Their beer is AWESOME. We had 8 samplers; all were good; some were outstanding. Their swag is unique (címon, Oberon flip flops?). I heard good things about their food although my jerk chicken salad sucked. Service was stuffy. The beer garden is a great place to see a band (although we paid a $20 cover for the New Orleans jazz band we saw, more power to íem...they were GREAT!). All in all, itís hard to beat this as a place to go and have some really great beer.
I would love to tell you about the wonderful beers I drank at Bells the past few times I visited, but that experience has been overshadowed by a completely negative one.
I donít know how they find their staff, or who manages them, but I have never seen service this lazy and slow before in my life. And to top it off, every employee Iíve came in contact with had a MAJOR chip on their shoulder. Like they were doing me a favor by working there, or that I was lucky enough to visit the place. Unacceptable. This has turned me off of Bellís completely. Which isnít so bad considering Founders, New Holland, Darkhorse and many other breweries that want my business are all in the same relative area. Hell, I havenít tasted an Oberon I liked in over 5 years anyway!
Visited on a Saturday for lunch. Sort of a hard to find place (thanks, Garmin) and not much to look at on the outside, once inside it is a really cool place. Almost like a renovated church, as it was airy inside and had stained glass windows. We were able to order samplers of six of our own choosing, which was nice. Every beer I had with the exception of the mead was excellent. The food took awhile, but was really, really good (I had the blackbean burger which was outstanding). The garden area in the back was pretty unique and a nice place to hang out. The bartender was a really cool guy. If youíre looking for a nice laid back atmosphere with some great beers, this is the place for you.
It had a great ambiance and feel. A great hang out, have a great beer, and conversation place. Itís Bellís beer, so nothing but great beer and I finally got to try Expedition Stout. Great beer. The food was decent, but not much of a selection. Only down side was that itís an all cash place, so come prepaired.
A big disapointment. The place is nice, a bit run down and there was lots of construction going on, but fine. Very poor selection, they served nothng but Bellís, which is fine, but there was nothing there that I couldnt get at a bottle shop 1,000 miles away. I got served in a plastic cup, wtf? Not particularly cheap, service was slow, and the food was a poor selection of food that is not very good. I expected a lot, and was thorougly disapointed. New Holland and Founders are far far better selections in south-west Michigan.
sliffy (86) Columbus, Ohio | June 26, 2007| Updated April 13, 2008
Came in on a Wednesday night, and stood on line for 15 minutes to order a beer from the bar. Itís got a nice atmosphere, and the food is good, but itís off a very limited menu and the service really kinda sucked. Past that itís tough to go wrong in a place that serves nothing but Bellís beer, I was hoping to find Hopslam or some Expedition on tap, but I had to settle for a couple beers I hadnít had before and plenty of Two Hearted. So for consolation beers, it wasnít too bad. Overall I was a little disapointed, I love Bellís and wanted to love the Cafe, but it just seems like they could do so much better.
masonjer (15) Holt, Michigan | June 20, 2007| Updated July 5, 2007
Fist time I went here was in the winter, it was ok then. Just went back this summer, and hung out in the beer garden. Very nice. they also usually have around 10 beers on tap as well as bottles. Food is pretty good as well.
This is a great place to come and try some excellent beers. The bar has lots of cool decorations and very high ceilings. Some staind glass windows overlook the seating area. There is also a huge beer garden out back with lots of shade and picnic tables. The music being played was a good mix of reggae and rock. The service is kind of self serve. They have a window you walk up to order food. You get your own beer right from the bar. No wait staff. The beer selection was excellent. Pretty much anything Bells brews was available on tap along with plenty of bottled beers. Also some stuff that is only available at the Cafe.
What a great, eclectic group of K-Zoo locals that hang out here... we made more than a few new friends. The palce could have been hard to find but our cabbie knew exactly where to go. Metra and Greyhound are only a few blocks away as well.
We decided to sit out in the beer garden as we shared a cab with the family of one of the band members who was set to play there that evening. It was rather a rag-tag garden which turned out to be a nice venue, although the tap selection at the outdoor kiosk was rather limited. They have a really cool deco/lodge-style pagoda over the stage and the acoustics are pretty good when thereís not a train roaring past. The interior of the bar crowds the eyes with wood and brick and maps and masks, myriad tchotchkes and a nice fish tank, etc., etc...
And of course, thereís the beer. Let me tell you, I certainly got my fill of Third Coast off draught. Boy, did I. Cash only for bar and food, but thereís an ATM inside. Worth the stop. I meant to check out Kraftbrau right across the street, but I was having too good a time.
A little hard to find if youíve never been there; from Kalamazoo Ave, it looks like itís closed, but the entrance is behind, off of Porter St. Has a nice beer garden that would be nicer if the grass was watered more and cut. They happened to be watering the grass when we were there, so I moved a picnic table away from the water and the groundskeeper got after me a little bit for ripping the grass. The pub is nice, brick lined. They had a large selection of tap beer, but only one brew that I hadnít seen before in bottles. They also had a number of bottle beers available, including the Expedition. Thereís a merchandise store across the parking lot, including homebrewing ingredients and six packs for sale. Prices for the latter were quite reasonable. You could get mini-kegs of Oberon for $18.95. All in all, the operation seemed a little sloppy. Iíd like to see more special drafts and more money put into the beer garden. It really seems like itís an afterthought, and with a little TLC, they could make it a place to be in Kízoo. Still a must stop.
hopscotch (285) Vero Beach, Florida | May 29, 2007| Updated September 9, 2010
I havenít visited for a few years, but I remember the place well. Bare bones, warehouse type setup. Gift and brewing suppply shop across the parking lot from the main entrance to the pub. Always a great selection of beers as Bells has very few weak links in their line. I didnít eat anything, but the staff was friendly and knowledgeable. Maybe things have been spruced up a bit since my visit, but I donít recall the decor being anything other than generic. Gotta hit Bells when in Kalamazoo, though.