GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The owners of two businesses in downtown Grand Rapids will have an extra reason to celebrate this New Year’s Eve: they’re opening after years of delays.
Ambiance GR Kitchen & Lounge will celebrate its official grand opening with a New Year’s Eve party starting at 9 p.m. The new bar and lounge at 106 Pearl St. NW has been in the works since 2019 when Team Ambiance took over the space that sat empty for seven years after Raggs to Riches closed.
The team of six entrepreneurs oversaw a “total facelift” of the space, renovating walls, floors, ceilings and moving the bar to the back of the room. They added a velvety blue wraparound banquette in the heart of the 5,043-square-foot space, which also features a dance floor.
When Team Ambiance launched the transformation in 2019, the group expected to open Grand Rapids’ first Black-owned bar and restaurant in decades by that summer. But the project hit snags prompted by the pandemic and renovating a space built in 1874.
In that time, other Black-owned businesses have joined the mix downtown, including Grand Rapids’ only Black-owned wine and jazz bar, GRNoir Wine and Jazz.
Online tickets to Ambiance GR’s grand opening party are sold out, but admission is available at the door. The dress code is formal.
“Feel free to fashionably express yourself, however, if you are not dressy enough it is at security’s discretion whether you will be allowed to enter,” Ambiance GR advised.
Ambiance GR plans to celebrate New Year’s Eve with music from every era and a champagne toast at midnight.
Just a couple blocks away from Ambiance GR, Beacon Corner Bar & Coastal Fare will also open to the public on New Year’s Eve after a soft opening earlier this week.
The new restaurant is located on the corner of Fulton Street and Commerce Avenue SW, adjacent to San Chez Bistro.
The family that operates San Chez Bistro and ROAM By San Chez also owns Beacon. The concept for the third restaurant came from owner Cindy Lotterman-Schneider’s experiences growing up in a coastal community in New York State.
The owners of Beacon originally hoped to open in the fall of 2019, but pandemic shutdowns, worker shortages and other challenges delayed the project.
Beacon’s menu features seafood boils. New England clam chowder, fried oysters, fish and smash burgers are also included.
Beacon will be open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to walk-in customers only.