Kalamazoo is considerably different from day to night, and there has seemingly always been quite a vibrant nightlife to enjoy. Since the city is a college town, thanks to Western Michigan University, there is already a distinct nightlife in Kalamazoo. However, The Entertainment District is changing how Kalamazoo’s nightlife is perceived, and it quickly became a must-visit during my #MittenTrip.
The Entertainment District is in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo, and it contains multiple venues such as Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill, Wild Bull Saloon, Sky|Deck, The Gatsby, and District Square. There is truly a venue for every interest, but my personal favorites were Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill and The Gatsby. Each venue is distinctly different, making it feel like you’ve been transported somewhere other than the charming city of Kalamazoo.
When we arrived, we first went upstairs to The Gatsby. This chic nightclub feels much more like an exclusive dance club you’d find in a large city along the East Coast. The small dance floor is the kind of place you’d certainly be able to put on a show if you love to dance. The massive bar takes up most of the lounge area, enticing you to quench your thirst with one of their signature cocktails. Unfortunately we visited The Gatsby on a slow night, so we decided to head back down to Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill to find a larger crowd.
After ordering a Berry Splash cocktail, we settled into bar stools with a prominent view of the performers. Monaco Bay Piano Bar and Grill’s atmosphere feels like you just stumbled upon a tropical hideaway while on vacation, with surprisingly good food and great entertainment only locals really know about. Although the songs are by request, my favorite songs were the Motown hits the performers chose between requests.
The performers put their own spin on each song to make it even more inclusive and entertaining. I even got to cross off one of the more trivial dreams on my bucket list by leading the whole bar in singing “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John. By the end of the night, I felt like I knew mostly everyone in that bar because of how many songs we sang and dances we took part in together as a group. Besides the vocal talents of each performer, they were also equally just as comically talented. Ranging from innocent to crude humor, we all couldn’t stop laughing throughout each performers set.
After visiting The Entertainment District, we were pleasantly surprised by the little world they’ve created in their venues. Personally, even though I’ve just come into my prime years of being able to go out and enjoy being a part of the nightlife scene, I’m much more attuned to being a homebody. However, I truly enjoyed The Entertainment District because of the diverse settings. Anyone who visits will likely be able to find enjoyment at one of these unique venues.
What is your favorite venue at The Entertainment District? If I didn’t visit it during #MittenTrip I’ll be sure to stop by the next time I’m back in Kalamazoo!