delivers what it promises. Soho, located at 205 West Nine Mile Road, opened last week with a bang and some bucks – about $3,000 of them, to be divvied up between the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project and Affirmations Lesbian Gay Community Center, thanks to advance preview fundraisers of the club. And at Friday’s grand opening, the bar was packed wall to wall.
The newest enterprise to be opened by Tom Perlman, owner of Q – Soho’s neighbor by several doors – he says he doesn’t see the clubs as being in competition with each other.
“Soho is less than half the size,” he said. “Q is a nightclub and Soho is more of a neighborhood bar. It’s a martini bar, a video bar. It’s good for people to meet after work, to meet before they go to the clubs or as an alternative to a nightclub. It’s a more laid-back alternative to a nightclub.”
Besides, Pearlman said, if he didn’t open a new nightspot in the city, someone else was bound to.
“I figured someone was going to do it so it might as well be me,” he said. “I thought that Ferndale is a vibrant and diverse community that could support a second bar, especially one that is a martini bar and not a nightclub.”
Soho will feature more than 20 different kinds of martinis, with 12 house specialties, plus a variety of cosmopolitans. The club features a great 70s themed design and a variety of colorful artwork on its walls. Eventually, Soho will also feature drag shows and go-go boys. And how did it get to be called Soho? Well, it wasn’t thanks to any special memory on Perlman’s part.
“You just make a short list of names and that was the one I ended up choosing,” he said. “It’s kind of a funky area of New York, or also Soho in London, so we thought we’d bring a little bit of that do downtown Ferndale.”
Early indications are that it’s working.
“What was really fun for me on Saturday, when Q was open, was seeing the same-sex couples walking back and forth between Q and Soho holding hands,” said Perlman. “It was a nice feeling to see that going on in Ferndale.”
Five years ago, as clubs like Cobalt and The Temple opened their doors in Ferndale, folks thought it was sure to become the new “in” spot for gays looking for nighttime fun. Ultimately, neither of those clubs survived the test of time, but Perlman says it’s not Ferndale’s fault.
“I think Ferndale, of course, is a very gay area, especially the downtown area,” he said, pointing out that Q has been open for nearly four years. “Most of the businesses are gay themed or gay owned. When we opened, that was part of the plan, to make it part of the gay entertainment area. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for Temple or Cobalt, but I think those were unique circumstances that really don’t reflect on the area.”
Perlman said he’d like to prove that Ferndale is the place to be for gay club kids.
“Hopefully it will come together with a little luck,” he said. “We were jam packed on Friday. We had a repeat on Saturday, which I as quite happy about. It was very encouraging.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.