When people outside of the college realm overhear the term “college bar,” it is generally assumed that the establishment is filled with booze-fiends and half-naked twentysomethings. Oftentimes this is true, but sometimes the best college bars provide patrons with a little bit of everything.
Adorned in Michigan State University (MSU) garb and other unique and curious signage, Crunchy’s in East Lansing is an excellent example of a perfect college bar.
“Crunchy’s has been around since 1982 – about 33 years. I just took over ownership in July of this year,” said Owner Michael Krueger. “Over the years Crunchy’s has evolved a lot.”
Starting as an Italian restaurant named Geno’s and then transitioning into a burger bar and great hangout place over the last three decades, Crunchy’s has become a staple for students at MSU.
“It was primarily a Stroh’s bar for a very long time,” Krueger said. “And then they (Dave and Vivian Milligan, the previous owners) started dabbling in craft beer in the late 90s before craft beer was even cool.”
Crunchy’s now features 27 taps with an excellent selection of craft beer. However, one of the ways they serve their beer is intriguing to patrons.
“The previous owners had a pretty good beer program started when I took over and we’ve just kind of grown it from there,” Krueger said. “We’re known for our buckets of beer.”
There are many bars that serve buckets of ice packed with bottled or canned beer, but Crunchy’s does their buckets of beer a little differently than most other places.
“The buckets are 270 ounces of draft beer,” Krueger said. “Essentially any student group or other group affiliated with the university is able to have their own bucket that they can decorate.”
“We also have plain white buckets that we serve to everyone else,” Krueger added.
Along with copious quantities of alcohol being served, Crunchy’s also keeps their patrons happy with a plethora of different entertainment options depending on the night of the week.
“Tuesday night we do trivia and we have a comedy night that starts right after that,” Krueger said. “Wednesday we have live bands – a lot of times they are singers and songwriters who are just coming through town looking for a label deal.”
Crunchy’s also features live music every Sunday as well. But what has been a big draw for college students over the years is something that requires some courage and enthusiasm.
“On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights we do karaoke,” Krueger said. “That has been a tradition here since as far back as I can remember.”
With a great beer selection, incredible food and plenty of entertainment options, Crunchy’s has continued to be a favorite for many MSU students.
“A lot of college kids come due to tradition, but, I think even more so, it’s the atmosphere that we convey that brings them back,” Krueger said. “We’re very laid back – a come-as-you-are kind of place.”
Being a college bar, Krueger also understands that tailoring menu items and drinks to a college student’s budget is important.
“We have good quality food that’s not overly expensive, our craft beer selection is second-to-none and we don’t charge out of the ass for it,” Krueger added. “That really helps students to be able to afford to hangout.”
Anthony Langlois, 27, is an entomology student at MSU who enjoys spending his free time at Crunchy’s.
“A giant bucket of beer with a group of friends, some comfort food and then some tipsy karaoke is the best way to relax after a stressful exam,” Langlois said. “This place is the perfect combination of all things awesome.”
Article By: Mason Doerr
Crunchy's: The College Go-To at MSU
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