Unlock Lansing’s Music Scene

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Lansing’s favorite music venues

By February, the festivities of fall and the holiday season are long over and the dreariness of a freezing winter can begin to make students’ social lives a drag (literally, your friends might just have to drag you through the snow to get you to go out). ing Magazine has picked two of our favorite venues that will cure your winter blues: Mac’s Bar and The Avenue Café.

Tucked snugly between East Lansing and the Capitol, Mac’s Bar is a beloved venue for Lansing music lovers. From the first step onto the wooden stairs leading to the front door, you will admire art that is unique to Mac’s. With each wall, door, mirror and stall plastered in pictures, stickers and writing — Mac’s is like “no other place,” according to Scott Bell, assistant talent buyer and promoter for Lansing’s Fusion Shows. “I’ve seen my fair share of dive bars. Mac’s will outlast nuclear winter,” he said.

In the past, Mac’s Bar has hosted big names like Macklemore; however, it’s their local shows that steal the spotlight. Jenny Toms is the bassist and lead vocalist for Scary Women, a band that was born in Lansing. Toms believes that “the engineers, promoters and staff are devoted to providing a great venue for both local and national acts.”

Mac’s is known for its quality music shows, but it also casts comedy into the bright lights of its small stage. Sean Bonnette, singer in the band AJJ, hosted a comedy and acoustic night with local comedians. Mac’s also has free comedy every Monday night. The bar has created a fun, but cozy atmosphere and their patrons never leave disappointed.

Just down the road from Mac’s, one can always expect a unique experience at The Avenue Café. Beneath the twinkling Christmas lights, the ground floor is home to the bar and a stage in the corner. If no one is performing, you can hear dishes clanking in the kitchen, which is rumored to serve the best veggie burger in town. On both floors of The Avenue, you’ll want to be loaded with coins; you can play pool, Pac-Man and pinball. An ever-changing mural is painted on the wall of the top floor, near the dartboards, where, during the day, MSU students have even been known to do their homework while sipping beer.

Toms’ favorite part of The Avenue Café is its commitment to local music.

“There is a genuine effort on the part of the management, staff, musicians, artists, performers and bar-goers to support the local scene and the community at large,” said Toms. “Scary Women, even from our first show at The Avenue, felt very welcomed into this extended family.”

As the snow falls in Lansing, music is a great way to lift your spirits. Along with amazing music and unique shows, Mac’s and The Avenue Café both offer unique atmospheres you can’t find anywhere else. So, which home of Lansing’s local music scene will cure your winter blues?


Danielle Schwartz is a junior studying English and professional writing. When she’s not writing or taking pictures of her dog, you can usually find her eating a veggie burger or drinking English Breakfast tea. See her dog pics on Instagram at @danielleeilleen.