Nick Adams, formerly a bartender at Founders Brewery, has opened a new cocktail lounge on Bridge Street called, Drip Drop. Passersby may have noticed the artfully decorated windows on the former site of The Søvengård. I know I did. That’s why I stopped by, rang, Facebook stalked and cajoled Adams into an interview.
Once inside, the interior is even more impressive. The deep purple cushy velvet seats and sleek interior exude big city elegance. Like many cocktail lounges, the bottles of spirits are meticulously displayed on the wall behind the bar. Unlike other bars, a bevy of tinctures stored in potion bottles, such as one would find in an 18th century apothecary, were splayed out in front of me.
As Adams mixed my drink, “Harvest Moon,” I likened him to Mickey Mouse in Disney’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He laughed.
Adams comes from a food and beverage business family in Calhoun County, Michigan. His father owned several restaurants while
he was growing up: Cricket club in Battle Creek, the Griffin and the Stagecoach Inn, in Marshall. Adams began “bar backing” at the Cricket Club at the age of 16 and has been in the industry, almost full time, ever since.
For a short time, Adams thought he wanted to do something else with his life. He attended Grand Valley State University to study finance, and secured employment in that industry after college, until he realized that sitting behind a desk in a suit all day didn’t suit him. Earning a degree at Grand Valley didn’t lead to any kind of love affair with finance, but it did afford him the opportunity to fall in love with Grand Rapids.
After a stint in Austin, Texas, the Michigan native made his way back to Grand Rapids where he set about bringing a new craft cocktail lounge to the Bridge Street scene.
Adams drew his inspiration for Drip Drop from numerous visits to New York City
cocktail bars with his father, Jeff Adams, who acts as Drip Drop’s general manager.
Apart from the liquor itself, ingredients are all handcrafted onsite. Lemons, oranges and grapefruit are juiced daily. Simple syrups are prepared in-house in the bar’s small kitchen where snacks are prepared. Nothing too elaborate. High-end cheese and other charcuterie-type delicacies grace the menu under a category called, “Sharable Bites.”
Eight signature cocktails are also on offer.
One that’s been a particularly big hit, according to Adams, is the Harvest Moon, which contains a blend of rum and rye, orgeat, poppy seed, citrus blend, cinnamon and angostura bitters.
A decadent old-fashioned variation called, “Five Points Kelly,” features a nice Irish whisky paired with Amaro Montenegro, madeira, orange bitters “and some banana and chocolate flavors in there,” Adams said. “It’s a sophisticated sipper.”
The swanky new establishment offers a half dozen more unique, flavorful intoxicants.
If hard liquor’s not your thing, it’s worth dropping in just to take a look at the neon sign on the wall and the lengthy, floor-to-ceiling plush curtains designed to absorb sound.
In addition to every spirit under the sun, Drip Drop offers two wines by the glass: a Northern Coast Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sonoma County Chardonnay – both from California.
In the way of beer, Adams has chosen to offer two on tap. Surprisingly, PBR is one
of them. The other, not so surprisingly – coming from a former Founders bartender – is the brewery’s signature All Day IPA. Drip Drop, located at 445 Bridge Street
NW, is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. – Midnight; Friday, 4 p.m. – 2 a.m. and Saturday, Noon – 2 a.m. Wednesday night is industry night during which food and beverage industry employees will be offered discounts. Drip Drop seats 44 and can be rented as an event space. Visit the Facebook page and website to learn more about private party details.