Corey Montie saw a lot of things when he left Lansing in the late 1990s to work as a professional outdoor mountain guide in California. But he came back in 2015, bringing with him a strong vision for an out-of-the-box business to add dazzle to Lansing's growing nightlife.
In mid-April, Montie opened the doors to The Grid in a repurposed bank in Old Town. The combination bar and arcade features 40 beers on tap as well as nearly three dozen vintage video games and pinball machines.
"I've seen a lot of these places on the East and West Coasts, and in major city markets like Chicago, Denver and Columbus," says Montie. "They're always packed and hopping."
Montie worked with his business partner Callie Mykut to refurbish the insides of the 3,000-square foot former bank at 226 E. Grand River Ave. Three years ago, the historic, two-story brick structure with large arched windows was home to The Chrome Cat restaurant and bar. Since then, the property has sat vacant, waiting for concept.
Montie and Mykut oversaw much of the custom work to ready for the first floor for a bar and vintage game machines, and the second level for seating and conversation. Design and lighting pay homage to the arcade world of the '80s, and draw heavily on Mario and Pacman influences.
Customers get three free tokens for each drink purchased to play games from the golden age of arcade video like Frogger, Pacman and Donkey Kong. Pinball machines date from as far back as 1962, and makeup close to half of the games on the floor. Montie's friend Jesse Russell is a long-time collector of arcade and pinball machines, and jump started The Grid with machines from his collection.
"We're targeting a specific theme and going for the nostalgic element," says Montie. "It's a way to relive something that you haven't done in years, and playing an arcade or pinball game is a quick, fun and easy activity when you're out socializing with friends.
Montie believes The Grid is the first true arcade bar in Michigan, and hopes the venue becomes an iconic destination for people in and outside of Lansing. Although The Grid doesn't have a kitchen, plans are in the works to have a food truck or two park nearby on weekends.
The Grid was 12- to 15-months in the making and created 15 jobs. Half the beers on tap are Michigan craft beers. Selections will rotate to feature as many smaller breweries as possible.
Source: Corey Montie, Co-Owner, The Grid
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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