Aug. 29 2012 12:00 AM

Bar 30 & spare time entertainment center


The number 30 has inspired generations of navel-gazers to contemplate their unproductive lives and try to figure out where all the time went. In fact, card companies and party supply stores have made a good living selling dour 30th birthday paraphernalia, goading guests of honor into feeling prematurely over the hill. It’s funny, then, that Bar 30 chose to slap that number right there in their name, numerophobes be damned.

“Originally we were going to have 30 draft brands, and the name just grew out of that,” says Bar 30’s managing partner Dan Zopf. “We switched concepts, but the name stuck. It just sounded cool.”

Zopf is also part of the team that runs Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza next door, in the back of the Eastwood Towne Center. At 7,900 square feet, it dwarfs its baby brother next door (Sacco’s is only 4,500 square feet), and its staff is more than double that of its neighbor. Zopf said that when Bar 30 opened this week, there were 110 employees officially working there.

The concept of Bar 30 is “affordable American eclectic,” and — contrary the “bar” part of its name — is actually a full restaurant, featuring sandwiches, burgers, appetizers and steaks.

“There is not one thing on the menu over $19, including our 8 oz. filet that we cut here ourselves,” says Zopf. “We want to draw people here, so we’ve made our prices beyond reasonable.”

And then every night, a neat trick occurs: Bar 30 transforms from a casual-ish restaurant to an upscale nightclub and martini lounge, with either live music or DJ every single night of the week. It’s a risk, walking such a fine line.

“Yeah, you can’t really nail it down to one type of place,” says Zopf. “But we’re really pulling out all the stops here. Basically, it’s Miami Beach in Lansing, Michigan.”

Rolling with the times

After more than six months of upgrades, The Spare Time Entertainment Center — formerly the Holiday Lanes bowling alley — is finally reopening as a more contemporary amusement complex. Gone are the eight lanes at the west end of the building — they are now a two-story laser tag labyrinth (kids and their lasers these days.) The eight lanes at the opposite end, meanwhile, have become a “boutique bowling” area — basically a VIP section with its own bar. An arcade has also been added, for those who are better with a joystick than a 10-lb. bowling ball.

Additionally, the bowling alley’s lounge has been upgraded from its ‘50s-era glory (or lack thereof) into a full-service restaurant called the Grand River Bar and Grill. Most noticeably, however, owners Michael and Nancy MacColeman have given the front a colorful facelift, making the building a lot more eye grabbing as you’re navigating that awkward West Saginaw/Grand River/U.S.-127 cluster. As that famous fictional bowler might say, it really ties the area together.

Bar 30
2324 Showtime Drive (inside Eastwood Towne Center), Lansing
Mon.-Weds. 11 a.m. to midnight
Thurs.-Sat. 11. a.m. to 2 a.m.

Spare Time Entertainment Center
3101 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing
Mon.-Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.