May 19, 2016

Stober’s in Lansing, Michigan

  • More: Historic Bars
  • By: Dedria H. Barker
  • Photography: Stober's Bar

For a bar that did not serve hard liquor until 1947, the pours are generous at Stober’s, the oldest bar in Michigan’s state capital city of Lansing.

Operating as a bar since December 1933, right after the repeal of Prohibition, Stober’s is a blend of the old, the edgy and the mythical. Somewhere inside are remnants of the hardware store that first occupied the space when the building opened in 1925. Perhaps it’s the roofing tiles on an eave over one of the two shuffleboards from the 1940s. Other eras still at work are the 1950s-style red leather banquettes, and the 1970s mirrored ceiling disco bar.

Rudolph Stober, the last in the long line of German owners, bought the bar in 1963 and gave it his name. It had been The Deluxe Restaurant, and then The German Village. With the outbreak of WWII, the name changed to The Rustic Village.

In 1992, Stober installed a massive mahogany back-bar. The mesmerizing centerpiece is a King Arthur’s Round Table-sized stained glass portrait of Merlin the Magician. Pewter-colored griffins guard either end of the bar, claws out. Nearly invisible in a back corner, near the women’s restroom, a third griffin crouches. The back-bar accounts for Stober’s christening as Lansing’s “coolest” bar.

Stober's Bar

Stober's mahogany back-bar is known for its spectular stained glass rendition of Merlin the Magician.

Patrons at Stober's Bar

As the oldest bar in the state of Michigan, Stober's has attracted several generations of thirsty patrons.

When Stober died in 1996, the bar passed to his daughter, Linda. She sold it after a decade, but the family’s name remains. Regulars—baby boomers and neighborhood hipsters alike—congregate with local moviemakers under the red street canopy. Within view is the dome of the state Capitol building, which was renovated and repainted in 2015.

There is no kitchen, but ask the bartender for Stober’s Bar Menu Options, a collection of menus from nearby restaurants delivering to the bar.

Location: 812 E. Michigan Avenue, Lansing, Michigan, 48912

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Noon to 2 a.m. Sunday.

You’re having: The onion rings from Moriarty’s Pub two doors down and a Jameson shooter.

Best Yelp Review: “A must if you’re in the area.” –Friedrich S.

By: Dedria H. Barker

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