Bell's Eccentric Cafe was a full beer geek stop after a long drive through Chicago (from Minnesota) to stop for the night. The building is brick and not overly furnished. Some nice beer pieces on the wall, but almost has the feel of a buddy's decorated basement: comfortable and easy to drink all night in. Except, it isn't air conditioned, and even w/ many of the people outside listening to the band, it was very hot in spite of being 8:00 at night when I arrived. A visit at a time other than summer might be better, but the beer is well worth the sweat.
Being from Minnesota, I get the standard Bell's beers, but I miss out on many others. I started with a Belgian Dubbel--Hell Hath No Fury, a high alcohol malty Belgian that went straight to my head. Very good. Followed that w/ Two Hearted from the Firkin, which was also excellent and a fine treat to have Bell's on cask. vFinished the tasting with barleywine, simply known as Old Ale, a high alcohol but extremely smooth beer that I sipped for a long time.
Staff was extremely helpful, and really knew how to handle and pour a beer—the kind of love of presentation that makes drinking feel like an event. Food looked good. You order at a window and get it yourself. Many people were eating, but I was a bit late and the kitchen had just closed.
Conjure up an excuse to drive through Kalamazoo for any reason, stop and hit Bell's.
3/17/13: While posting this BeerAdvocate review to the blog, I perused the Bell's website on the cafe and it seems that the number of beers on tap and the range of food offerings have increased significantly since my visit nearly seven years ago. I definitely need to find an excuse to hit Bell's again.