The 9 Best Bars In Downtown Grand Rapids (Local Favorites)

best bars downtown grand rapids

Okay gang, here’s the deal: leave your car keys at home. Don’t pull out your ride-sharing app – you won’t need it.

We are going to hopscotch around downtown Grand Rapids, and we’re going to do it on foot. Use that money you saved on gas or Uber to buy a round of drinks for your friends.

All the places I’ve listed in the article are an easy ten or fifteen-minute walk (at most) from the heart of downtown. (Perfect for an epic bar crawl or an unforgettable bachelor or bachelorette party.)

Cheers, bottoms up, salut. Let’s drink. Here’s to our health. Here’s to the best bars in downtown Grand Rapids!

Map of Downtown Grand Rapid’s Best Bars

The best speakeasy in Grand Rapids: I Don’t Care

In the immortal words of Charlie XCX “I don’t care, I love it!” If that song doesn’t get you hyped for a night out on the town, you need to check your pulse.

Enjoy the view from the balcony (open year-round). And come dressed to impress, as this is a trendy spot. Make sure your wallet’s flush with cash – the prices at Grand Rapids’ hottest speakeasy run on the high side.

  • Address: 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: I Don’t Care

The best brewery downtown: Founders Brewing Company

founders brewing downtown grand rapids

Founders has metastasized. The brewery and production facility now occupy an entire city block.

Head down to the OG taproom (there’s also one in Detroit), and see what all the growth and fuss is about. Expect a delicious pour regardless of what you order. From 4% ABV lagers to robust stouts that are over 10% ABV and aged in bourbon barrels, Founder’s brews a darn fine beer.

Red’s Rye, a red IPA that is now a taproom exclusive, is available year-round, and it’s an exceptional beer. Beer nerds rave about it. Order one and enjoy it by one of the outdoor firepits for a sublime Grand Rapids experience.

  • Address: 235 Cesar E. Chavez Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Founders Brewing

The best barcade downtown: Stella’s Lounge

stellas lounge downtown grand rapids

I’m a sucker for Stella’s. The imposing skulls that are stenciled on the exterior are a punk rock slap in the face to the stodgy, button-down Grand Rapids I grew up in.

Head inside and check out their vintage game collection. All the games are just a quarter, and they’ve got classics like Mortal Kombat, Pac-Man, and more. Geek out over the games that you (or your parents) grew up on.

While Stella’s sells a bunch of cheap lawnmower beers, they’ve also got some craft options. And they’ve got over 250 bottles of whiskey, so you’re sure to find just the thing to whet your whistle.

The best bar for pinball: The Pyramid Scheme

The backroom at The Pyramid Scheme is my favorite concert venue in town. The capacity is 400 people or so, all crammed like sardines into the space, swaying to the same beat. I saw the band Michigander light the room on fire (metaphorically). Oh, and the pricing is reasonable – you can get a beer and a shot for around five bucks.

The front room is a bar that’s dedicated to pinball machines. They’ve got a couple of dozen of them, from sleek, brand-new beauties to lovingly cared-for vintage machines. Sip on a local brew – their tap list is extensive – bring a roll of quarters, and unleash your inner pinball wizard.

For a Grand Rapids classic: Z’s Bar and Restaurant

Death. Taxes. Z’s.

Three things that you can count on.

Z’s is a Grand Rapids institution. They’ve been around since 1982, so they know a thing or two about adult beverages.

Make your way over to Z’s, which is in the heart of the city, and join the many Grand Rapidians who’ve enjoyed a drink at Z’s through the years.

  • Address: 168 Louis, Campau Promenade NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Z’s

The best cocktails downtown: Drip Drop

Drip Drop is the newest, hottest bar in town. People are raving. Trying to get a table there is a knife fight, like getting a TV at Walmart on Black Friday.

But if you manage to get in, toast to your success with one of Drip Drop’s delicious cocktails. I’m a fan of the “Five Points Kelly,” as well as their riff on the Negroni.

Drip Drop is also a great place for a nightcap after a meal at one of the many fine restaurants on Bridge Street.

  • Address: 445 Bridge Street NW Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: Drip Drop

The best dueling piano bar in Grand Rapids: Mojo’s

Okay, it’s also the only dueling piano bar in the city. But if you’re looking for a fun night of dancing and shaking your money maker, head to Mojo’s.

You’ll be singing along to some of the biggest hits to ever top the Billboard charts. Want to hear something else? Give the piano player a couple bucks and they’ll pound out your request. They may not have fancy cocktails or the biggest drink menu, but listen: you’re going to have fun.

  • Address: 180 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Mojo’s

The best Irish pub downtown: Flanagan’s

Top of the morning to you! Are you Irish, or do you have a deeply rooted appreciation for Irish culture?

Bangers and mash. Jameson whiskey. Limericks. The 1993 film Rudy.

Head down to Flanagan’s and celebrate all things Irish. Sláinte! (That’s Irish for cheers).

  • Address: 139 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Flanagan’s

The best dive bar in downtown Grand Rapids: Anchor Bar

The moon landing. The discovery of penicillin. The construction of the world’s first dive bar.

Dive bars might be humankind’s crowning achievement. If you’re in the mood for cheap domestic beers that are snappy and refreshing (and also dirt cheap, served in oversized mugs), head to Anchor.

  • Address: 447 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: N/A