Next time you’re planning an evening out with friends, opt for an experience that’s a little more unique. Across Michigan, you’ll find a selection of themed bars that making going out a little more interesting. From stock market-themed bars in Kalamazoo (yes, that’s right) to the speakeasies of Ann Arbor, check out these eight cool themed bars in Michigan.
We kick off our run in Detroit, where the Grand Trunk Pub might look familiar to those with a historical bent. It's actually located in what used to be the Grand Trunk Railroad's old ticket office. It's been several other things since then, but the current owners of the Grand Trunk Pub have brought back quite a bit of the railroad's old accoutrements, including brass chandeliers and a vaulted ceiling. It also serves as many Made-In-Michigan products as it can find, making it a wonderfully Michigan experience.
The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange in Kalamazoo is one of the most unique themed bars you'll ever see—a bar with a stock market theme. Beer prices are determined by popularity, so if you want to get in on the ground floor of some otherwise-overlooked stock, you can do so, or buy a popular brand at the height. Semirandomly, a “market crash” takes place that sends the prices of all beers dropping through the floor and gives you an opportunity for amazing bargains.
Ann Arbor's the Ravens Club takes one of the most familiar themes in bars—the 1920s speakeasy—and runs with it, providing not only drinks, but also meals, to help make sure the drinks don't hit an empty stomach too hard. A dizzying array of bourbons and whiskeys await you, along with a nice slate of cocktails from the Mai Tai to the Gold Rush, a combination of lemon, honey, and bourbon, with peach infusion.
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Mendon is home to one of the original theme bars out there, or at least a representative of same, a Western bar known as Cowboy Up. Cowboy Up not only features country music acts, but even offers line dancing lessons Wednesdays through Saturdays for those who want to get better acquainted with the art of boot scooting. Toss in a wide range of menu options, and you'll be able to not only come for dinner, but stick around for drinks and dancing.
Shelby Township is host to Coyote Joe's, another country-themed bar that focuses on country music and the country lifestyle. Whether it's a release party for a country singer, or a country artist performance, Coyote Joe's is all about country. A wide string of drink options, line dancing lessons, and even a mechanical bull round out the options here and help keep country buffs coming back for more fun Thursday through Saturday nights.
The name says it all here: Grand Rapids Garage Bar & Grill is found in Grand Rapids, and features a garage theme, which is particularly appropriate for a state so devoted to motor sports and cars in general. Featuring not only an array of drinks (all placed under the “coolants” section of the menu) but also food—try the O Ring onion rings or the Meatball Bearings—to keep you going. The Garage Bar prides itself on “running a good party,” which means fun is the order of the day.
The theme here is “Northern Michigan,” which given Saginaw's location, is fitting. But visitors who arrive here will not only be treated to a 2,000-song jukebox—no mean feat, that—but also popcorn with a variety of seasonings alongside a house-made Bloody Mary mix and craft beers that are often tough to find elsewhere like the Hacker-Pschorr Hefe.
Birmingham's Mad Hatter Bistro combines three seemingly dissimilar concepts—a bar, a restaurant, and an actual tea room—into one whole that might well blow some minds in the grandest “Alice in Wonderland” tradition. Visitors have a choice of a “sophisticated” dining room, where it's possible to watch chefs at work in an open kitchen, or going “down the rabbit hole” into a basement-level room to eat in Wonderland itself. Whether for dinner, cocktails, or afternoon tea, you'll have a wide range of choices waiting at the Mad Hatter Bistro.
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