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The Sugar Bowl Bar & Grille

March 8, 2022

  • 904 Washington Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 385-6202
  • Website
  • Menu

I’ve been writing this blog for about 13 years now and there are still some long time places in Kalamazoo I haven’t been to yet.

I’ve had a list of dive bars for quite a while but those are usually places I go by myself. I don’t eat out much on my own anymore so those places keep getting pushed to the back burner.

J was out of town for a conference last week and I had to take a couple days off of work so I’d be home in time to get the kids from their afterschool program. My plan was to get some tasks around the house done since it’d be quiet but things don’t always go as planned.

I wasn’t sleeping well for some reason last week so after I got the kids to school in the morning, I went back to bed.

Thursday I woke back up just before noon. I sat on the couch for a while debating on whether I should leave for lunch and run a few errands or just be lazy and put on Netflix.

I finally convinced myself this was a good chance to get to some place I’ve been wanting to go by myself.

I got in my truck and headed to the east side of Kalamazoo. The Sugar Bowl Bar & Grill on Washington Avenue just past Portage Street was my destination. The small dive bar has been a neighborhood staple in the Edison Neighborhood for decades. The building isn’t much to look at. It’s a windowless brick building with an 80’s style sign hanging from a metal pole off the side of the roof.

There are three entrances to the bar. It just depends on where you park. There’s an entrance on the street side. There’s an entrance on the side of the building. There’s an entrance in back where the parking lot is. I went through the side entrance and came in to a quintessential dive bar with pool tables, dart boards, a juke box, cheap laminate tables and a cast of characters that all knew each other.

I sat down at the bar where the bartender asked me right away what I wanted to drink. I picked a Two Hearted thinking that was a safe bet in a bar where everyone else was drinking the cheapest beers imaginable. When she brought it over she asked if I wanted to pay now or start a tab. I asked about food before I paid. She asked what I wanted. I kind of stumbled and then she realized I was a newbie and fetched a menu.

There’s not much on the menu but that doesn’t matter. It’s basically things you can cook on a flat top and things you can deep fry. The kitchen is tiny. It’s part of the bar actually. The bartender was the only one working so she was going back and forth between cooking my meal and running lottery tickets.

I had just read recently how much people like The Sugar Bowl’s burgers so that’s what drew me in. I don’t expect fancy, gourmet burgers from places like this but dive bars do usually have the best cheap burgers. I picked the Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of fries.

Everything about this basket is what I love about places like The Sugar Bowl. The burger actually looked and felt like it was fresh meat. It was cooked really juicy with some crispy bacon and melty, gooey American cheese on top. The bun was soft on the top but had a nice toast to hit. The fries were really simple frozen crinkle cut fries…the kind that’s really good with a lot of salt. The bartender brought me some ketchup but I probably should have asked for some mustard. These are mustard fries.

The total for my meal and the beer was just over $13. I had cash with me just in case it was cash only but they do take credit and debit cards so I just paid that way.

The Sugar Bowl is a cool place if you like these kind of bars. I felt a little out of place because, literally, everyone knew everyone else. There were loud conversations happening across the bar from the time I walked in until the time I left. The food isn’t fancy but it is delicious. The Sugar Bowl is a great place to grab a beer and a burger after work.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lanae permalink
    March 8, 2022 6:06 pm

    Just 1 thing… the sugar bowl is on the southside

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      March 21, 2022 9:52 pm

      I guess it depends on where you consider “southside” to begin. I’ve always considered Edison to be more east side of Kalamazoo. I think of southside to start closer to Cork.

  2. Linda Esman permalink
    March 9, 2022 7:18 pm

    Sugar Bowl is my favorite bar .they have?Karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.love the food and yes the Burgers are awesome.glad you liked sugar bowl.

    • Linda Esman permalink
      March 9, 2022 7:20 pm

      Oops that question mark don’t belong on that first comment of mine .

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