It’s the oldest operating bar and restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids. We’ve both been there countless times, with each other and with other groups, because it’s a Grand Rapids staple. We occasionally run into people that haven’t been there and are always amazed. The Cottage Bar is humble and charming in its own way: an old, worn wooden bar and booths (the booth backs irritatingly move back and forth), tables and booths crammed together in the back room around a fireplace, an “overflow” room in the front that has no ambiance whatsoever (seating of last resort), and in the summer, a small, narrow, outdoor alley, optimistically called an “outside café”. But it’s always our default location (like your favorite pair of old shoes, always comfortable with no surprises).
The Cottage burger (voted best burger in Michigan by USA Today)
and the Black Bean burgerThe restaurant is noted for its burgers and chili, and is a favorite spot for after-Civic-Theater goers (the performers all show up). Service is generally good and very friendly, and we’ve had almost everything on the menu. Stick to the burgers or chili, order the cottage fries, and you can’t go wrong (one shout-out for the Parmesan Peppercorn Chicken Salad). The current owner also owns One Trick Pony, separated only by the “outside café”. Be sure to visit this “oldest, established, permanent” restaurant in Grand Rapids. (Apparently not even music theater people catch the reference, so see "Guys and Dolls.")