If you venture out for an afternoon’s drive in Northern Michigan, the adventure is well worth the effort if you point your truck to one of the many local bars and restaurants that serve local flavor, as well as local color.
When driving along the Leelanau Peninsula, a sure thing is Dick’s Pour House in Lake Leelanau. Opened at the end of the Great Depression, Dick’s features great perch, a Northern Michigan summer staple, along with a full selection of other great food, including a hefty 1/3 pound burgers and great onion rings.
If I am heading north, I like to stop in at the Keyhole Bar in Mackinaw City, where the key theme is evident, with hundreds of old keys in shapes both recognizable and new that decorate both the bar and walls. I recommend the perch, the whitefish, or the wraps, the steak and swiss wrap is a favorite of mine.
Over towards Indian River, a great choice is The Brass Rail, where the beer is cold, the burgers are tasty, and Bloody Marys go down easy, but the ping-pong is the real draw. The ping-pong balls and paddles are free, but the lights in the game room, ringed by mesh to keep the balls from flying everywhere, require coins. The jingle in your pocket is well worth the entertainment value.
Around Petoskey, where there is no shortage of good places to eat and drink, a local favorite is still Don’s Bar, mostly because of it’s old school vibe, due to their ignored pressures to upgrade. Unchanged in all the years I have been frequenting, Don’s offers tabletop shuffleboard and pool to go along with a cold beer and good times. The beer is cold, and there is fun to be had, but if your hungry, keep in mind Don’s only serves up chips and pretzels.
So when you get a chance to resurrect the classic American road trip, whether your journey points you to a pool table, some ping-pong, a good burger or cold drinks, Northern Michigan has you covered, wherever the road may lead. Enjoy the ride.