Long Road plans cocktail bar on Cherry Street

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Long Road Co-owners Jon O'Connor, left, and Kyle VanStrien. Courtesy Long Road Distillers

A new cocktail bar is coming to Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood.

Kyle VanStrien and Jon O’Connor, co-owners of Long Road Distillers on Grand Rapids’ West Side, said this week they plan to open a cocktail bar called Less Traveled at 959 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids.

Long Road is seeking special land use approval for Less Traveled from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Thursday, Feb. 10. They will seek additional licensing from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and Kent County Health Department in the coming months.

The cocktail bar’s name is a nod to the distillery’s way of doing things — “with intention, integrity and from start to finish,” what they think of as the “less traveled” path.

“Our journey began on the West Side, a place we still call home, over seven years ago,” VanStrien said. “Our unwavering commitment to taking the long road has led us to this point, where we can now share our craft spirits and cocktails with a new neighborhood on the other side of the river. We’re thrilled to join the East Hills district.”

The future home of Less Traveled. Courtesy Long Road Distillers

Plans for Less Traveled include an intimate indoor area with bar and lounge seating for up to 40 guests. Seating on a new outdoor patio overlooking Cherry Street will have room for up to 45 people.

“With the evolution of service in our industry over the past few years, outdoor experiences are more important than ever,” O’Connor said. “Having limited outdoor options at our West Side location, Less Traveled gives us the opportunity to create a vibrant, open-air experience that activates a previously underutilized portion of the block.”

The menu will feature a curated selection of cocktails unique to Less Traveled, as well as some of the Long Road classics from the business’s other locations. Due to space constraints, there will be no kitchen on-site, but the founders plan to offer small snacks for patrons.

Less Traveled will be licensed as an off-premises tasting room for the distillery. All distilling and production operations still will be conducted at 537 Leonard St. NW, where the company operates its distillery and an on-site cocktail bar and restaurant.

More information about Less Traveled by Long Road Distillers is on Facebook and Instagram.

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