Just because I wasn’t born in a small town doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good small town bar. I’ve found in my travels that there are two types of small town bars.
The first is the type where as soon as you walk in the door you can almost hear the jukebox scratch to a stop and everyone turns around to look at you. You can almost bet, if you stay there long enough, somebody is going to say something to you to try and wind you up. It’s a generally xenophobic and unrelaxing atmosphere.
The second is the type where you are met with a more normal ambivalence which allows you to kick back, relax and take in the flavor of it all. Luckily, Darb’s Crystal is one of the latter establishments.
The first time I heard the name of the bar, I misheard and thought it was called the Dark Crystal; a bar paying homage to that acid-trip of a Jim Henson movie is an unsettling thought indeed. Alas, no Gelflings or Skekses to be found here; only cheap beer and a comfortable atmosphere.
Draft beer is served in mason jars. Why? I have no idea. One of the really interesting things about Darb’s is the seating. Most of the seating is the place consists of long tables that really seem to encourage interaction among the patrons. I’m not sure if it’s an intentional design, but it lends itself to a lot of interesting socializing and interaction that you don’t normally encounter in a small town bar.
Darb’s is definitely worth the trip down to Holt if you’re looking to get out of the normal East Lansing/Lansing bar scene. Just be sure to bring cash because, much like your local drug dealer, they don't accept credit cards.