Almost every Friday for around the past year, bar owner Ryan Smith and all the folks down at Smith’s Downtown Tap and Grill in Mishawaka have been trying to reel in a softer side of Michiana. While patrons munch on dinner with their families, Smith’s wants to provide acoustic and blues music to enhance the dining experience on a regular basis. Going forward, they want to bring in softer, family-friendly acts every single Friday night.

Smith’s is known for its multi-level function and ability to throw a stacked party, but who says that should wait until after dinner? From a loose set time of around 7 p.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., local acts will be able to show off their stuff to not just a bar crowd, but a tame dinner crowd, as well.

All the acts during dinner will be performed on Smith’s first floor, so those under the legal drinking age will be able to enjoy until 10 p.m. The first floor of the bar and grill is also smoke-free, making this a great option for couples with kids.

Those who plan to check out the bar’s new regular act with their families can do so knowing that everyone has a chance to be satisfied. Smith’s has a full kitchen, serving up things like flatbread pizza, pasta and a plethora of sandwiches and wraps with every topping imaginable.

For the kids, there’s easy finger food on the menu, too—nachos, pretzel bites, mini tacos and more.

Their bar service also doesn’t leave much to be desired: with 16 beers on tap and a whole lot more variety in the way of bottled beer, this will make a great place for wetting your whistle while you check out the area’s most active acoustic and blues musicians. While the South Bend and Mishawaka area flourishes with bands who know how to give adults a good time, this change of pace at Smith’s is welcomed by the bar’s owner, Ryan Smith.

 “I think people have lost the art of the dinner band,” Smith said.

And he’s right. There are very few places in the area who offer entertainment and fare that is appropriate for both adults, kids and teens. Many places that offer this type of service are places that very well might break the budget if you’ve brought the whole family. Smith’s is different—very good food and very good beer, all served up relatively inexpensively. Many of the plates on the menu run under $10, with their beer prices rating average when compared to other bars in the area.

While the dinner and acoustic sessions on Fridays have been in trial for a while now, Smith said he would like to see this go full circle. As it stands, a recurring act called Acoustic Justice has been entertaining diners, along with other scattered acts. Since the idea picked up speed, the popularity started to grow. In fact, Smith said the month of April is already booked with acts. With months coming, though, there will always be more room for others to grace the stage.

Those who wish to experience family-friendly acoustic and blues in a nonsmoking venue without breaking the bank might just want to head to Smith’s to see what it’s all about. As stated, the bands will perform roughly from 7 or 8 p.m. through 10 p.m. or a little later.

Bands and musical acts looking to play should contact those at Smith’s by visiting their Facebook page: The page is updated monthly with the latest happenings involving the bar.

Smith’s is located along Lincolnway East in Downtown Mishawaka.


About The Author
Author: Mandi Steffey


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