On Tap

In the fanzine, On Tap occasionally brings you a review of a footy-themed beer. Here, we’ll introduce visiting supporters to Beer City USA. Welcome to Grand Rapids, West Michigan!

Notes regarding bus information

Downtown | North Monroe | Midtown | East Hills | Eastown | Stockbridge | West Grand
Getting Here | Getting Around | Watching the Beautiful Game

Welcome to Grand Rapids

What can we say, Beer City USA! We owned that poll so much in 2013 they stopped running it! We have nine breweries within city limits, along with a number of highly rated beer bars. Brew Dogs (Esquire Network) even visited us in 2015, they fell in love with our city!

If you’re not so much of a beer person, we also have some top class cideries in the area, and we’re about the first stop south of a respected wine region. We also have two distilleries and a meadery here within city limits. Our city is also home to a number of festivals throughout the year, such as Festival of the Arts in June (in 2018 it’s the 1st to the 3rd) and ArtPrize in September. We encourage you to spend some time in our great city, show your colors and drink a pint with us!

Watching the Beautiful Game

You might call it soccer or football, but if you want to watch the pros on TV, head to SpeakEZ Lounge. Jersey sponsors of GRFC, they welcome all Premier League and Bundesliga fans. You can also watch Italian or Spanish League action there, plus MLS action of course. They have the ability to cast streaming games from NBC Gold, WatchESPN etc., check with them in advance if a certain game is available. It is also the official bar of GR’s American Outlaws chapter. You can also expect a busy crowd there for World Cup games this summer!

For early kick-offs on Saturday and Sunday mornings or any other availability announcements, check for notices on the Facebook group GR Fans of World Football or by the page GR Fans of World Football. If you’ll be there at 7.45, so will they.

SpeakEZ is located in the North Monroe district just north of the downtown area, a short walk from DeVos Hall. They have a dozen taps of the best current brews from Michigan and around the US, some great bottles and cans; and a great reputation for mixed drinks and cocktails.

Buses: North DASH (outside); Silver Line, 11, 19, 50 (Devos Place)

The owner of SpeakEZ, Eric 'EZ' Albertson, has also partnered to revamp Graydon’s Crossing, about a mile further north on Plainfield Avenue. The plan is to host some soccer watching there too, although streaming options are not yet available.

Buses: 11 (outside); North DASH (Plainfield/Leonard); 15 (Leonard/College)


Downtown GR is roughly centered around intersection of Fulton Street and Division Avenue, which is also the meeting point of the four geographic quadrants that add suffixes to our street names, and the zero point from which block numbers are measured. You’ll find dozens of restaurants and bars within a half mile radius of this point. Most of them are located either east of the Van Andel Arena on Ionia or Commerce Avenues, or north along Monroe Center towards the Amway Grand and Devos Hall. For family activities, you will find all kinds of museums, including one for one of the Grand Rapids area’s greatest sons, Gerald R Ford. Check out grnow.com to find the events happening when you visit.

For local food shopping and/or eating in, swing by the Downtown Market. Beer fans will find four of the city’s breweries in the downtown area: Founders to the south west of the arena next to Central Station, and the other three within five minutes’ walk of each other: The original HopCat (doubles as one of the best beer bars around), Grand Rapids Brewing Company, and BOB’s Brewery down in the basement of The BOB. For great coffee hit Madcap or Lantern. For great pizza, Big O’s. Great burgers and a massive whisky selection at Stella’s. Great breakfast and fantastic tapas at SanChez. Pinball and good vibes at the Pyramid Scheme.

The eastern extreme of downtown is home of a wide selection of food options, too. Mediterranean delights of Gita Pita, dogs and burgers at One Stop Coney Shop, Thai at Bangkok Taste and Indian at Palace of India amongst others, all around the Silver Line station at Fulton Street between Jefferson and Ransom Avenues.

Buses: 1-16, 18, 19, 50, Silver Line, both DASHes

North Monroe

The North Monroe district is effectively just an extension of downtown. Nestled between Lookout Hill and the Grand River it is traditionally an industrial area which has recently changed over to mixed use and has seen a lot of redevelopment.

If you’re walking here from Downtown, stop by the Atwater satellite on the corner of Michigan and Monroe opposite Devos Hall.

It’s the home of SpeakEZ Lounge, covered in the Watching the Beautiful Game section above. Next door is the original location of Founders, in the Brass Works Building.

JD Reardon’s is a well-established pub/restaurant at Canal Park, and there’s the newly remodeled Garage Bar & Grill. The area is also home to the city’s second distillery, Gray Skies, and the neighborhood’s first brewery since Founders’ departure, City Built. There’s also the Field & Fire café for great pastries.

For the adventurous, there’s a 140-step climb to the Belknap neighborhood, including the Lookout, a small park with a view down to the west side of Grand Rapids.

Enjoy a walk across the historic Sixth Street Bridge and turn left to check out the Fishladder, a piece of modern architecture that helps the river’s fish in their life cycle. From here you’re just a short walk from Stockbridge!

Buses: North DASH; and a short walk from routes 11, 19, 7, 50, Silver Line.


