The Holiday Bar in GR undergoing renovations

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Todd Wawee, the owner of The Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids, takes pride in making the bar a place customers want to visit. 

“Trying to constantly improve the place and stay relevant in the market and the neighborhood,” Wawee said.

The West Side bar is undergoing several renovations, including a new facade. 

“To do projects like this, it takes months of planning and drawings and applications and permits and such,” Wawee said. “That process started pre-pandemic and we were able to pull it off.”

Wawee has owned the bar for a dozen years, but it has been in his family since it first opened in 1905. 

His great-grandfather, John Arsulowicz, first opened it as The Ideal Tavern. Back then the bar was located on Stocking Avenue. It moved to its current location on 5th Street in 1959. 

“It’s great to see existing businesses like The Holiday Bar, which is a staple on the West Side, to be able to reinvest in their facility,” says Grand Rapids City Commissioner Jon O’Connor. 

Wawee reinvested in the building while learning how to navigate through the pandemic. 

“To have outdoor seating and limited capacity, a lot of us in this industry didn’t think about those things based on customer needs that weren’t there,” Wawee said. “We were forced to learn new creative dynamic of our industry. They were hard lessons. Many of them.”

The owner takes pride in renovating the longtime establishment and being a part of the West Side’s renaissance. 

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