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Saint Andrew’s Hall Find out how this hot concert venue really got its name

Saint Andrew’s Hall

431 E. Congress St., Detroit, MI 48226
  • Neighborhood: Downtown
  • Price Level:   
  • Live Music
  • Cards Accepted

Tags: live music, downtown, saint-andrews-hall, the-shelter, concert-venue

Saint Andrew’s Hall wasn’t always an awesome live music venue.

You might guess by the name that this iconic concert hall used to be a church, but it never was. The building was originally the meeting place of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Detroit.

Formed in 1849 by 35 men, the society was initially made up of Scottish-American stonecutters, boilermakers, carpenters, bookkeepers, machinists, physicians and liquor dealers.

There was another “Saint Andrew’s Hall” before the location we know today. It has nothing to do with the concert venue, but for the purposes of clarification, it’s worth noting. The site of the former Central M.E. Church, located at the corner of Woodward and State, rebuilt in 1866 and designed for commercial use. The Saint Andrew’s men moved into the third floor from 1867-1883 and their space became known as “Saint Andrew’s Hall” for the time. That building was demolished in 1883, and the society moved on to new space on Jefferson Ave.

By 1907 the Saint Andrew’s Society was more than 1,200 members strong and they began building a large brownstone at 431 E. Congress with a ballroom and meeting spaces on the first floor, a dedicated society meeting room on the second floor, and a basement for informal entertaining. They held their meetings and social events in this building for decades, and rented out the space to other groups. But membership in the Saint Andrew’s Society declined in the 1980s, along with their use of the hall. They finally sold the building in 1994.

Today, this former home of Burns Night dinners and cultural celebrations is one of the best places to hear live music in the city. They started hosting concerts here in 1980, and over the years some seriously cool artists have taken the stage at Saint Andrew’s. Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Iggy Pop, Paul Simon, R.E.M., The Verve, and Red Hot Chili Peppers are just a few of the powerhouse acts who performed here during the ‘80s and ‘90s. These days you’ll see folks like Meghan Trainor, Jerrod Niemann, Anberlin, Better Than Ezra and B.o.B. bring the house down in front of sold out crowds.

The basement – former site of informal entertaining – is now an underground club where up and coming artists perform. You might know it as one of the first venues to host a gentleman named Marshall Mathers. It’s a great spot to see a concert for less than $20.

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, think about heading over tomorrow night to see the punchy pop-punk band Late Night Reading. Progressive metal group The Contortionist is taking over The Shelter on Saturday.

To see the full lineup of upcoming shows or to buy tickets, visit the Saint Andrew’s website.


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