With many indoor dining restrictions lifted in 2020, restaurants and bars have started to see business return after pandemic limitations in 2021.
One measure is the amount of liquor establishments with liquor licenses purchased from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
While beer and wine are sold through a few distributors, spirits – whiskey, gin, vodka, etc. – are all sold only through the Liquor Control Commission. Each year, the commission releases reports showing how many bars, restaurants, stores, and others are licensed to sell state-ordered alcoholic beverages. The report gives a dollar amount for each company and not a breakdown of what was ordered. It also does not include beer or wine orders because the state is not a wholesaler of these beverages. Additionally, the amounts do not match the amount the companies collected from customers during sales and could include inventory ordered in 2021 but not sold until 2022.
Stores are by far the top source for those enjoying a drink 21 or older – Super Liquor III in Adrian led all stores in Lenawee County with $1,057,681.80 in state orders in 2021. But sometimes people want a bartender to serve them a cocktail and in 2021, these are the top 10 places people have barged in in Lenawee County:
1. Chaloner Cigar House, Adrian
2021 orders: $95,455.62
2020 orders: $57,082.04
2019 orders: $100,689.13
Fine cigars, old-fashioned candies and bags of fresh popcorn have been part of Chaloner’s Cigar House and Store business model for over 100 years. High-quality, handcrafted cocktails that you simply can’t enjoy elsewhere are also part of this successful business model, which continues to establish Chaloner’s as a destination location in downtown Adrian and throughout Lenawee County.
“We strive to have the best variety of liquors, spirits, wines and beers and strive to be the best,” said Joelyn Roberts, Bar Manager at The Chaloner. “We serve the best bourbon, rum, scotch and tequila. It is this product that you cannot find anywhere. Here, people are looking to spend money on certain bottles that they can’t find anywhere else.
Chaloner’s customer base is quite loyal, Roberts said, and thanks to their patronage, Adrian’s historic business was able to rebound last year from COVID-19 mandates and limitations on restaurants and gathering places.
“Since COVID, we have picked up, perhaps doubling our number of customers. Our volume is just awesome,” Robert said. “We have clients (here) from all over the state. Our regular customers keep us afloat. We really appreciate the city’s support.
2. Lenawee Recreation, Adrian
2021 orders: $48,052.83
2020 orders: $24,795.04
2019 orders: $30,849.64
Home to a 24-lane bowling alley and ZZ’s Sports Bar and Grill, Lenawee Recreation Center is also home to Second Arrow Pro Shop, a full-service pro shop where guests can meet all their bowling and entertainment needs. ‘equipment.
The center is also the home bowling alley of local Lenawee County high school bowling teams, including Adrian, Madison, and Sand Creek, as well as the bowling teams of Adrian College and Siena Heights University.
There’s a bit of something for everyone to enjoy at the Lenawee Recreation Center, and for adults, that includes its selection of spirits, too.
ZZ’s Sports Bar and Grill offers a full bar featuring various types of liquor with “premium cocktails prepared by our talented bartenders,” according to information posted at www.lenaweerecreation517.com.
“Eat, drink and watch sports at Adrian’s first sports bar, ZZ’s Sports Bar and Grill,” enthuses the website. “We offer large flat screen TVs throughout our bar, Keno, great space for small or large parties and our food and drink menu is top notch.”
3. Fiesta Ranchera, Adrian
2021 orders: $44,574.50
2020 orders: $25,731.49
2019 orders: $51,636.08
If you want to treat yourself to a tasty locally made margarita, look no further than Mexican restaurant Fiesta Ranchera.
Margaritas and Mexican cuisine are an almost perfect marriage of food and drink and it seems the current system at Fiesta Ranchera is pleasing its customers.
“COVID has been a pretty good blow to our sales,” manager Luis Vega said. “The community came out to support us however they could, and we couldn’t do take-out alcohol (during the pandemic shutdowns). We could make blank drinks, if customers requested. He took a good hit. Our sales have plummeted.
Luckily for Fiesta Ranchera, its clientele has supported the business as best they could, and the support continues today as COVID-19 warrants begin to run out. The restaurant is almost back to normal serving customers and celebrating with big birthday parties.
Margaritas can also be quite large.
Margarita sizes are available in 12, 16 or 27 ounce glasses, or customers can order half pitchers or full pitchers of margaritas in a variety of flavors including traditional lime, strawberry, peach, mango and walnut of coconut. Any variety of flavors can also be mixed together, Vega said.
“Fortunately, we have a good community here at Adrian. They are good for us and we are good for them,” Vega said. “Everyone get out now, if they can.”
4. Taverne des deux lacs, Manitou beach
2021 orders: $44,383.32
2020 orders: $23,021.11
2019 orders: $22,575.25
Two Lakes Tavern in Manitou Beach wasn’t even open for an entire year of business before sweeping state-imposed regulations to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, impacting bars and restaurants nationwide.
Owner Misty Robertson referred to the pandemic shutdown with one word: “Stressful.”
“We have tried to stay open as much as possible during COVID for our neighbors,” Robertson said. “The people who come here are our family and our friends. We are here for the long term.
Just about any variety of liquor you could think of is available at Two Lakes Tavern. Robertson, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, said she owes the success of the tavern bar to bar manager Rachel Beach, who is responsible for preparing daily drink specials. Beach, Robertson said, has an idea of what customers like to drink.
Live music, entertainment and karaoke create a fun atmosphere at the tavern. During the summer lake season, lake goers and tourists are almost regulars.
“I have a great team of employees who want to work hard and be successful,” Robertson said.
Two Lakes Tavern rebranded under Robertson’s ownership. The rebranding phase included the addition of an expanded beverage menu and well-known items such as its smoked pork and freshly made burgers.
5. Brooklyn Moose Lodge, Onsted
2021 orders: $41,502.63
2020 orders: $27,856.28
2019 orders: $39,948.59
Located between Evans and Sand lakes on US 12 is the Brooklyn Moose Lodge, a private fraternal organization. Ranking so high on this list came as a surprise to former Governor Phil Gilliam.
“I can’t believe we competed with County, being a private club,” he said.
Membership costs $70 for the first year, then $50 per year to renew, Gilliam said. The lodge supports charitable causes like Moose International’s Mooseheart, a residential day care center near Chicago for children whose families cannot care for them, and Moosehaven, a seniors’ community in Florida.
Maintaining a family atmosphere and being close to Irish hill lakes helps the lodge’s bar and restaurant stay busy, Gilliam said. In the summer they have live music and cornhole on the terrace. They were able to add seats this year and people came back to the lodge.
“We are grateful for our members,” Gilliam said.
6. Artesian Wells Sports Tavern, Cement City
2021 orders: $39,615.02
2020 orders: $26,935.32
2019 orders: $40,716.14
7. Jerry’s Pub & Restaurant, Brooklyn
2021 orders: $38,836.73
2020 orders: $20,891.52
2019 orders: $41,725.73
8. Applebee’s, Adrian
2021 orders: $36,458.07
2020 orders: $27,160.29
2019 orders: $39,924.98
9. Muk Sports Pub, Tecumseh
2021 orders: $30,959.99
2020 orders: $18,682.12
2019 orders: $31,235.36
10. Brick Wall Pub & Grill, Adrian
2021 orders: $24,599.72
2020 orders: $20,668.40
2019 orders: $32,193.80