As the doors of Skybar Lounge’s wood-paneled elevator slide open, customers are immersed in a sleek atmosphere enlivened by driving bass beats and the icy rattle of the bartenders' shakers as they prepare 25 signature martinis. Moroccan-style lamps cast a warm glow over patrons sharing tapas plates of prime beef sky sliders and calamari with house sweet chili sauce in between enjoying panoramic views of the city skyline, flickering streetlights, and nannies flying back to England.
Selecting a wine at The Earle Restaurant isn't as simple as choosing between a red and a white. A recipient of Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence for 20-plus years, The Earle's wine list heaves under the weight of its more than 1,200 listed bottles and from all those bricks weighing it down. Some of those varietals are even available by the glass at The Earle's wine bar, where the menu of light bites includes handmade pizzas crowned with pesto and shrimp.
In the main dining room, wines likewise complement dinners of award-winning French and Italian cuisine, from linguini tossed with crumbled garlic sausage to sautéed duck breast in apple brandy and cider. Those feasts unfold amid the room's romantic lighting and the historic building's exposed brick walls. Once the home of a jazz club, the Earle now spotlights jazz five nights a week with trios on weekends and solo guitarists or pianists on select weekdays.
The seasoned chef at Filippa?s Wine Barrel pays homage to the history of American cuisine with a menu of classic comfort dishes, seafood, and steak-house cuisine created from seasonal ingredients from local sources whenever possible. A large, rotating wine list includes pours from local Michigan wineries, as well as Napa Valley reds. Diners tuck into the upscale eats inside cozy, horseshoe-shaped booths or sup al-fresco on the patio surrounded by a lush landscape of high grasses, the gurgling of a small pond, and the soft, lilting melodies of an opera-singing garden gnome.
There aren't many restaurants anymore where you can sit in the same booth your parents might have dined in 40 years ago. But such is the case at Beggar's Banquet. The self-proclaimed restaurant and saloon took root in 1973, founded by Bob Adler and named after his favorite Rolling Stones album. The pub-like main dining area remains down-to-earth and casual, welcoming guests with wood-paneled walls and stained-glass windows. The names of "beggulars" are etched on gold plates above the bar, and local families celebrate milestones in an elegant room dedicated to private parties. All of this, coupled with the nostalgic atmosphere and tasty, homestyle dishes, has helped Beggar’s Banquet earn praise as one of Lansing's best restaurants by 10Best.
Twenty ever-changing craft beers on tap and a wine list that ranges from malbecs to piesporters fuel the jovial ambiance. Cooks innovate creative spins on classic comfort food, adding muenster, havarti, and gouda to their baked mac 'n’ cheese and a blueberry compote to char-grilled pork chops. They also serve breakfast until 2 p.m., the time each day when orange juice magically transforms into soda pop.