The Tin Can is the best bar in Lansing, in my opinion. It has a lot of unique features, such as they only serve beer in cans (hence the name), and they also have some other interesting drinks such as Faygo bombs (Faygo is a type of local pop, only available in Michigan as far as I know), pudding shots, and they even have a "Happy Meal" where you can get a chili dog, a can of PBR, and a shot of Jack. lol
Despite only serving cans, their beer selection is extensive. They have over 60 beers, in either regular cans or "tall boys". For regular cans, the cost is either $2 or $3 depending on which beer it is. "Tall boys" are generally $4. They also have an equally impressive shot selection, over 50 I believe (I don't usually get shots so I don't know the price).
For the actual bar, there are two areas. One is the inside of the building which is a fairly narrow room, featuring the bar with probably 20 or so seats, and then a handful of small tables opposite the bar. There's a huge chalk board to draw on by those tables, and then there are also two dart boards at the front of the room, although playing darts can be tough, if not impossible, when the bar is packed. They have a couple TVs as well, but it's not exactly the ideal place to watch a game at.
There is also an outdoor area, called "The Big Deck", which is much more spacious than the inside. During warmer weather they generally have a DJ playing music and sometimes even have beer stands on the deck so that you don't have to keep going back inside to refill.
Tin Can is also connected to some other bars and you can get to two of them from inside the Tin Can (via a hallway at the back, which also leads out to the deck). One of those is "25 Taps" which, as it's name implies, has 25 beers on tap at any given time. The other is the "Harem" which is a dance club (and charges cover). Additionally, on the same block, is a sports bar for the local baseball team (the "Nut House" for the Lansing Lugnuts) and just above the Tin Can is "the Loft", where they have concerts fairly often (must purchase tickets to get in).
The only complaint I have about this place is the bathrooms. It's not that they are dirty (far from it, they are always very clean), it's that they have someone working in the bathroom at all times, trying to give you soap for your hands or a paper towel, etc. I don't like that at all. When I go to the bathroom I don't want to interact with someone, and there's ALWAYS some guy working in there. It's annoying. Also I don't like how it seems like you are suppose to tip him. I feel like I shouldn't have to pay to use the bathroom (and I don't), so it just makes me uncomfortable.
But other than that, Tin Can is a great place to grab a beer, and it's in a great location to stop at after a downtown event or to hit up during a bar crawl.
Favorite Dish: Keweenaw Brewing Company! Keweenaw Brown (Lift Bridge) is my favorite, and they do have it on their menu, but they never seem to actually have it, so I get Keweenaw Black (Widow Maker) instead. It's still really good, but the brown is the best!
This place is definitely interesting and unique. The main reason to come here is the food - it's top notch! Almost all of the food is breakfast themed (omelets, pancakes, eggs, french toast, etc.) and it's all delicious. They mostly focus on breakfast because it's only open until 2:30 PM every day.
It's also fun to come here for the atmosphere. This isn't a normal sit down restaurant; they always have music blaring and the walls are covered with interesting items and photos. Each table also has some fun stuff to use while waiting on your food, such as a deck or cards or trivia questions. The staff is also part of the atmosphere, they all look a bit "rough", but they still provide good service.
It's a popular spot though, and they don't have a lot of tables, so there will often be a line in front of the door to get in (general wait time is probably 20-30 minutes to get a seat). Because they try to get everyone seated as quickly as possible, they will often have people sit with strangers to make sure every seat is full. So unless you show up with 4 people, you stand a chance of sitting at a table with people you don't know, although I always only go with 1 other person (2 of us total) and so far we have never had to sit with another couple - we either manage to get a 2-person table or sit at the "counter". However, each time we go, we have seen them group strangers together at other tables, so it does happen.
But the wait to get in is definitely worth it, so check it out if you are in town. You'll likely either need to drive there yourself (just park anywhere on the side of the road, their parking lot only holds like 2-3 cars, so chances are you won't be able to park in it) or get a taxi, since I don't think there are any bus routes that go here.
Also, they do not accept credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash on you!
Favorite Dish: I like to try something different each time, but I think my favorite so far has been the sandwich made of french toast which has egg, cheese, and sausage inside it.
UPDATE: Wild Beaver is no longer open. It apparently closed some time between March and May of 2012. :(
Tin Can is my new pick for "best bar in Lansing"
Old review for this page was:
Located right in the heart of downtown, on the corner of Washington Square and Allegan Street, the Wild Beaver Saloon is the best bar in Lansing.
First, they have some great specials. On Thursdays you can get an entire pitcher for $3.50. That's the cost of a single beer at most other bars. Other specials are listed on their website.
Second, there are some regular TVs like every bar has, but in one of the rooms they have a huge projector which they use to show whatever big game is on that night. There is also a pool table in that area, although sometimes it's so crowded that it's not really feasible to try to play. There is an outdoor patio area for when it's warm out too, and sometimes they'll have that bean bag toss game set up to play.
