You can’t leave Kalamazoo  without stopping by the highly touted Bell’s Eccentric Café (355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 269/382-2332, www.bellsbeer.com , 11 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Wed., 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Thurs.–Sat., noon–midnight Sun., $3–7), part of Bell’s Brewery, formerly known as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company, a forerunner of the brewpub craze.
Owner Larry Bell’s more than 20 acclaimed brews, including Amber Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, and Cherry Stout, have won a loyal following in Chicago, where much of his output is sold. While you’re downing a few pints, nibble on some munchies in the smoke-free eatery. This appealing spot has board games scattered around the tables, table tennis, and live acoustic music on Friday and Saturday nights. In warm weather, casual crowds congregate on the outdoor “beer garden” patio.
Just a few minutes from downtown lies The Black Swan (3501 Greenleaf Blvd., 269/375-2105, www.millenniumrestaurants.com , 11:30 a.m.–close Mon.–Sat., 5–9 p.m. Sun., $20–34). This large, light-filled restaurant overlooks manicured grounds and a lovely fountain. The signature menu features specialties like pecan-crusted walleye, coconut shrimp, and wood-grilled pork and butternut squash ravioli in sage cream sauce.