Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Cafe and Beergarden

355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI, 49007, United States
(269) 382-2332
Latitude: 42.29520, Longitude: -85.57869

website

  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Wifi Available
Cask Beer
Indoor Smoking
Available Parking
Beer Pricing: $$
Public Transit
Proper Glassware
Outdoor Seating
Family Friendly
Selection: 4.50 | Atmosphere: 4.40 | Service: 4.19 | Food: 4.00
87.2
out of 100
Overall Beer Mapping Score
Based on 12 reviews.
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miori1230 (215)
Monday 9th of March 2015 06:22:51 PM
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When planning my trip through Michigan, Bell's was obviously designated as a must stop. I haven't had many of their beers in the past, but the few I have had made me want to try more.

The place was fairly packed on a Thursday night, but it wasn't too hard to find a small table. There aren't servers,at the tables though, so you have to order your food at the window by the bar and go pick it up when it's ready.

While they have very good beer, and I'm glad I visited, the overall experience didn't meet my admittedly lofty expectations. I actually preferred nearby Arcadia by a nose, but you can't go wrong with either.
Selection: 4.75 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.0
90.0
Overall

beerwolf77 (34)
Tuesday 26th of April 2011 03:16:16 PM
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On our way to the Winter beer fest in GR we stopped at all the pertinent places. This was our first stop.

Pretty much had the usual brew pub setting. Huge open space. Moderately sized bar. Small seating area in front of the bar and a balcony wiht more tables. A fairly large stage for such a small place but I like it loud so I wouldn't complain.

All the usual Bell's suspects were on tap. Along with some special pub only offerings. I opted for one of the latter. My stout was served ice cold and poured all the way to the top of the glass. Allowing for no head and some serious hand warming.

The food looked decent from what I saw but we didn't eat so I can't comment on it.

Overall a bit underwhelming considering the legendary status of the brewery. Nice place but I wouldn't make it a must stop on my next journey out there.

Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4 | Food: N/A
80.0
Overall

BeerDude (10)
Wednesday 13th of April 2011 05:05:04 PM
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Great place to stop by for a pint or two. Beautiful brick and oak interior with patio seating.

No wait staff except the bar tenders. That was fine for a Tuesday night since it wasn't crowded and we didn't have to wait in line. The bartenders were very friendly and knowledgeable about their beers.

The sampler was a good deal and nothing was excluded from the beer menu. All the beers were very well brewed, though a couple were not to the described style.

If you're in the area, it is definitely worth the stop.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4 | Food: N/A
83.3
Overall
Thursday 2nd of September 2010 08:20:51 AM
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Very glad I stopped for a pint. First off the inside of the building is a beautiful old brick and wood building. They are currently going through some remodeling, mostly outdoors, but it should be finished by November of 2010.

As said in some of the other reviews, there is now wait staff except for bartenders. I found the bartenders knowledge very high and their friendliness about average. From reading the other reviews I choose to sit at the bar in order to not have to wait or fight to get a refill. The bartender was quick on my empty glass every time.

The beer was very good. I have always enjoyed Bell's, but never went out of my way to get it. They had about 10-12 beers on tap that included a nice variety of flavors. I personally enjoyed the Two Hearted Ale the most.

They also had a nice gift/home brew store on the other side of the building. Good selection of collectibles as well as a small home brew supply.
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 4.5 | Food: N/A
88.3
Overall

jhull (3)
Wednesday 1st of September 2010 02:19:41 AM
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Bell's doesn't disappoint. The taproom is aptly named as it melds a quirky, yet cool atmosphere with a knowledgeable staff, unique yet tasty upper-tier sandwich options, and exquisite beer.

The tap sampler is extremely affordable and come in six, six ounce glasses. Nothing, at least the day we went, was excluded from the beer board. While all of their beers were great, Hopslam stole the show. One really must consume this beer to believe how drinkable and smooth it is at 10+% abv.

As with any bar in Michigan, smoking is major problem as one must leave one's beer unattended to enjoy a pipe, cigar or cigarette.
Selection: 5 | Atmosphere: 5 | Service: 5 | Food: 4.5
100.0
Overall

decoman (58)
Sunday 7th of March 2010 08:59:08 PM
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I had been to bell's cafe many many years ago prolly sometime in the late 90's I had not been back till a few weeks ago and it was long over due.

I had some great bison tacos which were one of the many great specials of he day. Still the same order your food at the little window. Bar is small but plenty of tables. A lot of great bell's beers on tap but some of the pub only only's were a Honey Mead, Belgian pale, and a great Raspberry Wild One. They also put batch 9000 on tap right before I was to leave so I couldn't resist to stay for one :)

The bar tender was generous with the samples and knew her stuff...

