WAG sings with delight most Friday and Saturday nights
There’s always an open seat, a cold drink and a microphone waiting for anyone who walks through the door.
The night kicks off at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and those at the “WAG,” as many have come to know the Glen Arbor bar, have the opportunity to test their mettle as well their voice.
There are no awards for best performance, and missed lyrics won’t get you booed off stage, although you might have to face the music from a few of your good friends afterward.
Nicole Nemecek, a manager and bartender at the “WAG,” has seen the place fill up and heard the voices echo off the birchwood interior often over the past nine years.
“There’s quite the variety of people and they all seem to come together and enjoy each other’s company,” Nemecek said. “There are a lot of people generally .... It’s quite the meeting place.”
Tyler Lukasiak, a Kasson Township resident and senior at Ferris State University, was at the bar with a couple of friends Saturday night. According to him, singing isn’t his forte, but enjoying the personalities karaoke night attracts is always reason enough to stop in after work.
“It’s friendly, upbeat and everyone’s having fun,” the 21-year-old said. “It’s a great atmosphere for younger and older generations to interact.
“I mean look around, there’s everyone from college students to business owners.”
Local residents make up the majority of the crowd, Nemecek said, but everyone is encouraged to join in. Jim Placio and his friend Greg Lobdell were among those visiting from out of town. Lobdell grew up in Traverse City but it was Placio’s first time at the “WAG.”
“I’ve had a blast so far,” the Chicago resident said. “The people are great, the food is great and the music really makes it fun.”
According to Nemecek, business slows substantially after the summer months pass and Friday karaoke is dropped following Labor Day weekend until warmer weather returns. Saturdays continue through winter without a missing a beat though.
“You wouldn’t believe the people that come out during the winter,” Nemecek said. “The Glen Arborites really enjoy getting together for karaoke nights.”
Manager Bill Skolnik operates the music machine, reading off each submitted name and playing the requested song. The crowd generally thickens around 11 p.m. and during it’s busiest nights the “WAG” will keep its lights on until 2 a.m.
It doesn’t have the extravagances of a nightclub, but the local bar has built quite a reputation. According to Nemecek spending weekend evenings at the WAG has become a way of life among some residents. They’ve even coined terms and phrases on social media sites such as “Waggin’ it” to share plans with friends.
“Messages get sent around and everyone comes out to spend some time with friends,” Nemecek said. “We have something really great going here.
“It’s something everyone looks forward to at the end of a long work week.”