Williamston welcomes new corner bar

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By Eric Walters
Williamston Times staff writer

Tavern 109, on the corner of West Grand River Avenue and North Putnam Road

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, Williamston’s “four corners” greeted its newest addition as Tavern 109 officially opened for business.

The tavern, located on the north side of W. Grand River Avenue, is a part of the “109 building” renovation. The project included living spaces on the upper floors, as well as a first-floor business. The bar brings a crucial commercial dimension that the project needed to receive grants that funded the remodeling. Bonnie Warmels, who handles media for the tavern, said the original plan was to have the Michigan Brewing Company occupy the space on the first floor. In the end, it was decided to go with an independent.

“It came down to a number of business decisions. One of the deciding factors was that going with an independent, Tavern 109, allowed a full class of liquor,” said Warmels.

The tavern offers 30 wines, nine cocktails, and a number of beers/microbrews, many from Michigan. One of the most popular features in the bar’s first week has been the beer flights. Beer flights have four sample glasses of brews offered by the bar. One bartender said that they’re a great way to try new things.

Tavern 109 also offers an extensive and unique menu. Warmels said the menu consists of traditional bar fare, burgers and pizza, but the treatment to those items make the menu distinctive. One such item is the pear pizza, which consists of roasted pears, toasted walnuts, a bleu cheese blend, bacon, cracked black pepper and olive oil. Warmels said that items like this help the pub stand out. Prices are

“Are we a corner bar & tavern? Yes. But our entrees give us a different feel than your average corner bar,” said Warmels. Two locals, Ann Gallop and Virginia Beckmeyer, agreed.

“It’s the best menu I’ve seen in a long time, and we eat out a lot,” Gallop said.

Gallop and Beckmeyer were especially impressed by the bar’s warm, friendly atmosphere. Both women said they plan to come back many times.

Opening a new business in today’s economy can be a frightening prospect. In just under a week of business, Warmels said the bar has done well.

“What a crazy and warm embrace we had from the community. The response has been flattering. They’ve given us a chance right out of the gate.” — Bonnie Warmels

“We hope that we’ve found a niche in Williamston and the success will continue.”

The tavern has been a positive for other businesses, as well. Don Warren, owner of Six String Place next door to the corner bar, said that the new tavern has brought many people into his store. He also said that the Friday after the bar opened was the busiest night he’s seen in Williamston in years.

Open Monday through Sunday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Phone: 517-655-2100
Prices: $10-30
Payment options: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover
Parking: Two hour street parking on W. Grand River Avenue and a lot behind the bar off N. Putnam Rd.

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