Stop by while in KZoo or passing thru great little spot for lunch, the general store has homebrew supplies and many Bell's items for sale.. plus coolers full of Bells beers for sale.

Cheers
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 4 | Food: 4.25
83.3
Overall

dzouras (49)
Wednesday 30th of December 2009 11:08:45 AM
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Arrived at Bell's Eccentric Cafe on a Tuesday afternoon. The parking lot was small and hidden, but luckily the other reviews warned me of this.

The atmosphere was very casual and I liked all the wood and artsy stuff on the walls. The stained glass windows were impressive as well.

We were lucky enough to find a table. Although it wasn't very busy, there simply weren't that many places to sit. I soon realized that this was a completely "self" service bar. I don't mean that you had to pour your own beer, but damn near it. In order to get a beer, everyone had to line up at one end of the bar. You order your beer and pay for it immediately. Bells does not take credit cards and they will not let you run a tab. I personally hate dealing with making change and tipping for each drink.

The beer selection was impressive. There were 14 beers on tap and I worked my way through at least half of them. My favorites were the Belgian and the porter. The Christmas ale was also tasty. I liked the fact that I could get 12oz pours too. This gave me a decent sized beer, but let me try more variety.

The food service was just as awkward as the beer. You have to go to a separate window and order the food. They give you a paper with the order and then you have to go and stand in line at the bar to pay. This is a good time to order a beer as well, so you don't have to do it later. Once you pay for the food, they give you a "pager" to take back to your table. It buzzes when the food is ready. The black bean burger and the bison burger were tasty once we got them.
If you want some water with your food or beer, then it is self serve from a 5 gallon thermos at the back of the bar.

Overall, I would recommend this place for the beer. It was just as I would expect from Bells. Unfortunately, I just didn't have a good time at this bar. If I was in town again, I would probably stop in, but I wouldn't go out of my way to travel to Kalamazoo for Bells.

(If you do come to Kalamazoo, be sure to stay at the Kalamazoo House bed & breakfast. It beats any hotel I have stayed at.)

Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 3.5 | Food: 4.0
81.7
Overall

marcobrau (11)
Thursday 13th of November 2008 11:28:35 PM
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I agree with frazbri that the Eccentric Cafe is a shrine to good beer. Bell's always has interesting beer on top at the Eccentric. I had lunch here (I always seem to have lunch here) and my curried chicken salad sandwich was great. I sipped a sampler along with a friend. The sampler included some interesting beers that aren't available in bottles including everything from a cherry wheat to smoked stout. The Kalamazoo Porter was the special at $2 a pint. I could have camped out all day at the Eccentric, but I had other places I wanted to be (like Jolly Pumpkin in Dexter, but that's another story.) I absolutely love the decor at the Eccentric; the very old maps, the custom stained glass, the seemingly random flags and bric-a-brac along with the large painted wooden sign; Kalamazoo Brewing Company....the Beer is Flowing.

Indeed it is and long shall it flow.
Selection: 5 | Atmosphere: 4.5 | Service: 4.25 | Food: N/A
91.7
Overall
Sunday 13th of April 2008 09:36:11 PM
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Bells is one of my favorite breweries of all time. I fell in love with Two Hearted Ale and Oberon on my first of many trips to Kalamazoo over the last 4 years. I have since had to grease many palms to have fresh bells beer sent to me in Texas to satisfy my needs.

The Café and beer garden are nice and they usually have most of the styles available on tap as well as the occasional "something fun”. I’ve been here in both the winter and summer and never have I found it void of consumers. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. The store across the parking lot has an assortment of beers by the bottle for purchase as well as merchandise and homebrewing supplies.
Selection: 5 | Atmosphere: 4.75 | Service: 4.5 | Food: N/A
95.0
Overall

frazbri (78)
Thursday 5th of July 2007 04:58:38 PM
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Bell's Eccentric Cafe is a shrine to craft beer. It also lives up to it's name. There's a neo-hippy, art student feel to the place. The art on the wall must have a story to tell, but it's hard to guess what that story could be, but that's part of the charm.

Expect to find most of the Bell's regular line-up on tap, with the occasional pub only beer. Last visit they had a nice bitter. The pricing is very reasonable, with the occasional bargain offering.

Sit back, relax, and have a few pints. It's a good place to drink.
Selection: 4 | Atmosphere: 4 | Service: 3.75 | Food: N/A
78.3
Overall

hugbee (75)
Sunday 24th of June 2007 02:36:45 AM
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I remember the last time I went into bells eccentric cafe and I always reflect on my next visit what's new on the walls and art in general around the cafe.... vibe is everything.... hot dog eating contest in aug 07... fyi...

beer selection was summery, which is good as it's summer.... I went with the pub exclusive bitter (12 oz), because what's the point of going to the cafe if you're gonna drink what's available to you (with a drive of course) and then the third coast "pale" ale.... that threw me for a wtf? is that wrong.... tried it and it wasn't, was quite quaffable.... the K-zoo stout n porter were as dark as the board got with the pale, oberon, two hearted, (amber was out) and handful of other tasty treats that were lighter for the summer crowd. no growlers tho, but that's what the store is for..

