Where the beverage people drink

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Eastern Kille's Wealthy Street cocktail lounge. Photos courtesy of Eastern Kille

When it comes time to pick a place to grab a beverage in Grand Rapids, the options continue to grow.

There are plenty of bars that offer up a serviceable cocktail, glass of wine or pint of beer, but there are fewer that truly elevate the beverage experience. To find out where the best options are, a good bet is to ask a bartender, distiller or brewer.

An interesting dilemma came up as GR Mag asked beverage professionals in Grand Rapids about where they drink: many are fathers in a young family and don’t get out much beyond the borders of their own establishments.

When they do, however, many of the answers were pretty similar. And one even said one of the magazine’s all-time favorite establishments, the Pickwick. Here’s a quick sampling of where beverage professionals drink:

Tristan Walczewski, chief operating officer and beverage director at Essence Restaurant Group (Grove, Bistro Bella Vita and The Green Well):

“For ‘sophisticated’ drinking: Eastern Kille, Sidebar, Littlebird, Post Off. If I am out, I usually stick to dives. The city has some truly amazing ones. In order of favorites: Vinny’s, The Point, Birch Lodge, River City Saloon and Playstation Pub.”

Ben Darcie, Short’s Brewing sales representative:

“Eastern Kille, and they have a new location on Wealthy. People’s Cider, Post Off, Greyline, City Built.”

Rob Hanks, general manager at Two James Spirits Grand Rapids:

“Buffalo Traders Lounge and Post Off, those are two of my go-tos (where he used to run). Also Cafe Mamo for a glass of wine and some snacks or dinner, that’s probably where I go most for dinner. Honestly, I love the new Eastern Kille spot on Wealthy Street. For dive bars, Pickwick. It’s a service style you don’t get anywhere else. They have what they have — including Fosters on tap.”

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