Tin Can opens downtown

By Allan I. Ross

Think of it as a dive bar with a difference

The chalkboard on the wall sports naughty doodles and superhero logos. Darts sail across the room. The jukebox is playing Toby Keith and everyone in the decidedly smallish establishment is drinking beer out of aluminum cans.

Is this a dive bar in the sticks? Nope, it’s opening night at The Tin Can in downtown Lansing.

“We were thinking, ‘How can we serve the cheapest drinks in town?’” says general manager Dave Sell, part of the management team behind The Exchange, Harem Urban Lounge, Omar’s and The Loft. “The answer, obviously, was cans. And there are already so many upscale places around town, we thought we’d go in another direction, give people something completely different.”

The beer list is split into three sections:
Really Cheap Beer ($1.75), Pretty Cheap Beer ($3) and Cheap Beer ($4). (There’s also a full bar.) But just because you can crush your drinking vessel against your forehead doesn’t mean it’s all swill.

We tried the Guinness-like Lion Stout and hoppy Chupacabra Pale last Friday, both of which can be found on the Pretty Cheap Beer list. You can’t find these anywhere else in town.

There’s also a $3 food menu consisting entirely of chips, dips and chili dogs. The already-famous Tin Can Happy Meal consists of a shot of Jack, a can of PBR and a chili dog for $6 — but what’s this, no toy surprise?

“We may start giving out something somewhere down the line,” Sell said, laughing. “For now, we’re just happy to be open.”

The Tin Can

414 East Michigan Ave., Lansing 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday–Friday; 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday www.tincanbar.com