Third, its in a great location. You can either start your night here and venture off to other bars either on Washington Square or Michigan Avenue, or you can make your way here from elsewhere. There is also a Jimmy John's literally kiddy corner from the bar to grab some great cheap food at the end of the night.
Finally, the waitresses wear some ridiculously hot outfits. And a few times a night they will get up on the bar and dance around to a song or two.
Overall, this is by far my favorite bar in Lansing and I would definitely recommend you check it out if you are in town on the weekend and are looking to "go out" for the night.
Stober's is kind of in the downtown Lansing bar scene, albeit on the very edge of it. It draws a different crowd than the main downtown bars (a little bit older and quieter), but it's still a fun place to go and worth checking out.
The drinks and prices are comparable to other bars. Some of the unique features that this bar offers are a big parking lot (most downtown bars really lack in parking) and two shuffleboard tables, which are free to play on.
They also occasionally have live music, and have been getting a live jazz band to play every Tuesday night.
Reno's West is one of few bars in North Lansing, along Saginaw Highway.
In theory, it could be a pretty good place to spend an evening. It has a bunch of stuff to do: pool tables, shuffle board, darts, a lot of televisions... so plenty of entertainment. It also has an outdoor patio for when the weather is nice.
However, I don't like going here because the service is terrible. Waitresses take forever to check on you and often screw up your order when they do. One time I was there with a friend who ordered a water while I ordered a beer... the waitress brought us 2 waters. Thinking perhaps she misunderstood what I said, I ordered the same beer again when she took our order for food. She even checked my ID this time, but still never brought me the drink. lol
The price for food is a bit high compared to other nearby restaurants (of which there are plenty on Saginaw) as well.
Edmund's is one of the newest restaurants in town, having opened in 2010. I've eaten here a few times and my take is that the menu is hit or miss... there are some things which you definitely get your money's worth and other things where you will leave disappointed.
For example, one time we went in there and saw an item in the "Knock Out" section called "Yo Micky!" - it said "one pound of chicken and one pound of tater tots" for only like $9. That sounded like a lot of food, so we got it to split - and it was great! It was one of the best meals I've had in a while!
But then another time we each ordered a sandwich, and each sandwich was the same price as the "Yo Micky" (so like $8-$9 each) but they were not worth it at all. Mine, the fishwich, was just a single piece of cooked fish that they put on a bun and then threw some lettuce and tomato on to call it a sandwich (to be fair, it also came with a side). To be honest, I would have preferred the fillet-o-fish from McDoland's instead of the fishwich here, especially considering the price difference between the two.
Edmund's is also a bar, so they have a decent variety of drinks to order and they even have "Happy Hour" every day from 3-6 PM too. All of the drinks come in mason jars, which is pretty unique. Besides normal beer, they also have "adult milkshakes" which are basically a mixture of traditional milkshakes with the twist that they also have alcohol in them. They are a bit expensive (over $5) but very good (I tried the "Oreo Speedwagon"). However, they are also served in a mason jar, and it was difficult to get the ice cream out of the bottom because the spoon doesn't fit into the jar very well.
As for things to do... they have a handful of TVs to watch sporting events, although there are seats where it is very difficult to watch from, so this might not be the best place to come to watch a popular game. There was also a pool table.
Overall, I like this place. It's probably not a destination for when you are looking to go out to the bar on the weekends, but it's definitely worth a look for an early dinner or so.
Favorite Dish: Yo Micky! It's "one pound of chicken chunks and one pound of tater tots"... besides being delicious, it's only $9 and can easily feed two people, making it one of the best values in town!
Empire Szechuan is a basic Chinese buffet. They have a "lunch special" of $5.99 if you eat there between 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM during the week, which comes out to $6.35 after tax if you get a water, and a little bit higher if you get a soft drink. I'm not sure what the price is outside of that time frame as I've only gone there on my lunch break. And I think that is how most people use the place; it's always packed at lunch but when I walk by in the evening there's like never anyone in there.
They don't have a ton of choices, but I always find something I like. There is just one cart with the main food (chicken, seafood, soup, etc.) and then a side cart of desserts ranging from fruits to cookies and even jello.
The staff is very good, they get you seated and get your drink orders right away.
Overall, I enjoy eating here, and if you have to come downtown for work this should definitely be one of your destinations for lunch.
Favorite Dish: I usually get a variety of chicken with broccoli and white rice. Peanut chicken is my favorite type.
A small local eatery located just north of Old Town in Lansing. The inside is a one-room diner complete with old-school stools that give you a front row seat to breakfast at its finest. The decor sports odd knick knacks, punk art and lots of color. Arrive early to avoid the line that stretches outside (even in the winter).
Favorite Dish: Any of their specials. I like the breakfast burrito and the strawberry french toast.
This was a pretty typical Denny's with little to differentiate it from the others. The Tilapia Ranchero was adequately prepared and the service decent. Nothing to complain about, but nothing extraordinary to raise it above average either.
