Meanwhile Bar


1005 Wealthy St SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49506-2586
United States

(616) 233-1679 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 8 | Ratings: 15 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of sneakymagician
1.25/5  rDev -68%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1

Couldn't get served, despite waiting patiently for 5 minutes. If you looked like a hipster, you got served. If you don't, I guess they don't want you there. I hope things improved in the couple of years since I visited.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

One of my favorite spots in Grand Rapids. Great draft selections at a reasonable price, with a decidedly local focus. Always a chill place to go and catch up with friends. Good little patio outside for the warmer months. Excellent service, never had anything but a great time here.

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Photo of kylelenk
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

One of the quintessential "dive bars of East GR."

Q-Meanwhile is a little on the smaller side, especially during the winter when the back porch is closed. Atmosphere is great.

S-While it is often very busy, you usually don't have to wait too long to get a drink at the bar. There is also a floating member of the waitstaff.

Sel-Surprisingly good for a bar that specializes more in well whiskey and Fireball. Meanwhile often stocks the latest Backstage offerings from Founders and rarer Bell's beers. Although you'll be more apt to go with the bread and butter which is Carling Black Label.

F-No food but snacks can be acquired at the C-store across the street.

V-Very good and ridiculously good if you take part in their weekly specials.

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Photo of ahq514
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Visited the Meanwhile on a Thursday night.
This is definitely more of a local spot, but I used to be a local so that sort of counts.

Loved the atmosphere for a Thursday night. Music wasn't too loud, but the place was packed and every seat was taken. Pretty good mix of different sorts of people. Mostly young, lots of hipsters. A little bit smaller and more intimate of a place.

For being pretty busy the bartender made sure our drinks were never dry, but didn't talk to him much besides that.

Pretty impressed with the selection from what I was expecting. Had maybe 15 drafts or so and I believe the only non michigan one was PBR. Lots of quality michigan brews. A decent amount of bottles too.

Would definitely go back if there weren't so many damn good bars in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of sullenbee
4.56/5  rDev +16.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

I can't praise The Meanwhile Bar enough. I'm honestly surprised it hasn't gotten more BA reviews, as it has long been a mainstay for me to try local brews.

They focus on Michigan products, with 14 Michigan beers on tap.

Summers are the best time to visit the Meanwhile, when the Michigan shaped beer garden is open in the back. (Though they do keep giant heaters going to prolong the time the garden is open.) Otherwise, the often smoky establishment can be a bit much for me as a recent ex smoker. The other downfall is space. In the winter, the place can get pretty packed. For optimal enjoyment, try stopping by in the early evening.

The brother and sister co-owners get bonus points with me for being longtime supporters of Michigan businesses, art, and music. And for being all around nice people. The staff is excellent and always on top of things, even on packed nights.

If you enjoy art, The Meanwhile will entertain you as well. The walls are packed with local work for sale.

I will continue to support this establishment for the remainder of the time I live in Grand Rapids, and not just because it is within walking distance. I love this bar.

Best nights to visit for beer lovers are Thursdays, with $2 Michigan pints until midnight. Also, happy hour Monday - Friday until 8pm includes $1 off Michigan products.

Also, no televisions anywhere in this bar. How refreshing.

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Photo of Gigantis
4.72/5  rDev +20.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

The first time I ever went to the Meanwhile was a little over a year ago with some friends after we left Mulligans do to it being overcrowded. I asked my friends: "What kinds of people go to the Meanwhile?"

They said, "Mulligan's overflow."

It took me a while to realize how wrong they were.

The Meanwhile grows on you. You can go there once or twice and admire the art on the walls (paintings and murals done locally... and well) or the decor. You may even love the youthful vigor and interesting hair styles (both on head and face) of the usual crowd there - vegans, college students, hipsters and their ilk, predominantly. After a few visits though, you begin to just feel right at home there. It isn't too loud, though there is music playing, the bartenders are great and it's a really fun atmosphere.

The selection isn't anything amazing but it is solid. There are eight rotating taps. One of these is always PBR - which you can get a pitcher of for 3 bucks before eight o'clock - and the others are all Michigan micros (Shorts, Bells, Founders, New Holland, etc.). There will always be something for you as some of the beers are seasonal and they always seem to have one IPA, one pale, one dark, one seasonal and on and on. They usually have about 30-40 bottles but nothing spectacular. You can get a MI micro pint on Thursdays for 2 bucks!

The nightly specials are pretty great as well. Wednesday is wine night and you can grab a bottle for cheap or do 2 dollar glasses. All the white house wine I've had there is very good. The red... is all right. They also offer 75 cent cans of Black Label and one-dollar Old Styles as specials. While drinking cheap-ass beer isn't for everyone, there is something nice about it in this artsy dive.

It can get smokey at times. I'd say that half the patrons smoke. It's fairly well-ventilated but don't expect to go home smelling like strawberries and cream. Another negative, which could be a positive depending on how you look at it, is that there is not a single television in the place. Sometimes I like this and sometimes I don't. All I can say is, don't go to the Meanwhile if you want to watch the game.

The warmer seasons are a fantastic time to go here. There is a nice, big patio in back that is fenced in. It is like a small beer garden. Having an Oberon out there on a summer night is great. The Meanwhile is also a supporter of the local arts and even do a film series at the Wealthy Theatre down the street with bi-weekly screenings of cult classics mostly. The only entertainment to be found are two pinball machines and pacman. Best to bring a book if you're going it alone, though the bartenders are extremely nice and friendly. They don't serve food, but encourage you to bring some with you if you desire.

Good times.

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Photo of Magpie14
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

Nice brick exterior and look to the place, a gem for the area. Nice tiled floor and big red shiny booths.
Good quality and service was fine. Good place to sit and grab a drink. Bar area is ample and traditional in most respects.

Check Thursday's as they have $2 Michigan taps (bells, founders, new holland, and even shorts). That is a great deal!

A few pinball machines (star wars pinball is a must) and a small fenced in patio in the back. The jukebox has one of the most interesting selections around...
Worth the stop

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Photo of sarahspat
4.36/5  rDev +11.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The Meanwhile is easily one of my favorite bars in Grand Rapids. The atmosphere is fun and lively. It's mostly a hipster college crowd, but not unbearably so. I feel more at home here than I do at most other places.

They always have some awesome Michigan beers on tap like Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Hopslam (...and yes, Oberon too), Founders Dirty Bastard and Pale Ale, New Holland Poet Stout, Short's Humalupalicious and Soft Parade, Dark Horse Raspberry Ale, etc.

They have a good selection of bottles also which run the gamut from popular microbrews like Sierra Nevada and Stone, to Guinness, to rarities (for this part of the country anyway) like Bar Harbor. They also have very cheap cans of Black Label and PBR, if you're into that kind of thing.

They used to have free popcorn, but their machine broke. They don't mind if you bring in outside food and there is a store across the street (the Wealthy Street Market) which the bartenders encourage patrons to utilize for snacking enjoyment. Incidentally, the bartenders are all very friendly and attentive in my experience.

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Meanwhile Bar in Grand Rapids, MI
Place rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 15 ratings