When the Christmas season arrives, one Grand Rapids bar knows how to celebrate the holiday in style.
Broadway Bar, located at 740 Broadway Ave NW, gets festive during the holiday season and is decked out from floor to ceiling in garland, ornaments, Christmas lights, Santa figurines, and much more.
No corner of the establishment is spared, and employees wear their best Christmas sweaters (ugly or otherwise) as they serve customers.
Christmas at Broadway Bar
Bartender Tom Schuitema tells local media that he started decorating the bar in the late 1990s as a way to liven up the bar with some Christmas spirit during the holidays.
What started as a small display of decorations in the front kept growing as Schuitema kept bringing his Christmas decorations to the bar. He’s been collecting Christmas decorations since he was a boy and has a Christmas museum in his basement at home.
Schuitema said that it takes him roughly six weeks to fill the bar with all of the Christmas decorations, and he puts as many decorations up as he can before longtime owner Cindy Berrington tells him, “Enough.”
The bar’s festive decorations are so popular that last month it asked customers in a Facebook poll whether or not it should keep the decorations up all year long. Currently, more than 150 comments have been left by people voicing their opinions.
On the inside, Broadway Bar has the look and feel of a classic dive bar, from fold-out chairs to the smells of delicious, greasy bar fare.
It all melds together perfectly during the holiday season as visitors enjoy yards or garlands struck around the bar, huge ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and even the classic leg lamp from “A Christmas Story.” Some of the decorations can even be seen through special 3-D Christmas glasses, which can transform lights into fun holiday shapes.
Broadway Bar traditionally celebrates holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, the Fourth of July, and St. Patrick’s Day. But Christmas is the bar’s time to shine and Schuitema starts around Labor Day, putting up decorations to turn the bar into a Christmas wonderland.
Hungry customers can come and enjoy the decorations and festive atmosphere while enjoying a cocktail, their favorite bar apps, or house specials like the Broadway burger and fries and the Broadway Burrito. While they enjoy their meal, they can watch Christmas movies, which continuously play among the dozens of decorations.
The Broadway Burger is a site to behold; a double-decker burger loaded with toppings and piled on Texas Toast. It’s massive, it’s juicy, and it’s delicious, especially with a side of crispy fries.
Note: Reservations at Broadway Bar are already booked through December and reservations for January are filling fast.
Broadway Bar is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays; noon to midnight on Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays. The bar also occasionally stays open later on busier days.
A reservation at Broadway Bar reserves a table for an entire lunch or dinner service so customers who want to take their time enjoying company, enjoying a meal, and enjoying the Christmas decorations don’t have to feel rushed during their visits.
The bar’s kitchen is open until 9 p.m. during the week and until 11 p.m. on the weekends. It’s also closed from 4 to 5 p.m. each day to prepare for dinner hours.
Explore More of Grand Rapids During the Holidays
For those who weren’t lucky enough to snag a table at Broadway Bar, there’s still plenty visitors in Grand Rapids can do to experience the best of the city during the holidays.
Holiday shoppers can visit Grand Rapids’ Christkindl Markt during November and December. Located right in downtown Grand Rapids, this festive, European-styled Christmas market has dozens of vendors, live entertainment, appearances by Santa Claus, and much more.
Residents and out-of-town visitors who enjoy festive light displays can gather friends and family in the car to view some of the most scenic Christmas light displays in Michigan.
There are several displays within an hour of Grand Rapids, including the Christmas Lite Show in Comstock Park, which has been going strong for more than 25 years and is the state’s largest drive-thru animated light display.
The Grand Rapids Santa Parade is a fun way to kick off the holiday season. The parade takes place just before Thanksgiving and this annual event delights visitors of all ages with its festivities.
Marching bands play Christmas carols, a parade of reindeer strolls through down and The Man in Red arrives in sleigh to greet visitors and meet with children eager to tell him what they want for Christmas.
Sip a Holiday Brew
No trip to Beer City USA seems complete without a stop at one of Grand Rapids’ renowned breweries. Not only do these establishments serve up refreshing, award-winning beers, but some of them also serve up fun holiday brews that infuse the best flavors of the holiday season.
Frederik Meijer Christmas Stroll
Visitors can also soak in the holiday spirit at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, which becomes a wonderland in winter. The park pays homage to different winter holidays and runs from late November through early January, offering plenty of time to visit during the holidays.
Inside the atrium, visitors can stroll past and view beautifully decorated Christmas trees as well as cultural exhibits in the Railway Garden. Visitors can then step outside to see magnificent nighttime illuminated light displays.
Make Grand Rapids Part of Your Holiday Season
Whether you spend several hours meandering through Christkindl Markt searching for the perfect gift, sitting down at a table for a meal at Broadway Bar, or hopping in the car to see a beautiful, illuminated light display, Grand Rapids and the surrounding area has plenty to enhance your holiday experience this season.