Favorite Dish: I like the Tilapia Ranchero
The Embassy Grill is shoved into a small space in a strip mall. The inner decor was nondescript with fake leather and Formica; but when I am after lunch, I care more about the food and the service. I had Chicken Shawarma (Chicken cooked in a lemon and garlic sauce with herbs and spices). It was well prepared and tasted very good. Portion size was more than adequate. Service was pretty good and the waitress was friendly.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed the Chicken Shawarma. I had never had it before so I cannot say how authentic it was.
I asked the desk clerk where to eat and she recommended Cheddar's. Cheddar's is a chain of restaurants. The decor was dark colors and wood. Service was pretty good. They also had a bar. I ordered Cajun Catfish which was very good and actually pretty spicy like it should be. Price was very reasonable for what I got. Worth a try.
Favorite Dish: Loved the Cajun Catfish
Formerly the Michigan Central Railroad Station in 1903, now hosts Clara's Restaurant with an affordable charm and prestige. Did I mention the food? A large 16-page menu should be able to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters and surely have a taste for every palette.
The interior is a dazzling old-style decor with bronze chandeliers, statue lamps, balcony seating and fireplace mantle. They boast a candleabra once used in a palace in Venice and three European crystal chandeliers along with some of the most beautiful woodwork.
Reservations are recommended for the busiest of meal times. Dress code: Somewhat professional or laid back business casual, although I didn't feel out of place wearing trendy jeans. I wouldn't recommend sweatpants or unkempt jeans.
Favorite Dish: CLARA'S VEGETARIAN SANDWICH
Swiss, American and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce, mushrooms, tomato, red onions, cucumber and ranch dressing on grilled rosemary sourdough bread. $6.59
With fresh, homemade guacamole, add $1.39
It's an Irish Pub type of place right on South Washington Square. Relaxed, a bit dark in there, but the waiters & waitresses are great, the food is amazing & very affordable.
Favorite Dish: Either the chicken pita (which you have to ask for the pita bread - amazing) or patty o'melt with fries. Their fries are GREAT!
MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS ARE CHI-CHIS, TEXAS ROADHOUSE, OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE AND CHEDDARS. THEY AREN'T SPECIAL OR ONE OF A KIND, BUT THEY ARE SOOO GOOD! THERE IS A GREAT MEXICAN RESTAURANT CALLED EL AZTECO, THERE ARE TWO OF THEM, BUT THE BEST ONE IS ON MSU'S CAMPUS, IT HAS AN OUTDOOR PATIO ON THE ROOF. GREAT FOR EVENING AND NIGHTIME! NOW, I AM PARTIAL TO MEXICAN FOOD, SO, WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE BAR AND ITS 3AM AND YOU ARE STARVING, THE BEST FOOD IS FAMOUS TACO. OMG, ITS THE BEST AND THEY DELIVER, GRANTED THEY ARE SLOW, BUT THEY ARE SO WORTH IT. YUM! IF YOU PREFER SOMETHING ELSE, THERE IS ALWAYS THEIO'S AND OLD FAITHFUL, DENNYS.
WELL, THERE ISN'T MUCH SPECIAL ABOUT THESE PLACES, BESIDES EL AZTECO, WITH ITS OUTDOOR PATIO ON THE ROOF AND ITS ACROSS FROM MSU CAMPUS.
Favorite Dish: WHEN I GO ANYWHERE, YOU CAN'T GO WRONG WITH CHICKEN STRIPS, LOVE EM! AT CHI CHI'S THEY HAVE GREAT NACHOS! AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM! AT OUTBACK, YOU HAVE TO GET THEIR AUSSIE FRIES, SO GOOD AND SO BAD FOR YOU! THE BEST PLACE FOR ICECREAM OR FROZEN YOGURT IS NATURES SCOOP OUT IN EAST LANSING, ALMOST TO OKEMOS. ITS SELF SERVE, YOU BUILD YOUR OWN AND PAY BY WEIGHT. ITS SO GOOD AND ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!
This place is always packed on Friday and Saturday nights, but it is well worth the wait! About 5 cooks will stand around the grill and sing loudly and keep the crowd entertained by flipping bits of the meals into the air and catching them either on the sticks or in the bowls when they are done.
Favorite Dish: This place is awesome... All the food is out on a 'buffett' on ice - meats included, and you mix your own meal. Recipe cards are available on your table, the walls, and by the food, and you are encouraged to make your own recipes. Several meats such as lamb, calamari, chicken, beef, shrimp, and others are available to choose from, along with several types of veggies and spices. Personally, I like the chicken, with some teriaki sauce, ginger, chili powder, oil, and something else that I can't think of off hand. Once you 'mix' your meal you take it up to the cooks who cook it right in front of you with some huge sticks on a grill. You can either eat your meal on rice, like a stir fry or you can wrap it up in tortilla's like fajitas.