Built by Irish farmers in 1937 and still family-owned, Grattan Irish Pub serves its steaks, dusted perch, and house-brined kraut and corned beef with a hearty side of tradition. Deep kelly green booths dot the interior, tucked along walls covered with Irish decor. The kitchen produces authentic dishes made from carefully guarded family recipes and serves soups alongside local, hormone-free steaks that are hand cut and never marinated. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, live music sails through the air, and a weekly burrito special is definitely not Irish but involves a burrito, so nothing else matters.
Under the guidance of cofounders and brothers Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov, the skilled coaches at Grand Rapids Fencing Academy enlighten budding swordsmiths on the essential techniques of modern fencing. During informative classes for all experience levels, students learn the foot moves, blade work, and confetti-cutting skills of èpèe-, foil-, and saber-style fencing. Each session is designed to improve mind-body coordination and flexibility while providing aerobic exercise. A wall of full-length mirrors allows pupils to view and modify their techniques inside the sprawling hardwood studio.
Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov sharpened their fencing skills on the former Soviet Union's national fencing team before earning medals in their home country's national championship. In 2004, the United States Olympic Committee named Mikhail the Developmental Coach of the Year in fencing. Both brothers hold master's degrees in fencing and have placed highly in numerous tournaments across multiple globes.
Sister restaurants One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom and The Cottage Bar & Restaurant share more than their owners?they're located on the same street corner. That makes it easy for guests to visit both in one night, stopping at The Cottage to grab a beer before heading to One Trick Pony for a pork porterhouse, or ordering a glass of wine at One Trick Pony before eating the USA Today awarded Cottage burger next door.
The two restaurants also share a love of entertainment. One Trick Pony hosts live music each Thursday and Saturday, with acts such as rockers Mid Life Crisis and acoustic folk singer Gabrial James Lundy entertaining diners. And musicians also play at The Cottage Bar's annual chili cook-off, where 40 amateur chefs gather to show off their secret recipes and plan a chili stain-off where they try to wash tomato sauce off their aprons.
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.
Although officially founded in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony's history stretches back to 1917 when an enterprising group of local musicians began practicing together and holding regular concerts. In the years since, the ensemble has retained this self-starter mentality while growing into one of the nation's preeminent regional orchestras. Always asserting its idiosyncratic individuality, the organization earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for its collaboration with flamboyant electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant and the ire of conductors for its rule that all batons should be able to shoot sparks.
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.