LUDINGTON — Craft beer fans visiting this vacation hotspot on the shore of Lake Michigan now have further reason to rejoice.
As the name implies, The Mitten Bar specializes in a wide variety of libations specifically from the state of Michigan. Featuring multiple rotating Michigan beer taps, as well as an equally impressive number of Michigan craft bottles, cans, wine and spirits, one can easily understand why this place was named the No. 16 beer bar in America by Food & Wine Magazine.
Located in the heart of downtown Ludington, the Mitten Bar is situated alongside the Sportsman’s Irish Pub on Ludington Avenue. Enter through the old wooden door and the atmosphere entices you to sit down and make an evening of it.
Luckily, a number of different seating options are offered — ranging from the bar, to high-top tables for two, to stools situated around oak barrels. Couple this with the century-old architecture, exposed-brick walls and light fixtures made from Michigan growlers, and the Mitten Bar has created a very cool vibe.
The back wall features a large, antique barn-style door that opens to the Irish Pub, so you can use the restrooms. Pub patrons can enter the bar and order drinks if desired, and many took advantage of the opportunity before returning to the pub for dinner.
The ‘Mitten doesn’t have a separate kitchen at present, however some food is offered. The choices during my visit included pre-made sandwiches, soft pretzels and Mexicali dip from a local market, made using Michigan ingredients. If you’d like a souvenir from your visit, you can also buy t-shirts and bumper stickers encouraging folks to “Buy Local.”
Not sure what constitutes an IPA? Unsure whether you’ll like that Belgian? The friendly and knowledgeable bar staff will be happy to help. My wife and I stopped in on a rather busy Saturday evening, and our bartender Ryan was very engaging and never hesitated to answer any of our questions.
It was also apparent The Mitten Bar is successfully fostering a solid relationship with the locals, many of whom are on a first-name basis. Judging by the full shelf of unique clay beer mugs, there was definite demand in Mug Club memberships.
Whether you’ve already got a trip planned to Ludington, or you’re looking for an excuse to schedule one, the Mitten Bar ranks as a destination you must visit while in town. The beers, staff and décor all culminate to form a really unique establishment whose ranking among the best in America is most certainly deserved.