Brick walls and fireplaces surround the nautical-themed dining area of Great Lakes Shipping Co. Restaurant & Tavern. During warmer months, the casual steak and seafood house opens its large outdoor deck that allows diners to pair meals with the melodic tweets of nearby birds. Executive chef Thomas Verlin's menu showcases fresh lake catches such as breaded perch alongside oceanic fare such as Australian lobster and Alaskan king crab, often accented with simple sauces, pastas, and cue cards that let the entree speak for itself. Thomas also lassos hand-cut slices of prime rib, new york strip, and tenderloin fillets onto dinner plates and wrangles juicy burgers and sandwiches to satisfy lighter appetites.
Shining its spotlights on everything from live concerts to cage fights, the Orbit Room morphs to handle intimate concerts and packed dance parties alike. A two-tiered design lends ample room for more than 1,600 swaying fans or 800 three-legged racers, with an open ground floor and loge resting below a seated balcony. Five bars adorn the two floors, quenching fans' thirst before they hop into the mosh pit or stretch their legs in the balcony.
Flanagan's Irish Pub's gastropub menu rotates nearly weekly with eclectic offerings such as pulled pork tacos and specialty burgers with fresh, seasonal toppings. Chefs still cook up classic Irish dishes such as fish and chips or shepherd's pie, but also put twists on old favorites: reuben bites?mini reuben sandwiches rolled in wonton skins?are a house specialty. On the weekends, live bands and DJs fill the air with music.
Legally Blonde The Musical, adapted from the 2001 hit film, is a rosy-hued tale about a sorority sister turned Harvard Law student. Filled with lively songs, breathtaking choreography, and copious amounts of pink, the sidesplitting saga of Elle Woods leaves audiences joyous and up to 24% blonder. Seating (subject to availability) will be in the orchestra section or first-level mezzanine rows A-F ($63.25 each), or in the mid- and back-level mezzanine ($53.25 each). Join Broadway Grand Rapids for its 23rd music-making season as the company celebrates its new partnership with MSU's Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.
J. Gardella's Tavern offers casual comfort food for the formal and uncomfortable at its three-story location. Fire-up feasting from the menu with spinach artichoke dip ($6.99) or J. Gardella's chili, a cup of family secrets, beef, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and beans ($2.99). Once initial hunger pains have been tamed, guests can turn their stomach's sights toward a main dish. The pulled-pork sandwich accompanies its eats with barbecue sauce for dipping ($6.99), whereas the black-bean garden burger ($5.99) and the buffalo-chicken wrap ($6.99) spoil the stomach and spare the hog. Entrees include lake perch with fries ($8.99) and a chicken or beef burrito ($8.99), with the sugar-and-cinnamon-dusted dessert known as Elephant Ears ($3) providing a fitting finale to the feast. Vampires can use this Groupon for the late- night menu or to sip on some of the adult beverages at the full bar.
Once each new batch of beer has passed through Hideout Brewing Company's 280-gallon system, brewers transfer it from fermentation drums into kegs one by one. The hands-on process takes time, but brewmasters still manage to keep The Hideout's 32 taps filled. Drafts like the Smuggler's Hazelnut Stout and the Gangster IPA are available year-round, thought most of the bar's selection rotates among specialty and seasonal beers, as well as occasional hard ciders and meads. The brewers are often playful with different styles of beer, steeping chocolate and jalape?os or using wild yeasts that build a complex maze of flavors.
Along with food from outside vendors, Hideout's pours pair well with a modest menu of bar snacks such as mini tacos, corn dogs, and soft pretzels. Drinking and dining commences on the main floor, where Prohibition-era photographs surround weekly rounds of board games and chess. Karoake wednesdays feature locals on vocals while Saturdays bill live bands for entertainment. Competitive shouts can always be heard drifting from dartboards, and there?s also a horseshoe pit in Hideout's backyard garden, where steeds respectfully leave their hoofwear before coming inside for a drink.