Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A guide to East Lansing’s bar scene

August 28, 2019
<p>Rick’s American Cafe photographed on Aug. 12. </p>

Rick’s American Cafe photographed on Aug. 12.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

It’s Friday night. You’ve had a long week of classes, you got your homework done (or at least some of it) and it’s time for you to enjoy yourself. Where can you go in East Lansing? 

Assuming you’re of legal age, here are seven bar spots in downtown East Lansing, along with advice for how to get the maximum experience at each.


254 W. Grand River Ave.

Just a bit out of the way, Crunchy’s is known for the constant stream of events they offer. Whether it’s trivia on Tuesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, or a bucket of craft beer every day of the week, there’s always something going on at this East Lansing favorite. 

This is a great place to people-watch, or let the atmosphere itself be the experience.

Field House

213 Ann St.

Centered in the middle of the downtown bar district, you can often hear live music on the Field House patio, at least while the whether is nice. 

This is a great place to come during the day on the weekends, with $2 Mimosas during weekend brunch and $5 pizzas. 


131 Albert St.

If you’re looking for a place with a club atmosphere, you’re probably going to end up at Harper’s soon enough. Everything is half-off on Wednesdays, and you’re going to need to get there early to avoid a line. Once you’re inside, you’ll hear today’s hits coming from an elevated DJ platform and pulsating speakers.

Lou and Harry’s

211 E. Grand River Ave.

This family-owned Greek restaurant serves great food but is known, at least among students, for a Thursday night mug special. Keeping a mug for multiple Thursdays can get you $3 refills, and the atmosphere is always fun and festive. 

You’ll want to get there early, as drink specials can often end at midnight.

PT O’Malley’s

210 Abbot Road

PT’s is known for Bash, a Thursday event featuring $1 burgers and fries, half-off pitchers and a slew of other drink specials. It also features a wheel with all kinds of discounts just a spin away. 

PT’s and Harper’s are sister locations, and will often advertise each other’s specials or events.


224 Abbot Road

This is an institution — less well-known than its Ann Arbor counterpart, but no less beloved by MSU students. The basement bar features a club atmosphere and late-night pizza. 

The 1-2-3 weekend specials promise affordable drinks that you can burn away on a spacious dance floor.

The Riv

231 MAC Ave.

The Riv is often not even known by name, just by one other word: “Rama,” short for “Burgerama.” On a Thursday or Saturday morning, throw on a jersey — it’s tradition — and wait in line to get $1 burgers and fries and $4.25 pitchers. 

But beware, don’t spend too much time here or you might end up majoring in “Rama.”


Share and discuss “A guide to East Lansing’s bar scene” on social media.