The bar that every college town, by law, must have: Smoky, loud, sticky floor, and the local place for live rock music.
Regular schedule of local and big-name/small-venue bands, mucho more original music than cover bands. The usual beer & drink specials for a college rock bar. Downstairs is the The 8 Ball Saloon, quieter and with pool tables.
The Blind Pig was opened in 1972 when Tom Isaia and Jerry DelGiudice bought and renovated an old downtown building. They named it after the illegal after-hours gathering place the Detroit Police had raided a few years earlier, touching off the 1967 Race Riots. The facility was primarily a coffee shop at first, converting to a bar at night and serving relatively upscale drinks. Until the 1980s, the Blind Pig hosted almost exclusively nationally renowned blues acts to provide music, drawing an eclectic crowd from the surrounding area. DelGiudice started the still-operating Blind Pig Records recording label in 1975 to showcase music by many of the groups who performed regularly at the club.
Isaia and DelGiudice sold the venue in 1979 to Dave Whitmore, who in turn sold to Roy and Betty Goffett three years later. They doubled the club's space by renovating the rear portion of the building, opening the 8-Ball Saloon on the lower level and moving the stage to the more spacious top floor. The expansion made The Pig more conducive to crowd-heavy rock shows, and acts such as Joan Baez, Bo Diddley and George Thorogood. Nirvana credited the Blind Pig as their all-time favorite venue to play in an MTV interview.
Popular artists that have performed at the Blind Pig: 10,000 Maniacs, Everclear, Nirvana, No Doubt, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., The Rollins Band, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Soul Asylum, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and local acts like MC5 and Iggy Pop.
- Wikipedia: Blind Pig (venue)
In the news
First built in 1901, the Blind Pig has gone through several changes in management and function over the years, taking its name from one of its shadier bygone purposes. “It used to be an illegal speakeasy during the Prohibition Era,” Wolfie said. “There’s a lot of history here. Hell, Jimi Hendrix played downstairs.”
- Advertisement, 1973; from the Wystan Stevens collection
- Blind Pig - Old Form New Concept, Ann Arbor Sun, October 27, 1972
Way back last spring Ann Arbor's only true Blind Pig opened its now infamous underground speakeasy to the boogiers of the community. The Blind Pig represents the old form with new content - wine and grogs, no super-firewater. Under the direction of rainbow owners Tom and Jerry (running buddies for years) began to realize its idea that it is necessary for people of our new community to come together around this old tradition in secure common clrcumstances - they concéntrate their energy on being comfortable together instead of being drunk.