Atomsphere is a "5" at the cafe every day of the year... All the art in there is a contradiction to each other but as a whole it makes for a really nice mental buffet of "what's that" art pieces, make the place just awesome. The bar itself, in my opinion, is where to sit, tho if you like chess, the tables over where the band, when inside, usually sets up.... I've never sat up in the balcony at bells because I'm clumsy and might fall down the stairs getting my 10th beer, but one day, I may go up there.. At some point you'll turn around (from the bar vantage) and stare at the large fish in the tank.... (edit paranoid rant.... but just know it's staring back)

Then there's the garden.... there was a reggae concert that night out back... didn't stay as this was my 3rd stop of a long ass day of a long ass weekend.... but I love the back biergarten, it's big and spacious and wonderful to be in... if there woulda been nothing going on sunday I'da crashed went to the show, and drank fine beer till I passed out.... be sure to gaze a bit at the benches and the trellace and the stage and , hell just sit in the grass or on a bench and take in the day as you realize how good a beer can be in a place made for it...

The last part of the Tri-fecta that is atomsphere is the store... they had a new beer at the store, amber packaged for a hotel up in mackinac island "big porch" they call it... something new... dude in the store said the 8k should roll in a month..... woohoo, reasons to return. This is one of my top 10 places I've been to with a swag selection this big.... Bells has many styles, for the ladies as well... there's a bells purse there now as well... (not kidding)

service was good as everybody was out back and I was at the bar for a few pints.... wasn't wanting for anything... so good service...

no food this trip.

the amtrak rolls right into town for the public transpo check.

things close and worthwhile are shakespeares, (short's beer on tap) kraftbrau (for bells contrast) and Tiffany's (very cool low key store, do not miss)
Selection: 4.25 | Atmosphere: 5 | Service: 3.75 | Food: N/A
86.7
Overall

beerinator (131)
Sunday 11th of March 2007 06:15:21 PM
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First off... Finding the entry door is not easy. The signs are all facing Kalamazoo Ave. But those are the signs for the building, not for the Eccentric Cafe. Underneath those signs appear to be the Bell's Brewery offices. You can't eat in there... Go around the back onto Porter Street to find a parking lot and the entrance to both the General Store and the Eccentric Cafe. Neither entrance is marked very well (especially in the dark!).

I was prepared for "locals only" type of service here after reading a lot of reviews on the internet. And I was totally suprised when I received great bar and food service. Each pint came quickly, even though the place was slightly crowded. The bartenders were helpful and even provided us a sample of the Cyser and answered a few questions about it when we asked.

There are 12 taps, all full of juicy Bell's products (they have even more taps available during events like Eccentric Day). You have to enjoy a place that's offering you $3 to $3.50 Imperial Pints of Kalamazoo (the locals say "kay-zoo"), Two Hearted and Java Stout! Mmmm.

The food was good. I had the Ostrich Burger (tastes like buffalo!) and my wife had the Cobb Salad. Both were tasty, next time I'm trying the Rabbit and Rattlesnake Sausage Kabobs. Don't worry they still have regular cheese burgers and normal type fare, but it's nice to see interesting/eccentric offerings in a beer joint.

Service was great, selection was great, prices were great and the atmosphere is casual. Oh, and no smoke! You have to love leaving a place like this satisfied and smelling like the beer you drooled down your chin rather than the smoke from the guy sitting down the bar.

Eccentric Cafe, I'll be back.
Selection: 4.5 | Atmosphere: 4.25 | Service: 4.5 | Food: 4.5
88.3
Overall
General view of Bell's Eccentric Cafe
General view of Bell's Eccentric Cafe
Image credit: dzouras
Uploaded: February 14, 2010 12:01 PM
Bell's beers on tap
Bell's beers on tap
Image credit: dzouras
Uploaded: February 14, 2010 12:00 PM
This non-descript door is the entrance to Bell's Eccentric Cafe
This non-descript door is the entrance to Bell's Eccentric Cafe
Image credit: dzouras
Uploaded: February 14, 2010 12:00 PM
An Old Kalamazoo Brewing Mural
An Old Kalamazoo Brewing Mural
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: April 21, 2008 07:49 AM
Another addition to the wall signs
Another addition to the wall signs
Image credit: beerinator
Uploaded: March 1, 2008 11:35 AM

Image credit: hoppedup
Uploaded: June 9, 2007 12:56 PM
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