Take a Look Inside Muskrat Distilling, Boyne City’s Newest Bar

New in town! Belly up to Boyne City’s newest watering hole. From gorgeous seasonal cocktails to a perfectly decorated space with tons of space to lounge, this new Northern Michigan distillery is about to become your new favorite happy hour spot.

This article first appeared in Traverse Northern Michigan. Find this story and more when you explore our digital issue library. Want Traverse delivered to your door or inbox monthly? View our print subscription and digital subscription options.

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

When owners Augie Engelhart and Matt McCann moved their businessess Detroit Stillworks, a distillation equipment manufacturer, to Boyne City in 2019, they didn’t have any intentions of opening a tasting room. But when a historic space downtown became available—a 130-year-old building, once the city’s pharmacy—they decided it might be the best way to give back to a community that had welcomed them with open arms. The next step was finding someone to build out the bar program. They found a perfect partner in GM/Beverage Director Roger James Fruin, and Muskrat Distilling opened in April 2022. “Boyne epitomizes the Northern Michigan, small-town experience,” Fruin says. “After nearly a decade of overseasing and working in some of the best known cocktail establishments in Detroit as well as competing across the country, I can honestly say there is nowhere with quite the same character as this area.”

Bartender pouring a drink

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

Bar area

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

The team paid homage to the building’s legacy during a nearly year-long renovation, keeping the original 1890s maple floors, brick walls and tin ceileng. The bar was inherited from the historic Dilworth Hotel located just up the street. But as the sun goes down, pink neon signs and orange tungsten bulbs beneath wicker chandeliers give the space a modern flare, bathing the room in a warm glow. “From the beGinning, we really wanted to focus on the hospitality Experience and create an inclusive space for anyone who walks through the door,” Fruin says. “You can have a drink anywhere, so why come here?”

Fun cocktail

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

Orange and red cocktail

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

Orange cocktail

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

Well, to try Muskrat’s spirits you’ll have to pay them a visit. The distillery isn’t distributing its products, which include aged rum, vodka, gin and bourbon. The cocktail menu features seasonally rotating specialties and fresh takes on Prohibition-era classics, such as The Scofflaw. inventoried in 1924, it was named after the term given to those who secretively sipped spirits during the 1920s and early ’30s. There are also non-alcoholic beverages, including mocktails and kombucha, and outside food is welcome.

Restaurant with red lights

Photo by Muskrat Distillery

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