Saturday, 30 July 2016 09:29

Revue’s ‘Best of the West’ 2016 Winners: Nightlife & Activities

Written by  Josh Veal
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When it comes to nightlife, the unexpected is pretty much… well, expected. My motto for a night on the town is “prepare to be surprised,” and I’d say the same for this year’s Best of the West results in the Night Life category. 

Who knew The Pyramid Scheme, a venue known primarily for top-shelf rock concerts, would ever be considered the region’s hottest nightclub? Especially when there are two places right behind that literally have “Nightclub” in their names. Speaking of which, apparently none of our voters had ever heard of Metro Nightclub of Kalamazoo, because Rumors was the single, solitary, exclusive nominee for Drag Show. Even one vote would have been enough to give another venue second place. Then again, that may just mean Rumors really does, indisputably and unequivocally, host the best drag show around.

And yet, The Apartment Lounge took home Best LGBT Bar, likely due to its decidedly more chill atmosphere, upscale (IMHO) interior and A+ drink specials. One of the biggest surprises in this whole contest, however, is The Hideout Brewing Co. showing up in third place. The Grand Rapids-based brewery, tucked away at the end of a long road through a secluded apartment complex, doesn’t market itself as a LGBT hotspot. And yet, Hideout has seemingly developed a reputation as a safe space for people of all genders and sexualities (something every local establishment should aspire to, of course).

On the more vanilla side of things, The Meanwhile came in first for Best Bar/Pub/Tavern. I don’t know if that’s surprising or not, given that the Eastown watering hole seems to attract a distinct, yet dedicated crowd. I’ve heard The Meanwhile referred to as a “hipster bar” too many times to count, but I think “hipster” is just what most people call any millennial that doesn’t wear cargo shorts. Full Disclosure: The Meanwhile is my go-to bar on any given night. The enclosed patio is huge, Long Islands are only $3 on Tuesdays, and there’s a killer craft beer selection to boot. Also: Ms. Pac-Man.

You probably could’ve guessed the rest. Founders’ huge stage and guaranteed audience make for a first-place open-mic night, Dr. Grins is the largest comedy-only venue in West Michigan, and Peppino’s is basically Italian Buffalo Wild Wings. The results pretty much speak for themselves. 



Nightlife & Activities Readers Picks


Annual Event/Festival

1. ArtPrize

2. Festival of the Arts

3. LaughFest



1. The Meanwhile, 1005 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Cottage Bar

3. Founders Taproom



1. Grand Haven State Park

2. Kirk Park

2. Oval Beach

3. Hoffmaster State Park



1. Clique Lanes, 533 Stocking Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

2. Wenger’s

3. Spectrum Lanes



1. Gun Lake Casino, 1123 129th Ave., Wayland

2. FireKeepers Casino

3. Four Winds Casino


Comedy Venue

1. Dr. Grins Comedy Club @ The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

2. The Pyramid Scheme

3. Tip Top Deluxe


Dive Bar

1. Mulligan’s, 1518 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

2. Birch Lodge

3. Farah’s


Drag Show

1. Rumors Nightclub, 69 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids


First Date Spot

1. Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. The Winchester

3. San Chez



1. Stella’s Lounge, 53 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. Kale’s Korner

3. Z’s



1. The Apartment, 33 Sheldon Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

2. Rumours Nightclub

3. The Hideout Brewing Co.


Movie Theater

1. Celebration! Cinema, (Multiple locations)

2. AMC Grand Rapids 18

3. Wealthy Theatre


Night Club

1. The Pyramid Scheme, 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. Eve at The B.O.B.

3. Billy’s

3. Rumours Night Club


Open-Mic Night

1. Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. Stella’s Drunken Retort

3. Billy’s



1. Hoffmaster State Park, 6585 Lake Harbour Rd., Muskegon

2. White Pine Trail

3. Riverside Park

All Best of the West Categories:



1. Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

2. Rockwell Republic

3. Bostwick Lake Inn


Sports Bar

1. Peppino’s, 130 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids (and other locations)

2. The Mitten Brewing Co.

3. The Score


Tourist Attraction

1. ArtPrize

2. Frederik Meijer Gardens

3. Founders Brewing Co.






Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, 211 E. Water St, Kalamazoo

The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange may be based on a gimmick, but it’s a damn good one. Seems like every new restaurant and bar in the state is boasting its exciting craft beer selection, which survival requires standing out. For some places, the solution is sheer quantity. For the Beer Exchange, it’s a unique mechanic in which every beer’s price constantly fluctuates throughout the night. Screens on both floors show whether each beer has increased or decreased in fee, with visuals clearly alluding to the stock market. The best part: every so often, a market crash hits and all the prices plummet like it’s 1929. —Josh Veal

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