Where are the best places to chow down and listen to Northern Michigan-made music? The following round-up—first featured in the 2014 April edition of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine—gets to the bottom of the Northern Michigan food scene to find the tastiest venues for some of the area’s up-and-coming musicians.
Lil Bohemia — 540 West Front Street, Traverse City 231.946.6925
- ←Lil Bohemia shook up the TC pub realm a few years back when it dared to ban smoke, dialed up the food and stacked the calendar with a steady stream of live rock, folk (Celtic on Tuesdays), and jazz. The formula worked, and today Lil Bo’s has a devout following of neighborhood locals and folks that travel far to hear the tunes and sample the cold brews, stiff cocktails and lauded eats: Chilean blue mussels steamed in wine, grilled eggplant with sundried tomatoes appetizer, and lasagna (Burritt’s-sourced ground chuck). All of it fuels the Bohemian ruckus at West Front Street’s retro honkytonk.
The Cabbage Shed — 198 Frankfort Avenue, Elberta 231.352.9843
- Get your stomp on at Elberta’s historic lakeside warehouse turned watering hole. Hear live acts like The Accidentals and chow down on burgers, burritos and platters of fried bluegill.
Lelu Café — 109 Nagonaba Street, Northport 231.356.1600
- The new pulse of Northport offers near-nightly jams from the likes of Blake Elliott and Billy Strings, fresh, artful farm to table fare, cocktails and cappuccinos.
Short’s Brewing Company — 121 North Bridge Street, Bellaire 231.498.2300
- Beer pilgrims bite into brew-friendly sammies and take in live guitar licks from Chain of Lakes or The Lincoln County Process at Bellaire’s busy temple of craft brewing.
City Park Grill — 432 East Lake Street, Petoskey 231.347.0101
- Tuck into fresh local fish or channel Ernie’s ghost (as in Hemingway) sipping Gibsons at the centennial mahogany bar, then hit the dance floor for raucous jams from acts like The Pistol Whips. The wings and calamari certainly strike a chord. →
The Workshop — 221 Garland Street, Traverse City 231.421.8977
- Josh Davis and Joe Wilson jam out gritty roots rock, while the crowd takes on one-hander sandwiches designed to pair with the craft brew selections of the same name.
Noggin Room — 100 Lewis Street, Petoskey 231.347.4000
- Open wide for a crispy P-Town Fish Stack washed down with a cold pint of local beer while you hear Chris Koury or Michelle Chenard rock out in this cozy subterranean pub.