I originally reviewed Barley’s American Grill not long after moving to Lansing. At that time, I had no idea it would become our regular hangout. Both J and I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere, but we’re not really “go out for a beer” regulars. Every now and then it’s nice, but we’ve never really had a regular hangout. A few weeks after the initial review, J got a new co-worker and they decided Thursday night was going to be “Beer Thursday” after they got off work at 11:30. The closest bar to their place of employment is Barley’s American Grill and it’s on the way home for both of them, so that’s what they picked.
Barley’s American Grill is behind the Meijer on Miller Road. It’s a huge building with a good size dining room, a good size bar, and a huge gaming area with multiple pool tables and dart boards. We have our usual booth along the back wall and our usual waitress who doesn’t even come over to ask what we want anymore. Since it’s 11:30 at night, we usually don’t go for large food items, but we do get a couple appetizers.
The usual for us is a Blue Moon for J’s co-worker, a Bud Light draft for me, and a frozen strawberry Daiquiri for J. As for the appetizers, the girls almost always order the spinach-artichoke dip which comes with toasted bagels. The bagels are the best part. Instead of throwing some chips out of a bag with the dip, they thinly slice bagels, butter, and toast them. They’re delicious on their own. I’m not a fan of spinach or artichoke so I usually pass. If they have any bagles left over, I’ll try to steal one just to eat by itself.
The second appetizer varies, but for the most part, we get the mini tacos. Bite size taco shells are stuffed with meat and deep fried. It’s served with a homemade salsa and sour cream. I usually gobble these up in a few minutes. There’s nothing complex or unique about the mini tacos, but they’re great deep fried bar food.
Another option that we’ve taken advantage of in the past is the “Buy 10, Get 10″ chicken wings. I used to put down 20 wings on a regular basis at Buffalo Wild Wings, but haven’t tried at Barley’s. Usually, I order 10 hot and 10 BBQ. That way, J will help with the BBQ wings. Other than “B-Dubs,” these are some of the best wings I’ve had. I wish I would think about it and go there for dinner instead of waiting until almost midnight.
Going to the same place every Thursday has also allowed us to get to know the owner. Ed usually sees us come in and will come over and talk for a while. Last night, we noticed the place was pretty empty and Ed said that this has been a trend for the last couple of weeks. Barley’s is kind of a meeting point for the service hospitality in the south side of Lansing. They get a lot of employees and managers from the area restaurants. Finley’s, Applebees, Texas Road House, Los Tres Amigos, etc. all have a presence on this side of town and after they close up, they head to Barley’s for a beer. Ed was telling us that everyone is seeing a downturn and even “Black Wednesday” was a disappointment and nothing more than a normal night out at most places.
A friend of mine always told us that a good bar owner takes care of his/her customers and that’s what we get at Barley’s. Once a month or so, we’ll notice that not everything we ordered is on our bill. Sometimes our drinks are missing. Sometimes our food is missing. I’m not the kind of person that would stop visiting a bar because I don’t get something for free, but, at the same time, when we do get a little something, it also makes us feel appreciated as a customer and encourages us to take care of the staff as well.
Barley’s American Grill has become my favorite bar in Lansing. The food is good. They do as much home made as they can and it shows. The people are great. The atmosphere is great and I’m sure we made a good choice is a “regular” bar.