The University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus provides its student body with an excellent education as well as opportunities outside of the classroom. What you might not know is that UMich’s campus is home to a flourishing nightlife. There are quite a few different bars for its students (21+).
Most bars frequented by University of Michigan students can be found on South University Street. Ranging from club atmospheres to sit-down bars, expect a wide range of drinks that are mostly catered to the typical college student. Most bars don’t require a cover every night (except Rick’s American Cafe). However, occasionally there will be covers depending on the night. Something is always going on Thursday-Saturday, with smaller events scattered throughout the week. With bars that fit any occasion and season, Ann Arbor has you covered. Except of course if they make you pay a cover, that’s on you.
The most popular bars are Rick’s American Cafe and Scorekeepers. Going down into the basement of Rick’s will lead you to a large overcrowded dance floor. Rick’s sets up multiple bar stations throughout its premise so you don’t have to walk all the way back to the front. Many students pose in front of the neon signs or lush green backdrop for pictures. This bar is a staple for upperclassmen celebrating their last year. Remember to get there early or acquire line leap because you can expect to wait two hours to get in. The most popular day to go is Thursday because of the drink deals and a little bit of A2 culture.
Scorekeepers, colloquially known as Skeeps, resides near the other side of the Diag. Since this bar is closer to downtown Ann Arbor and Main Street, you can find a mix of people here, not just students. Sometimes there’s a cover and sometimes not. Also, expect to wait in line to get in. Some claim it is well worth the wait because of the dance floor, good music, and giant block M on the wall (that you can sign!).
Nightlife in A2 can be as wild or as chill as you want it to be. Blue Leprechaun and Brown Jug are perfect spots to sit down with friends and order drinks if you want a communal atmosphere. Goodtime Charley’s is great if you want to watch the game at a bar with their multiple TVs and outdoor seating. Down the road lies Garage Bar, which is technically a part of the restaurant Pizza House. It features outdoor seating only but provides plenty of heaters during the cold months. If you’re still ballin on a budget but don’t love nightlife, don’t worry! There are still more bars to choose from. Ashley’s is an eclectic Irish bar located right off the diag on State Street. Downtown you can find Heidelberg. While not necessarily a bar, but a restaurant, the Heidelberg is known for their drinks and especially their boot of beer.
After a long night out from drinking and having fun with your friends, you might want to soak up all the alcohol with something tasty. Many college students in A2 grab a slice (or three) at Joe’s Pizza, which stays open until 3 AM. Students also find that Doordashing food from the comfort of their own homes is a lifesaver, and there are multiple chain restaurants available if that fits your needs best.
HIGHER END BARS
While most of the bars cater to the students, if you aren’t one for sweet drinks there are other higher end bars in Ann Arbor. Take a trip downtown if you love a classic cocktail. Bars like The Last Word and Nightcap offer cozy and stylish atmospheres to go along with their delicious drinks. Be warned, they’re higher priced for a reason.
School isn’t always in session, thank goodness. For those summer or warmer months Ann Arbor has a few seasonal bars that are perfect for outdoor seating and chilling with friends. Bring your sunglasses and good vibes. Bill’s Beer Garden and Casa Dominick’s are my top picks for this list. Bill’s Beer Garden offers a range of different beers and a menu that changes by the season. Expect to see kids here, parents have to party too, ya know. Casa Dominick’s supplies delicious Italian food and communal seating. None of it would be complete without their mouth-watering cocktails served in mason jars.