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Mac's Bar will reopen but not as music venue

Mac's Bar
Posted at 6:53 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 20:24:00-04

LANSING, Mich. — If you stood outside of Mac's Bar on a Saturday night anytime in the last 40 years, you were almost guaranteed to hear live music coming from inside.

That's over.

Mac's Bar has been closed since last March due to COVID and working on renovations, but it won't reopen as a live music venue.

It's been a staple in the community since the 1940's.

“The vibe inside Mac’s was always the perfect, picturesque version of a dirty rock club,” said James Shotwell who went to Mac's countless times.

It was well known for a lot of things.

Mac's Bar
Mac's was known for a lot of things including the stickers on the outside door and in the bathrooms.

“The bathrooms were covered in stickers all over floor to ceiling and it was always a little bit wet," Shotwell said. "Like, you never really knew why it was so wet, but it always was.”

In the 1970's, the bar started hosting live music.

“They would take a chance with small bands that weren’t really known yet,” said John Krohn.

Parkway & Columbia
Parkway & Columbia used to perform at Mac's Bar.

Krohn played in several bands there.

“I’ve played at Mac’s Bar more times than I can possibly count,” Krohn said.

Shelby Ann-Marie fell in love with live performing at age 15.

“Mac’s Bar was one of the first places I played at with a live band,” she said.

Shotwell went for the performers.

“Mac’s was the first place I got to go to as a member of the press,” he said.

One thing they all have in common is Mac's made them part of a community.

“I ended up making lifelong relationships seeing shows at Mac’s Bar,” Krohn said.

Hearing that it's not reopening as a live music venue came as a bit of a shock.

Shelby Ann-Marie
Shelby Ann-Marie started performing at Mac's when she was just almost 16.

“It was definitely bitter sweet they wouldn’t be having live music back,” Ann-Marie said.

They're left wondering what's next for live music in Mid-Michigan.

“Who’s going to be that new venue that can hold 150, 200 people and really make a rock show happen in that sense,” Shotwell said

While Mac's will reopen as a sports bar without live music, all three said it won't be the same.

“Losing Mac’s is really leaving a gap in not just the Lansing music community, but the statewide community,” Shotwell said.

Mac's Bar
Ann-Marie, Krohn and Shotwell all agreed Mac's won't be the same as a sports bar.

One thing that will live on is the memories.

“It’s a place where I will look back and remember things that could only happen at a venue like Mac’s that will now never happen again because it no longer exists,” Shotwell said.

Including some that will last a lifetime.

“I’m pretty sure that a wild night at Mac’s Bar is responsible for my oldest child," Krohn said. “That’s going to be lore in our family that everyone will remember for generations.”

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

Your Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy