It’s no secret that Michigan has terribly long, bleak winters. Even the most snow-happy Michigander has to get a little depressed come February when it’s nothing but gray skies and gray slush on the roads. That’s why taking advantage of Michigan when you can comfortably spend time outdoors is so important, which includes the social scene. I can’t tell you much about Detroit, and I’d be hard-pressed to recommend anything remotely interesting yet in Lansing, but I do know Grand Rapids. That bustling West Michigan mid-size metropolis that has morphed into a mini Portland in the last decade.
Areas of downtown Grand Rapids that were once sketchy as all get out are now filled with trendy bars, upscale apartments, and pedestrians in Lululemon attire. Looking at you, Bridge St.
All joking aside, it’s great to see my hometown thriving, and with all the new things to see and do, it’s the perfect environment for this travel writer to gather material in-between trips.
One of the coolest experiences in New York is grabbing a drink at a rooftop lounge. The drinks may be overpriced but the skyline is worth every penny. I know where you’re going with this. “But GR is no New York.” That’s absolutely true, but it doesn’t mean Grand Rapids can’t still rock a skyline on a smaller scale. So naturally, as the city – and its skyline – grows, there’s an opening for Grand Rapids to have its very own hip rooftop lounge: Haute at New Hotel Mertens.
Initially, I thought the name Mertens was Dutch, but the theme of the venue is French, so we’ll go with that. Don’t be confused by the hotel part either; it’s not an actual hotel. The downstairs consists of a small bakery and restaurant, but immediately you’ll want to take the elevator up to the rooftop lounge, Haute.
While they do have brunch available, at the time of publishing this blog post, they’ve ended that for the 2019 season. Good news is though, I didn’t get the brunch anyway, so I can’t say whether or not it’s actually worth it.
If you want an evening experience, you can head here during their normal hours, which is everyday 4 p.m. to late – whatever ‘late’ means.
If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, I’d personally recommend the Lady in Red. In addition to tasting really good, it also happens to be one of their cheaper cocktails at just $11. However, if you’re splurging, they do have a drink called the Haute Colada, which sounds incredible. That’ll cost you $16.
All in all, I’d say the vibe of Haute at New Hotel Mertens is upscale chic, and it’s great for plenty of different occasions. It’s a romantic date spot, but can also be a fabulous place to grab drinks with your girls after work. This place is a welcome break from the breweries and dive bars that frequent the Midwest.
Now, not to totally rip of Game of Thrones but winter really is coming, so you’ll want to visit here as soon as possible.
Coming up next month, the trip I’ve been waiting all year for: Ireland! Can’t wait to see what adventures are ahead.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com