Bloody Mary Tour Stops #6 &7
By Lydia on October 29, 2008 5:56 PM| | Comments (0)
Anchor Bar

Lower Bridge Street, on the West Side just West of 131, may be one of the more annoying bar streets in Grand Rapids. In just one block lie both O'Tooles and Montes, douchebag bars of great note. On weekends popped collared dude-bros and cold-looking women spill onto the streets in a obvious effort to mate without regret, lubricating the enterprise with faux-microbrews and well cosmopolitans.

Blue Moon swigging hoopleheads aside, one of my favorite bars sits just across the street, in a cavern-like space with tiny booths and a really fetching mermaid painting behind the bar. Yes, my friends, I speak of the Anchor. Where else could my moped-riding Navy cohorts and I feel so at home in our Sperry Topsiders? Where are happy hour drinks just $2? Where can you find such delicious free bar popcorn for the munching? And where besides the Anchor is Grand Rapids best Bloody Mary thus far? Nowhere!!

Anchor Marys start with pint glasses, ice and vodka, duh, but then the bartender got out a large plastic bar bottle filled with a reddish substance just faintly labeled "MIX." That went into our glasses along with olives and pickles and was given a quick shake with the top of a cocktail shaker. The shaking was a lovely touch, and I wondered why it is so rarely seen. I had to do no tiresome prodding at at my drink with a wet pickle, and everything was nicely homogenized. Questioning the bartender we found out that the MIX was a base of Zing Zang, doctored to a secret recipe. Upon sipping my companions and I quickly decided that these were the best bloody marys had in recent memory. They were nicely spicy and full bodied, with a tang and a bite. Halfway through I got that lovely all-over warming sensation that relaxes stressed muscles and releases that sense of peace and communion with one's fellow man. Not least, the pickle was a near-perfect specimen, not flaccid like many garnishes. With marys at $4 each, the Anchor  going to be pretty hard to beat.


Eastown staple Mulligan's neccesitated a visit, so I sucked it up and visited the Land of Concrete, Brick and Unfortunate Teenagers. I dislike Mulligan's, mostly because of its pervasive smell of vomit, but on the day in question it was nearly pleasent, bright and quiet, with cartoons to watch and only 4 bar patrons. People in bars at 4 o'clock are less offensive than their midnight counterparts. They are quieter and keep to themselves. They are there for the alcohol, not the scene, and they couldn't care less that you and your friend are having an uncomfortably personal conversation across the bar. Also, you and your drink have the bartender's full attention, as they are bored, and your dollar tip is most likely a quarter of their hourly pay.

The drink itself was wholly passable. Yes, it had a bit too much dill sauce for my liking, but overall it was fairly well balanced and it had a familiar kind of flavor. I feel like this is the bloody mary you would get at any professional, practiced, utilitarian bar in the country. The $4 price tag seemed fair here, not a steal like at the Triangle, but not a rip-off like Graydons.

On A Side Note
I didn't ever know Ben well, but I liked him, and I feel sick knowing another kind, creative, special person has been taken from us. I hope you who were close to him are doing ok, and my heart hurts for his family. Please let's be careful in and out of our cars and hope this stops happening.