FLINT, MI — On the biggest party night of the year, one cafe is offering an option for teetotalers.
“We have a lot of students who live and hang out downtown, and they need a safe place to hang out and have fun,” Michael Thibodeau, manager of Café Rhema in downtown Flint, said in an email. “And lots of others who will be downtown could use a good place to sober up before heading home.”
Downtown Flint is, for the second year, looking to be the place to be in Genesee County. It’s the second year the Flint Downtown Development Authority has teamed up with local bars to encourage bar-hopping downtown. The DDA also will provide a heated beer tent and midnight fireworks. Last year, between 4,000 and 5,000 people were downtown to party, organizers have said.
Joshua Spencer, owner of Cafe Rhema, said offering an alcohol-free hangout downtown was his main objective for opening the shop.
“We have lots of great restaurants downtown, but those open on New Year’s Eve serve alcohol,” Spencer said in an email. “There are a large number of people, especially young professionals, who aren’t interested in the bar scene.”
As part of the night’s festivities, Carman-Ainsworth high school student Jes Mathews has organized an open mic night from 8-10 p.m. in the back room of the cafe.
Café Rhema will be open from 7:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. New Year’s Day.
Original article by Scott Atkinson for MLive.
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