Last weekend during Beer City‘s annual Festival of the Arts, the crew (No. JW was not with us. NOT coming back, folks.) had a chance to hit the streets of the Center City for some great music, fantastic food, delightful friends and an adventure to remember circa 2016.
The afternoon started off chasing down Flight of Niko, a local band with City High-flavor and a runway-style fashion sense, but not before the exhaustive search for the closest, absolutely free parking spot within downtown Grand Rapids to our eventual destination, Grand Rapids Brewing Company. The difference between finding that one free (pre-paid) open meter and just using ParkMobile? Missing the whole show to deal with the deficiencies of the app or just the start of the first song by parking on Library.
Once we found our way to the Clocktower Stage near the corner of Ottawa Ave. and Pearl Street, making sure to “avoid at all costs” GRCC and the Friend of the Court buildings to ease the minds of our psychologically weak team of misfits, it was finally time to rock. With the sun beating its’ way down to on the crowd, the guys from Niko paved the way for the party and signaled the start of summer for those of us lucky enough to join in before the five o’clock whistle.
Once the boys were done, it was time to meet the First Friday group at Grand Rapids Brewing Company at the southwest corner of Ionia and Fulton. As always upon entering, our team ran to the back bar to hide from being seen with yours truly. When the rest of the FF group arrived, we ordered round upon round of GRBC’s finest. But our stay was short-lived as we were determined to find our way around the City for the bands, food and ever-so-inconspicuous people-watching that Americans are obsessed with.
Chicken on a stick, beef on a stick, walking tacos, elephant ears, fries and more. That’s just me, before we arrived at Parsley Mediterranean Grille. Once inside Parsley, the team of Fred, Doug and Meredith made sure that we were taken care of throughout the rest of our stay downtown, even if we aren’t as famous as I led on. Whether it was making sure everyone in our group had a full glass, doubling up on the baklava just for fun because Snappy loves it or the incredibly friendly service that made us feel like we’ve found a must-stop on every future Monroe Center trek.
We listened to Fat Dog down at Rosa Parks Circle and the elders in the group reminisced about the old days of hanging out up top of the brick-waterway concourse called Monroe Mall that pre-dates most everyone reading this. It’s where we’d smoke cigarettes before they were the devil.
We ended the night at….oh, wait. There were Jameson shots at Flanagan’s. Maybe that was just me, though. Anyweld, Beer City Taxi saved the day.
Great night. GR adventure. First Friday in Beer City, June 2016.