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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Grand Rapids’ top 5 greatest bars

GVL / Meghan Tripp

As a Grand Valley State University senior who turned 21 going into this school year, I now consider myself a connoisseur of the downtown Grand Rapids bar scene. I journeyed from my Allendale apartment by bus or Uber, and stood in the entry lines in the cold and rain, to concoct this list of five of the best places to go out.  

  1. Stella’s Lounge

Although not a traditional Grand Rapids Bar location, Stella’s has a special place in my heart for its nostalgic environment cultivated by creative wall art and arcade games. 

The location, a restaurant during the day, turns into a 21+ venue after 9 p.m., creating a space for adults to channel their inner child with games like PAC-MAN (my personal favorite), pinball and other classic 25-cent games. 

The activities, environment, food and drink make Stella’s the perfect location to connect with friends through competition and conversation.  

  1. Mojo’s

Mojo’s dueling piano bar is a gem in the Grand Rapids night scene. 

The live music from the dueling pianos create a communal experience between the performers and the crowd. Although the demographic near the live performance tends to be older than college students, people like me who enjoy a variety of music from the ’80s to today are in luck here. 

Although there is a DJ upstairs, I much prefer the opportunity to move to the musicians who bring their all to the space. 

  1. Boot Night at New Holland Brewing Co

“Boot Night” is a special held by New Holland Brewing Co. on Wednesday nights and it’s the epitome of the college experience. What screams college more than congregating at a bar in the middle of the week to get a one-liter stein, a.k.a. a boot, for 10 dollars or less? 

The location has an open outdoor beer garden, even in colder weather, with space heaters and fire pit tables, in addition to interior spaces with large communal tables. DJs bring the place to life, and if you’re like me and my friends, dancing is a must (even with a heavy glass stein). 

Boot night breaks up the week and truly brings the community together. 

  1. Joey’s Tavern

Joey’s Tavern is like a reliable old friend; no matter what you do with them, you will always have a good time. 

The location, incredibly intimate, allows you to mix and mingle– I’ve seen larger shoe boxes. The bar’s slogan “advice and enlightenment” is a testament to the conversations initiated by the proximity and ability to connect in the chaos of a perfect dive bar setting. 

It is also one of the most affordable options for a night out. One time, two friends and I each ordered a cocktail, shot, and shared a basket of tenders and fries (might I add, I am addicted to) and the bill was a little over $10 each. 

Joey’s just does it right.

  1. B.O.B. and Eve Nightclub

Unsurprisingly at number one, I have the B.O.B. (aka the Big ol’ building), a crowd favorite. Consistently the bar has lines wrapping around both sides of the building, bustling with a young crowd eager to explore the building’s four floors. The venue appeals to all of the people in your group with its basement cup pong, live bands, and dance floors. You’ll have all of your options in one place.

Eve Nightclub, the top floor of the B.O.B., is a hot commodity and often is sold out later in the night. It’s the best for groups that love to dance and for screaming the most popular music at the top of your lungs.

The only downside to the B.O.B are the overpriced drinks; however, the atmosphere is well worth it, especially if you are up for an eventful night.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Schanz
Elizabeth Schanz is the Lanthorn's Editor in Chief for the 2023-2024 school year. She previously worked as Arts and Entertainment editor, News editor and a staff writer for the news section throughout her three years at the Lanthorn. Elizabeth is a multimedia journalism and dance major with a minor in history. In her free time she likes to paint, go out for sushi and loves hanging out with her dog Sadie and cat Claire. She is also part of the Fredrik Meijer Honors College and Momentum dance club.
Graduating Winter 2024
Major: Multimedia Journalism and Dance
Minor: History