GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It’s as if you are sitting inside a time capsule, when you step inside Flat Lander’s Barstillery, saluting the hard-working men and women who made the former lumberyard at 855 Michigan Street run for so many years.
When asked how to describe the motif, co-partners Robert Grimes and Gregg Palazzalo call it “Hillbilly Chic.” How can you not love that?
Being someone who loves to salvage and tackle do-it-yourself projects, I am fascinated by it.
The graffiti on the walls is preserved, along with the former coal bin, now tattooed with black. A fire ripped through the building years ago, a reminder of it forever stamped and sealed on the ceiling. A gigantic bird cage serves as a stage for occasional acoustic music or provides a great place for a small table and chairs. On the wall, a replica Salt Flat’s Racer motorcycle is hung like a piece of art. The Flat Lander’s name comes from the way people live in hilly regions down south–and even in northern Michigan–refer to those in the “flat” areas like Grand Rapids.
But what is a barstillery? In a nutshell, patrons to enjoy their own style of organic spirits while throwing back some tasty Michigan brews and wine. Don’t expect to order a Captain and Coke; besides, they’ll have you “hooked” with one of their alternatives, such as the bourbon, white whiskey, vodka, white rum and gin, all Flat Lander’s recipes, which are distilled in Three Oaks, Mich., but bottled and ready for you to enjoy in Grand Rapids.
Take a look at their drink menu. I highly recommend the Appleshine.
During ArtPrize and Pulaski Days, from Oct. 1 through Oct. 11, Flat Lander’s will host a Whiskyfest, with drink specials aplenty.
Make sure to come hungry! Flat Lander’s menu is not overwhelming, but has something to hit every taste bud, like my favorite starter, Flat Lander’s Bar Cheese, a mixture of New Holland Brewing’s Dragons Milk, “Moody Blue” bleu cheese, smoked gouda, fried pretzel bread, and celery sticks. My dad got the Flat Lander Burger, which is a half pound of local beef, beer cheese, house smoked bacon, pork BBQ, and a fried egg, with a side of their awesome homemade chips. I got the southern pork BBQ with a side of fries, because once the waitress described them, I was hooked! The fries are cut fresh daily, fried in the morning and then fried again, with a garlic twist. Worth every calorie!
Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m. to Midnight
Sunday: Noon to Midnight