What’s old becomes new at Cottage Bar in downtown GR

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lot is going on inside a longtime downtown restaurant and bar that has not re-opened.

The lights are still off inside the Cottage Bar and Restaurant, a place that prides itself on being the oldest operating bar and restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids.

Still, artist Daniel Carlson is hard at work but not on an original piece.

“I’m deeply touched by my dad’s work. I make a living doing what he taught me to do,” Carlson said.

Carlson creates high-end furniture, unique signs and architecturally based things. He created the sculpture titled “The Door is Always Open” outside Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center.

Thursday morning, he was working on something much more simple but just as special.

“You know, I sat right here when I was a kid 10 years old and watched him do this,” said Carlson.

While moving things around to make way for the new ways that COVID-19 has left us with — the owners re-discovered the art like a “Sailing Grand Rapids to Grand Haven” a sign painted on a pillar.

“They (the owners of the establishment) put it on Facebook, and I saw it and I thought ‘well my dad did that I can fix that,'” Carlson said.

Faded by time and a coating of nicotine from the decades when the hostess still asked, “smoking or non-smoking?”

Carlson applied a fresh coat of paint on his dad’s work, keeping the Carlson streak alive.

“We all love this place and want to see it last for another 50 years,” Carlson said.

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