Kalamazoo Gay Bars and Nightlife Guide

Monaco Bay, Kalamazoo

Andrew Collins

Although the southwestern Michigan city of Kalamazoo (home to about 75,000 residents) doesn't have any dedicated full-time gay bars, there are a few hangouts around this city of about 75,000 that have a mixed following, drawing plenty of LGBT folks.

Eccentric Cafe

The most famous is the Eccentric Cafe (355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.), part of the increasingly renowned Bell's craft beer company - the cafe is right next to Bell's General Store. Bell's, which is a major sponsor of the Kalamazoo Gay Pride, held over a couple of days in mid-June each year. Bell's has earned acclaim for such stellar craft brews as Bell's Oberon Ale, Bell's Two Hearted Ale, and Hopslam Ale, to name but a few. The atmospheric cafe, which sometimes hosts live music and LGBT-related events, always carries about a dozen Bell's beers on tap - there's also a great food menu featuring snacks (pork tacos, chips and pico de gallo, Cobb salads) and more substantial fare, like pulled pork sandwiches and veggie burgers.

Food Dance

An excellent restaurant and bar specializing in locally sourced ingredients and creative, contemporary fare, Food Dance (401 E. Michigan Ave.) is a big supporter of Kalamazoo Gay Pride and a terrific option both for dining and drinking. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the kitchen turns out reliably delicious crab cakes, sesame-ginger salmon, vegetarian stuffed poblano peppers, burgers, and more, plus there's a full selection of craft beers from Michigan and sophisticated cocktails. This is a nice option for a date or one of the city's top farm-to-table experiences.

Other Hotspots

Other spots around town where you're likely to encounter some diversity as well as a very good food-and-drink experience include Black Owl Cafe (414 Walbridge St.), which serves the city's outstanding Kalamazoo Coffee Company artisan beans and is open from early in the morning until midafternoon; and the Crow's Nest (816 S. Westnedge Ave.), a funky restaurant that's famed for its breakfast fare, is open 24 hours on Saturdays. 

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