AA Bar Scene for 40ish Folks?

Submitted by SchembechlerDisciple on October 18th, 2018 at 8:26 PM

I am hosting a night out in AA tomorrow with some guys because our wives are all going to  a retreat.  It’s been almost 20 years since I lived in AA, so my now foggy memories of bars on Main Street that I couldn’t afford drinking at in undergrad aren’t doing me much good.  Also, I checked the “useful things” post on eating and drinking in Ann Arbor, and didn’t find it super helpful for this particular type of evening out.

Any suggestions?  I am looking for places that would be more on the quiet side with good cocktails and a decent beer selection.

Thanks in advance for any help.



October 19th, 2018 at 10:43 AM ^

I love Last Word... and absolutely would not suggest it for this outing unless you have 3 or less people.  It is tiny, there are very limited seats and it will be packed on a Friday night.

Good cocktail alternative is Raven's club, which is easier to find, bigger and can have seating for a larger group (might have to wait).  If you're willing to sit outside and want cocktails, check out Ann Arbor Distillary. They have even less room inside, though.

If the group is large, the safest bets are:  Conor's, Bill's Beer Garden (outside), HopCat.

3-5 people can work at:  Beer Grotto, Grizzly Peak, Jolly Pumpkin, practically anywhere really.

I suggest:  Knight's downtown (get a reservation yesterday) and if you want beer, go around the corner to HopCat before walking down to mainstreet and checking out Grotto/Bill's/Pumpkin etc.

EDIT: Sleeper picks that might not be full if you don't want to deal with that: Old German (below Grizzly Peak), Alley Bar early, Old Town later. Pretzel Bell basement early, will get crowded later.  Grotto tends to be a one-drink spot for younger (grad student age) people and a "post-up/sitdown" spot for older folks.  I'll be there tonight for a few. Point being, it can be crowded one minute and not the next. 



October 18th, 2018 at 8:32 PM ^

Are you after beer? A more chill spot? Haymaker and Hopcat are good options. Beer Grotto isn't bad but the space will probably be tight. Old Town is just a solid bar if you're not looking for anything special. Good beer and liquor, good prices. Pretzel Bell sucks.


October 18th, 2018 at 8:36 PM ^

Grizzly peak is a good mix of old & young, IMO.  Good beer, has a college feel, but not too college.  Big enough that you can usually get a table with a modest wait.  Has been around long enough to be real Ann Arbor.  


October 19th, 2018 at 3:20 AM ^

Skeeps was our favorite place while we were students. I always felt that only “old” people went to scorekeepers to watch a day game on tv. You’d totally fit in for a noon game and up until 9pm. Then, you will be escorted out of the building for not wearing skinny jeans. 


October 18th, 2018 at 8:57 PM ^

The Ravens Club has the best Old Fashioned you will ever drink, and their fries are fantastic. I'm not sure of the beer selection there but there seemed to be a decent variety of other drinks at the very least. It has a very adult atmosphere, but to be fair I went there for an early dinner a few months ago so it may be a bit busier this time around.


October 18th, 2018 at 9:40 PM ^

Second on the Ravens Club. It's quiet but not in the least stodgy; the times I've been there I've been by far the oldest fart there. Interesting menu that's a bit quirky, but they've got a nice selection of snacks, small plates, and the entrees are mostly under $20.

I'm not a bourbon guy so I can't speak to whether it's a good list, but they've got a shitload of bourbons and whiskies listed on their menu.


Another interesting place but a bit pricier is The Grange:


One other place that has a good combo of beer and spirits is Jolly Pumpkin on Main St. I haven't had any food there besides their pizza, but it's good.



October 18th, 2018 at 9:09 PM ^

It’s been a while since I was in AA, but there was a great little place called Scorekeepers which I think is exactly the type of place you are looking for.  

Just remember your fake IDs


October 18th, 2018 at 9:55 PM ^

No way.  Once you hit 50 Rick's is the place to troll the co-eds and maybe get some sympathy.  But when you are 40 ... the students say "shouldn't you be tucking the kids in bed at home".

Now when you are truly an old fart like me - 60 f-ing years old - then you can start going to Skeeps for Kamikaze night with no consequences.

Hammer of Thor

October 18th, 2018 at 9:27 PM ^

Pileated Brewing Company on S. Industrial -  You can bring in your own food. Shouldn't be too crowded either. Not my favorite beer, but could serve as a great place to enjoy time with friends. 

If you are willing to head a few minutes South to Saline, Salt Springs Brewery has GREAT beer, and an extensive menu. It will probably be busy. 


October 18th, 2018 at 9:48 PM ^

There's a house party for 40 something's at 1351 Washtenaw this weekend. You can start there for some relaxing beers and craft cocktails and head to Scorekeepers bar and grill for some mouth watering bites. They just missed out on earning the first Michelin star in Ann Arbor but you get the idea.

Afterwards there's a relaxing cafe called Rick's, where you can enjoy a nice nightcap with some smooth jazz in the background. A co-ed or two may start moving on the dancefloor but it's all part of the atmosphere. 



October 18th, 2018 at 9:51 PM ^

Agree with Last Word (for really great cocktails and good atmosphere) and Pileated Brewery on South Industrial for really, really good beer (bring your own food).

But my vote for best cocktails and beer in a cool, quiet environment is "The Bar" at 327 Braun Court in Kerrytown.  Across from Aut Bar and up some stairs.  Best place in town.