Fellow Big Ten blogger NittanyWhiteOut sent an email recently asking for some advice on the local bar scene. While your Webmaster is essentially retired from that game I make it out enough to know the deal. When coming into Ann Arbor for a game I’d offer the following advice on what to do and where to go in Ann Arbor.

As for as the bars, Ann Arbor really has two major areas, although some locals would debate this and again, everything is basically within a mile or so so what’s the big deal? Campus refers to those bars directly around the Campus most frequented by the students. Main St. is the upscale area of Ann Arbor with some of the upper scale restaurants, thus older crowd.

Campus Bars:

  • Rick’s American Cafe’ aka Rick’s – A below ground hole that is the cool hang out; at least it used to be. Older players may be seen here after the game. Will often end the night with a round of ‘The Victors’ after a big win. Cheap pitchers, pool, DJ – nothing special other than that the place is always packed. No food. Website.
  • Good Time Charley’s aka ‘Charley’s – Like Rick’s been around for many years, great food, burgers, wings, etc. Long Island Ice teas a specialty, cheesy bread, Count Twist bread is outstanding. Website.
  • Little Brown Jug – A little lower key, sit down restaurant, decent bar, old school but good. Has a backroom that sells pizza slices to the drunks at night (Backroom Pizza).
  • Dominick’s – A unique place built inside an old house near the business school, a favorite happy hour place for grad students. Famous for Sangria. Phil Knight (Nike owner) and his limo visited here prior to the fugly 2007 Oregon game.
  • Touchdown Cafe’ – More of your traditional sports bar with wings, pitchers, etc., and actually hosted the occasional beer pong tourney until the town brass shut it down.

Main Street Bars:

  • Conor O’Neill’s – Real Irish pub, really Irish dudes tend bar, kind of the place to be for grad students and alumni. Good Irish food if you like it, pour a mean Guinness.  Gathering place for local MYLFs (the Y is for you, you perve…aka “Cougar O’Neills” I’m told ). Website.
  • Gratzi/Real Seafood/Chop House – Italian/Seafood/Steak ‘upscale’ places all near each other on Main, all owned by the same company, all decent eating but overrated. Decent bars. You’ll find the media in town to cover the game at one of these places the night before the game. Website.

Misc not to miss place:

  • Zingerman’s Deli: If you come in early Friday definitely make time to grab a sandwich at Zingerman’s. It’s a little off the beaten path but Ann Arbor isn’t that big of place. It’s world famous – just go there. Website.


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  2. No love for the Blind Pig and its basement bar the 8 ball saloon? Its a real live music bar with its associated downstairs dive bar. Great musical acts and a good mix of townies, college types, hipsters, punks, you name it.

  3. Much love for the Pig man.