• Elizabeth Listerman

Night Life in Grand Rapids



Grand Rapids is best seen at night. When driving East on 196 down the curve coming from the Lake Michigan exit you can see the sparkle of the city lights reflect off the Grand. The night sky blooms with colors and glistens like stars—it’s my favorite sight to see. I look forward to jamming my aux as I speed along the curves and watch as the city suddenly comes alive. What is even better than viewing the city from afar is being right in the middle of it all.

Grand Rapids has the best nightlife. Every restaurant comes alive with patrons and whiskey drinkers. The cocktails start flowing and the music gets louder. People wake up from their midday slumber and come out on the town dressed to their best. Cars glide up along sidewalks dropping off groups of girls ready to take on the night, and the guys saunter up excited for a night out with the gang.

Grand Rapids has a place for every night owl. From casual dining with moody lighting and a bursting atmosphere to popping clubs with pumping music, and that place with the best view and even better drinks.

Your guide to Grands Rapids nightlife starts here!

Rockwell Republic and their Killer Specials

Rockwell Republic, 45 South Division Ave., is located in the historic heart of Grand Rapids. Its beautiful brick structure, moody décor and lighting, high ceilings, antique bar, and dark mahogany wood create the alluring ambiance of a casual night out. The restaurant identifies as a, “lively gastropub with made-from-scratch, seasonal cuisine as eclectic as the environment itself.”

On weeknights, this restaurant really does the most! They offer multiple different cocktail specials every night, except Friday, and on the weekends, they offer brunch and a bloody Mary bar!

- Monday: Wine Night! 40% off bottles of wine from 4 pm-12 am

- Tuesday: $6 R&R Originals from 9pm-12am

- Wednesday: $13 pitchers of Sangria from 5 pm-close and ¼ off martinis from 9 pm-12 am

- Thursday: $1 off all whiskeys and all draft beers 5 pm-close and ½ martinis 9 pm-12 am

- Skip Friday

- Saturday: Brunch from 10am-3pm and $5 bloody Mary bar 10am-5pm

- Sunday: ^^

Their atmosphere, drink specials, and food is amazing. I highly recommend their appetizers. Their sticky chicken, miso shrimp rangoons, and spinach bacon dip are TO DIE FOR!

Stella’s Lounge: An Intergalactic Experience

Stella’s Lounge located on 53 Commerce Ave. is the place to be on a night out. Start there and work your way around Grand Rapids. This place is the most confusing atmosphere but also the most unique. It’s like your cartoons came to life but edgier and less animated. The interior is decked out in colorful art painted on the walls. They depict aliens, odd creatures, geometric shapes, and so much more. They even have arcade games. It’s like your childhood imagination just exploded all over the walls.

Stella’s is where I found my love for whiskey sours. They offer an abundance of drinks and over 250 kinds of whiskey. Their food is whimsical and savory—offering potato styled chicken wings, deep-fried avocado nugents, and burgers that will melt your mouth! Potato wings are like chicken wings but are potatoes—it’s wild. Enjoy a night by downing a couple of whiskey sours and dipping into those beer-battered avocado nugents.

Max’s South Seas Hideaway is the Perfect Night Getaway

Dreaming of Hawaii? Well, Max’s South Seas Hideaway, 58 Ionia Ave. SW comes close to fulfilling that dream. Where else in Michigan can you find tiki heads, grass huts, flowers garnishing your drinks, palm tree-inspired canvases, and bamboo walls? Nowhere. Max’s takes the tiki bar concept to the next level.

Their cocktail menu is fruity, boozy, and for the girls, really pretty. If you ever wanted a flower garnishing your drink, then this is the place for you. The restaurant has no windows, every wall is decked out in tiki décor and the vibe is super amazing. The moody lighting leaves room for romance but also for a lot of fun. This place goes hard. Not one aspect of the restaurant is done half-heartedly. Their seafood is spectacular and what’s even better is their fireside smores! I love dessert and I love smores. Max’s brings a small fire to your table with homemade marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate mousse. It’s a party in your mouth. I know I will be going back often!

The B.O.B.: 5 Floors of Awesome

This restaurant isn’t just one—it’s four. And this place isn’t just restaurants—it’s also a night club. The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW is iconic among Grand Rapids residents. Inside it’s home to awesome food, bars, venues, and a unique experience.

- Lower Level: B.O.B.’s Brewery

- First Floor: Judson’s Steakhouse and Gilly’s H.O.M.E.

- Second Floor: Bobarino’s

- Third Floor: Dr. Grins Comedy Club and Top of The B.O.B. Banquet Facility

- Fourth Floor: Eve Lounge & Event Room and Gilmore Collection Offices

This place is five floors of excellence. It has food for every mood and an atmosphere perfect for any night out. Eve Lounge is a nightclub full of finely dressed individuals and a DJ who knows how to rock. Gilly’s also knows how to party by featuring a DJ and having two bustling bars! This place knows how to give you a great night and you won’t be disappointed!

Mertens Rooftop and it’s Night Life View

This visit is a must. If you love Grand Rapids and you love a view. Then stop by soon. Mertens Rooftop located on 35 Oakes St. SW, closes its doors in November due to our chilly Michigan weather! Bundle up and head downtown to experience this grand bar that sits atop of the historic 1914 former Hotel Merten.

Its chic seating area and beautiful view create a luxury experience. Order a couple of drinks and watch as the sun sets behind the Grand Rapids skyline. It is a romantic night out, but also calls for special occasions. Celebrate a birthday, anniversary, job promotion, or just about anything as you live lavish by visiting this rooftop bar. Underneath this bar, they have now opened Mertens Prime, a French Steakhouse and Bistro, they have a variety of poutine that will make your mouth water for more. This place is the perfect GR experience.

It’s a wonderful life in Grand Rapids!

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