Whether you’re looking for delicious cocktails, a large selection of Michigan craft beer or an extensive wine list, there is a great bar for every taste in Ann Arbor. Largely clustered in the walkable downtown area, visiting any of these bars promises a fun and memorable night out. Here are the bars we think you should visit when in A2.
Housed in a building that has been a bar ever since Charles Binder’s Saloon opened in 1880, Alley Bar has everything you could want in a bar, serving great cocktails and Michigan craft beer in a hip but relaxed setting. Its cocktail menu features modern twists on classics, such a cucumber gimlet or pumpkin Russian. Try the famous pickleback, a shot of Paddy’s Irish Whisky and a chase of The Brinery’s Optimus Brine.
Not only does Mash brew its own craft beer and offer a wide selection of interesting cocktails, it combines them to make truly creative craft beer cocktails. If that’s not enough to tempt you, this speakeasy-style bar also specializes in whiskeys and bourbon, a small menu of sliders and snacks, and has regular live music from local and regional acts.
Since opening its first bar in Grand Rapids in 2008, HopCat has spread across Michigan and the entire Midwest. Its success has been built on its huge selection of top-quality craft beer, comprising plenty of local brews as well as exotic options from around the world. The Ann Arbor bar also provides the great food the chain is famous for, such as the legendary “Crack Fries”.
For wine fans, there are few better options in Ann Arbor than the chic Vinology. Its extensive list features over 100 wines, and you can try multiple complementary wines in carefully selected flights, which come in options such as fruity or acidic wines. Its ambitious, seasonal food menu is made up of inventive small plates and fancy entrees.
Named for the classic cocktail created in Detroit in 1921, the Last Word is another great cocktail bar in Ann Arbor. The cocktail list is long, with choices cleverly tailored to the beginning, middle and end of your evening. The bartenders even promise to make you any drink from around the world if they have the ingredients. If cocktails aren’t your thing, it also serves Michigan craft beer, wine and a large selection of bourbon, scotch and rye whiskey.
Another great option for A2 craft beer fans, Beer Grotto is a small taproom and bottle shop that’s known for its constantly changing and carefully curated selection of beer on tap, and for its sunny outdoor patio area, which also has a heated canopy during winter. The staff know their stuff and are happy to help you navigate the options.
Though it’s a short drive (or long walk) southwest of downtown, the Wolverine State Brewing Co. is well worth a visit. As Michigan’s only lager-focused microbrewery, it has a number of inventive takes on the classic styles, including sour lagers, hoppy lagers and smoked beer. Its large taproom has a long bar, darts and a broad food menu featuring a selection of house-smoked meats.
If a more straightforward and classic dive bar is what you’re after, you can’t go wrong at the 8 Ball Saloon. It’s a great little spot to spend an evening playing darts or pool and drinking cheap pitchers of beer. It is also home to the Blind Pig, an old and storied music venue that has famously hosted everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Nirvana.