Our home field Houseman Field is located in Midtown, whose main business district is along Michigan Street to its north. There are a number of bars along that street, perhaps the highlight is the 7 Monks tap room or Flat Landers, a "barstillery" with locally distilled spirits. There’s also a number of neighborhood bars such as Bob’s Sports Bar (where we host our pre-game parties). You’ll also find Fulton Street Farmers Market open on Friday and Saturday mornings if you get into town early enough, including some lunch options. The market is especially vibrant on Saturday mornings.

Buses: 13, 19 (Michigan St); 14 (Fulton St); 15 (College Ave)

East Hills

This area has seen a revitalization in the past decade. Centered around the intersection of Cherry Street, Lake Drive and Diamond Avenue about a mile or so east of downtown and just a short walk from Houseman Field; its growth was spurred by Marie Catrib’s café opening on a site the locals call "Center of the Universe" after a campaign to sanitize a disused gas station. Cherry Street just west of the intersection, and stretches of Wealthy Street at Diamond and between Union and Eastern Avenues feature the most action. Brewery Vivant offers one of the go-to addresses of the area, while a second brewery in the area Elk opened in 2014. Great pastries at Wealthy Street Bakery, drinks and good eats at The Winchester, The Green Well and Electric Cheetah. Brick Road Pizza should satisfy a pizza craving. Dogs and burgers at Johnny Bz, tacos at Donkey. Late drinks at The Meanwhile.

Buses: 4 (Cherry St/Eastern Ave); 5 (Wealthy St); 6 (Lake Dr); 14 (Fulton St)


A bustling hub of activity most nights and especially at weekends, Eastown is centered around the intersection of Lake Drive and Wealthy Street about two miles east of downtown GR. Not to be confused with East Grand Rapids, which is the next municipality to the east; or East Hills. Home of the iconic Yesterdog, which was the hot dog restaurant referenced in the American Pie movie. Great breakfast at Wolfgangs, wood fired pizzas and local brews at Harmony Brewing Company. Late night destination is Billy’s.

Buses: 6 (Lake Dr/Wealthy St); 5 (Wealthy St/Fuller Ave)


This area is named for the intersection of Stocking and Bridge, a short walk across the river from the NW corner of downtown, and forms part of the Westside area of GR. It is also part of an extended Downtown development area.

Harmony Hall on the corner of Stocking and Bridge (a second distinct location for the Eastown Harmony Brewing Company), The Knickerbocker (a satellite location for New Holland Brewing Company), Søvengård and Butcher’s Union are all new gastropubs in a revitalized area. There is currently a Meijer-owned neighborhood grocery store under construction, and Jolly Pumpkin will be opening another satellite here this year.

You’ll also find a couple of older, more established businesses such as Maggie’s Kitchen and O’Toole’s.

Buses: 7 (Scribner & Turner Aves); 9 (Seward Ave/Stocking Ave/Alpine Ave); 18 (Bridge St/Stocking Ave); 19 (Bridge St) and West DASH

West Grand

Also part of the wider Westside area, much of what is hip and cool is clustered around an old fire station a mile north of the Stockbridge area, which a couple of years ago became home to Mitten Brewing Company, another pizza and beer location with a baseball theme. Right next door there’s also Two Scott’s BBQ and Long Road distillery, while The People’s Cider Co has moved its tap room there recently. There are also a couple of cheaper food options such as Chicago Style Gyro and a new hot dog place.

Buses: 7 (Leonard St); 9 (Alpine Ave); 19 (Leonard/Seward)

Getting Here

We anticipate most of our visitors will travel by road. We’re just a short distance from I-196 at Fuller Avenue, the first westbound exit after the split from I-96. Parking can be a bit tricky at Houseman. There’s a large unpaved lot to the north of the stadium off Lyon Street. As long as you’re not planning on leaving the vehicle overnight, the Fulton Street Farmers Market parking lot is available once the vendors clear out around 3pm, that’s just a short walk away. Plenty of street parking in the neighborhood too, it’s a relatively safe area.

There are plenty of public transportation options to get to GR. The Amtrak station in Grand Rapids offers a daily service via Holland from Chicago. The new station is located just to the south of the bus station, off Wealthy Street. Megabus has ceased operations to GR, but Greyhound and Indian Trails still run. All services stop at the transit center SW of downtown.

Getting Around

GR is served by a top class local transit service, the Rapid. Central Station is served by 17 buses radiating out to the suburbs. Check their operating times, routes and schedules at ridetherapid.org. Service stops after 11pm or midnight on weekdays, after 9pm on Saturdays and after 6pm on Sundays. Check the schedules on the day of your visit to leave the car parked at the hotel and ride the bus back downtown after the game. You can also use Google Maps’ transit layer or apps such as the Transit App to navigate the buses.

If you’re in town on a weekday, you’ll also see DASH buses, the Downtown Area SHuttle. Two routes operate, and are free of charge. They are refered to as 20 and 22 on some online schedules.

If you missed the last bus or don’t want to wait, use Uber. We also like Yellow Cab if you prefer more traditional taxi service.