Spot Lite Detroit owner keeping Corktown’s UFO Factory alive as UFO BAR

The venue will go on hiatus before reopening as UFO BAR by the end of July, according to new owner Roula David.

A photo of the exterior of UFO Factory in Detroit's Corktown.

The exterior of UFO Factory at 2110 Trumbull in Detroit on June 10, 2024.

Despite previous reports, UFO Factory isn’t closing its doors — but it is undergoing a transformation with a new owner and a new name.

There’s not much else set to change at the storied Corktown bar and music venue across the street from where old Tiger Stadium once sat.

UFO Factory will become UFO BAR. Hot dogs and cold beer are still on the menu. Current staff will stay.

That’s according to new owner Roula David, who currently owns and operates the multifaceted venue Spot Lite on the city’s east side.

“I really want people to feel comfortable that it’s going to be the same,” David told WDET in an exclusive interview. “There’s no bar outside of Hamtramck that has that vibe, energy and community.”

The final day under the UFO Factory banner is on Saturday. A trio of Detroit bands will perform, including Day Residue, Ultimate Ovation and Comfort Cure.

The venue will go on hiatus before reopening as UFO BAR by the end of July, according to David.

“There’s no bar outside of Hamtramck that has that vibe, energy and community.” – Roula David, UFO BAR owner

A grand reopening will mark the occasion with a new late-night menu and a lineup of events. However, don’t expect much to change in terms of programming.

Since opening as the UFO Factory in 2014, the venue has become a hub for underground no wave, rock and punk shows alongside queer-focused DJ nights.

David confirmed those bookings will continue and the residencies will remain.

“I find that UFO is even deeper than the underground,” she said. “We want to preserve that as far as the DJ culture. We’re going to bring in a lot of bands — local and national opportunities that make sense.”

Gourmet hot dogs will still be served, but under the banner of Gladys Nite, the food truck that currently operates at Spot Lite.

A photo of the exterior of Spot Lite in Detroit.
Multifaceted venue Spot Lite located at 2905 Beaufait St in Detroit on June 10, 2024.

Gladys Nite chef Jessica Kindle plans to keep the legacy of vegan dogs that the former Laika Dog spot was known for — but with a “slightly different spin,” hinted David.

David adds there are plans to “really bring life to that rooftop deck,” known as the cloud deck.

Alongside the selfie-certified bathrooms, the cloud deck is a signature of the venue thanks to Detroit artist David Brainard’s simple yet surreal cloud artwork.

The record store inside will remain, too, with an injection of soul, R&B, rock and hip-hop records.

“We bought a huge rock collection in the mind that all of this stuff will work well at UFO BAR,” David explained, who currently operates a record store within Spot Lite.

David purchased the business and building earlier this year through a multi-year land contract after hearing that previous owner Dion Fischer and his partners were ready to move on from the business. UFO Factory posted on their Instagram on June 3 that their final day of operation would be June 15.

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A post shared by UFO FACTORY (@ufofactory)

Fischer declined to comment on future plans to WDET, but could carry on the UFO Factory banner in some other format.

The venue will now operate under the management of David and the team at Spot Lite as the newly formed hospitality group Lite House.

Listen to In the Groove with host Ryan Patrick Hooper weekdays from noon-3 p.m. ET on Detroit Public Radio 101.9 WDET.

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.