Grand Rapids has a lot going on these days. The changes from when the Beer O’Clock GR staff came back from the west coast sometimes boggle our tiny minds. New Grand Rapids bars are popping up all over, but there are a select few that we’re really, really excited for, either because of what they offer, or because of what they mean for the city. Below are our top 5.

Difference of opinion? Let us know in the comments, or on the Beer O’Clock GR Facebook page.


Long Road is so much more than just the city’s first from-scratch distillery. It’s a shot across the bow of the idea that the city’s east side has to be where the action is. Plus, it couldn’t be owned by two cooler guys than Kyle VanStrien and Jon O’Connor. We had the opportunity to spend some time hanging out with these guys, and they are true blue Grand Rapidians — viewing their venture not just as a profit-maker, but also as another step toward building the west side out (they are both from the area).

They are focused on the process, about growing organically and on being the city’s first true distiller. Based on the care, thought and heart they’ve put into the process of conceiving the distillery itself and it’s place in the neighborhood, we absolutely cannot wait to try their product.

To us, Long Road represents a huge step forward for our city. Learn more about Long Road at their website or their Facebook page.


Owned by Seth and Laura Porter, founders of Michigan Beer Blog, this spot’s description had us immediately: Michigan made ciders and beers (heavy on the ciders), handmade sausages and proper poutine. At 428 W Bridge St., The Black Heron will also be part of a crop of new Grand Rapids bars making the West Side the best side (forgive us).

Learn more about The Black Heron at their website, Facebook page and definitely read Michigan Beer Blog.


Only announced officially last week Tuesday, this is huge for Grand Rapids. This spot will be part of Rockford Construction’s massive revitalization of the Bridge street corridor on the West Side. (Noticing a pattern here?) It is a massive development, and will introduce a multi-story taproom with roof deck, destined to become a go-to place for tourists and locals alike. Couple that with New Holland’s name recognition, and you’ve got one more reason Grand Rapids is well on it’s way to becoming the world’s best beer city.

Learn more about the development at MLive.


So, Barry, Jackson and Heather Van Dyke, who own what may be our favorite neighborhood joint in the city, the charming and welcoming Harmony Brewing in Eastown, are opening a West Side Polish Hall-influenced bar called Harmony Hall. Color us stoked. Good memories from our misspent early 20s at 5th Street Hall abound, and since the trio are leaving up some of the 1970s Little Mexico wall art (the Hall will occupy LM’s former space), you get a little nostalgia for that GR legend as well. The progress is looking beautiful, and we just can’t wait to see it happen.

Our one hope is that they’ll do a light, eastern European-style lager that we can tip by the liter in honor of the Hall’s heritage. Learn more about Harmony Hall on MLive.


You’d be surprised — possibly alarmed — at how often I wish there was a solid tiki bar in town. It was only made worse by this Anthony Bourdain segment featuring San Fransisco’s Tonga Room. That’s why BarFly Ventures (owners of Hopcat, Stella’s, etc.) new spot is so exciting. Let’s just hope that this joint has it all: Fine barbecue, kitschy interior, the works, please.

Learn more about the Shrunken Head on their website or Facebook page.


Full Article – Beer O’Clock GR – October 13, 2014


Posted on October 13, 2014 in News, Online

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