Top 3 Bars in Grand Haven, Michigan

There’s plenty of places outside the city limits to grab a drink, but when you can’t find a designated driver and you can’t afford a taxi home, a few of the bars in Grand Haven are worth the drunk-walk back to your apartment. From my personal experiences, I’ve gathered together the top three bars to frequent, but since Grand Haven is a seasonal town, your experience may vary depending on what time of the year it is. For instance, there are usually going to be more people during the summer months than there are during the winter months. But since summer of 2010 is fast approaching, this review will be mainly geared towards the summer season.

3. The Pavillion

Located at 18 Washington Avenue, The Pavillion provides a relatively quiet place to sit and chat with friends on a weeknight. However, on the weekends they are usually busier with live music on Saturday nights and karaoke on Friday nights. The live music is hardly anything to boast about and if that’s the sort of thing you look forward to, you can basically find live music at any of the other bars in Grand Haven. However, don’t expect to find any local young musicians playing original music in Grand Haven at any of the bars; instead you’re apt to see the same old farts drinking around with instruments playing “Brown Eyed Girl” (Porto Bello) and a pair of dueling keyboardists playing Casios on makeshift piano frames (The Kirby House). But if you’re looking to see some live music without having to pay a cover charge, then The Pavillion works out just fine. The Pavillion houses mostly a college crowd, which are proven to drive away hoity-toity yuppies in their late thirties, especially on karaoke night. If you just so happen to be a hoity-toity yuppie reading this on your iPhone or iPad, then I would recommend the new micro-brewery Odd-Side Ales (it’s just like Panera Bread, but instead of food they have beer). After all, you’re not going to appreciate Pabst Blue Ribbon like I do.

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2. The Tip-a-Few

Located at 10 Franklin Avenue, The Tip-a-Few is not the place to go to if you’re looking for a nice quiet atmosphere without choking on cigarette smoke. Oh, I’m sorry, after May 1st this will all change thanks to the new ban on cigarettes. Maybe my opinion of this place will change once nobody is allowed to smoke in here, but if that’s the case, then this review is only effective until May 1st, 2010. But apparently the ban on cigarettes will actually boost business for bars with people that wanted to go there but couldn’t because of the dangers of second-hand smoke. In that case, if a nice meal and a few beers with the family is what you’re looking for, then don’t go here; go to Applebee’s, you jackass. Quit ruining my bars. Anyway, given it’s competition in the downtown area, the Tip-a-Few is definitely not like any of the other bars. There’s no ordering vodka gimlets or fancy rum-runners here, it’s beer or a simple mixed drink here. And that’s probably one of the reasons I like it. Aside from having only one pool table and a very crowded space at times, the Tip-a-Few is a great spot to get together with friends and have a wet burrito. Seriously, have a wet burrito sometime. They can’t be beat within Grand Haven. Besides the food, drinks here are always the most reasonably priced, given that it’s so close to downtown.

1. The Rosebud

Located at 100 Washington Avenue, The Rosebud basically combines everything I could want in a bar. They have various drink specials all throughout the week, I’ve not once ever complained about the food there and, contrary to my statements earlier, the live music they have on the weekends holds it’s own ground. At least here they book different acts from around West Michigan instead of hiring the same regulars like most of the bars in the area do. The building is actually divided in two sections; one where the band is performing and the other where the bar is situated. So, you can easily bounce back and forth between bullshitting at the bar or showing off your mad dance skills with the ladies. Although they do serve beer and liquor like the other two bars I’ve listed, their selection is more vast and the bartenders know what they’re doing when it comes to mixed drinks. You won’t find that with trendy spots like K2 and the Theatre Bar, nor will you find yourself with a costly bill after ordering a couple shots like The Bil Mar and Snug Harbor. In all reality and as seriously as you can take a couple mediocre reviews of a bar, I would say that The Rosebud easily gets my top pick out of all the bars in the vicinity.

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So, once you’re done exploring all that Grand Haven has to offer (all three blocks of it) and you’re well ready to take your drunk-walk home, be sure to stop in at Mr. Kozak’s and grab a gyro when you’ve got the 2 A.M. munchies. The kitchen staff and employees take kindly to late night business and usually enjoy a good drunk conversation, but don’t give them a hard time all night, they have to get home too. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Levi.