Appetizers & drinks for socializing in Northern Michigan mean slowing down and simply meeting a friend or two in the early evening and sharing appetizers and a drink. Take our suggestions and get a tradition started at these Northern Michigan restaurants in Traverse City, Manistee, Petoskey and more.
128 East Front Street, Traverse City 231.941.7632
Step in off the snow-streaked sidewalk to bright ochre walls, gypsy guitar licks and a sharp staccato of cocktail shakers pouring forth Poppycock’s proprietary martinis. Share plates of furiously pink sesame tuna, pecan-crusted brie fritters and strawberry citrus salad while adding your voice to the buzz of tourists and townies chatting in the chic surroundings. Channeling the eclectic jazz bar bistro energy, the Poppycock’s menu is internationally improvised, melding Southeast Asian, Latin, Mediterranean and regional American flavor spectrums. Tuck into sesame and ginger marinated hanger steak with cilantro lime salad, pork barbacoa tacos, Greek quinoa salad or buttermilk-battered whitefish po’boys. Craft brews, a small dynamic list of local and international vino and a comprehensive cocktail program spanning old school dirty martinis and indulgent confectionary dessert drinks round out the liquid landscape.
617 Ames Street, Elk Rapids 231.264.0530
Order head-spinning hurricanes, fried green tomatoes or crawfish cakes, and groove to happy zydeco racket from The Big Easy.
Blue Fish Kitchen & Bar
312 River Street, Manistee 231.887.4188
Take in the Victorian snow globe of downtown Manistee and duck into this hip Great Lakes fish house to sip dry riesling and chow a pan-seared perch and crispy pork belly sandwich.
149 East Harbor Highway, Maple City 231.228.2560
Quiet winterscapes are complemented by cask-drawn ales, single malt whiskies and the North’s finest British pub fare to share with your mates.
North Country Grill
420 East St. Joseph Street, Suttons Bay 231.271.5000
Troll the boutiques in downtown Suttons Bay and retreat to North Country for fire-grilled steaks and Michelle’s cherry-laced Long Islands.
310 Cass Street, Traverse City 231.932.1310
Swill house recipe mojitos and gnosh garlic pork potstickers, broiled raclette fizz or blue crab and asparagus sushi rolls. Daily happy hour specials on cocktails and small plates.
118 Cass Street, Traverse City 231.421.6583
Sit at the swank zinc bar and sip on cru Beaujolais, Pastis or signature cocktails like Le FouFou while slurping coldwater oysters or vichyssoise.
432 East Lake Street, Petoskey 231.347.0101
Break from holiday shopping in Petoskey for spiked hot chocolate at this century-old mahogany bar and Hemingway haunt.
101 State Street, Harbor Springs 231.526.1904
Raid the New York’s well-stocked cellar for a rich Old-World red to wash down warm braised lamb shanks while winter winds lash at the empty yacht basin.
Browse other hot spots for eating in Northern Michigan in the MyNorth Restaurant Guide.