The bar now known as US 12 has been in operation for nearly four decades, though it hasn't always gone by the same name. General manager Scott Gocaj says he and his team took over around 15 years ago and have been working to create a safe, fun, entertaining environment ever since.
"We're a modern-day Cheers," Gocaj says. "We're fortunate and thankful to have a lot of dedicated regulars. We're open for lunch service daily, we have a great happy hour, and dinner. We do dancing and entertainment on the weekends and we have a VIP area for birthday and bachelorette parties and other special occasions."
To say the place has something for everyone is an understatement; and the bar attracts a wide demographic — anyone from 21 to 71, according to Gocaj.
"We're a place where friends come together and have a good time," he says. "It's a safe environment where everyone knows our rules. We treat everybody with respect. This is everybody's bar."
More than the great menu and amazing beverage program, it's the staff's rapport with their customers that keeps folks coming back.
"It's the relationships we build with people and the way we treat everybody right," Gocaj says of what keeps his customers loyal. "It's a place where everyone knows my name. They know who I am and they can come talk to me whether it's just for fun or for an issue."
The bar's familiar staff also keeps folks coming back for more.
"I'm really fortunate to have my staff. The girls have been with us for years. This is a place where you're likely to see the same face for a long time. The girls know who you are and what you want to drink," he says.
Of course, having a well-stocked bar doesn't hurt. US 12 is known for having plenty of premium bottles behind the bar as well as a great selection of Michigan craft beers. Gocaj strikes a great balance between popular big-brand beers and locally made brews, featuring both on the bar's 12 tap handles.
While the bar is a casual place to grab lunch or an after-work drink during the week, it morphs into a more club-like atmosphere come the weekend. There's always a DJ spinning or a live band playing and plenty of room for dancing.
Speaking of live music, US 12 has attracted quite a few widely recognized names in the music business. Finger 11 and Fuel have both taken the bar's stage and local bands like Rusty Lunchbox and Pistol Day Parade both regularly perform there.
Come New Year's Eve, US 12 will be turning their regular programming up a couple notches. According to Gocaj, the bar is offering premium food specials like filet mignon, and DJ Mark EP, Kid Rock's official crew DJ, will be spinning throughout the night. There will be free party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, and giveaways all night long.