clock menu more-arrow no yes

13 Outstanding Cocktail Bars in Ann Arbor

Tree City's essential drinking destinations, mapped

View as Map

The American obsession with food and dining out has reached a fever pitch across the country and that same spirit of rediscovering the origins and process behind preparing a meal has naturally flowed over to the bar. Numerous craft distilleries have taken root here in Michigan with a focus on small batch booze, while bartenders are being inspired by the the lure of seemingly infinite choices of ingredients, innovative techniques, and novel combinations to create new drinks and fresh takes on familiar ones.

There are many places in Ann Arbor to enjoy a good cocktail — from farm-to-table restaurants making seasonal drinks with local ingredients to cocktail lounges and dive bars serving the standards alternatives to cheap beer. Here are some of the best places to order a mixed drink (or more) in Tree City.

Is your favorite Ann Arbor cocktail bar missing? Passionately make your case in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter, or at the tipline.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Last Word

Copy Link
301 W Huron
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 585-5691
Visit Website

The Last Word’s underground locale is a true embodiment of the speakeasy genre — hidden and dimly-lit with vintage decor. Live jazz or DJs accompany bartenders serving selections from a book-themed menu. Customers can imbibe with both original and classic cocktails on the list, and the late-night menu's tasty dishes make it an easy decision to stay for a while.

2. Ann Arbor Distilling Co.

Copy Link
220 Felch
Ann Arbor, MI
(734) 882-2169
Visit Website

Ann Arbor Distilling Company officially opened to the public in late 2015 and has developed into a local institution with a distinctive line of scratch made spirits using locally-sourced ingredients. The Tasting Room at the distillery features a dozen eclectic cocktails designed to showcase the distillery's gin, rum, and vodka, all prepared with house mixers.

3. Alley Bar

Copy Link
112 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-8757
Visit Website

Alley Bar is the latest in a long line of drinking establishments at this address dating back to the 1880s. The no-nonsense mood makes it a favorite for those looking to relax with a drink, whether it's experimental or a classic. Barrel-aged cocktails are available as well as the ever-popular Pickleback — a shot of Paddy’s Irish Whiskey served with the Brinery’s Optimus Brine pickle juice.

4. Nightcap

Copy Link
220 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 369-6070
Visit Website

Modern cocktails take center stage at this dark, contemporary cocktail lounge on Main Street. Liquid nitrogen, centrifuges, and other new-school bartending techniques bring a theatrical element to customers’ visits where the construction and presentation are as important as the final product in the glass.

5. Black Pearl

Copy Link
302 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-0400
Visit Website

This sleek seafood restaurant in the middle of the Main Street action is known for its fish tacos, but drink seekers mustn't overlook the wide variety of martinis and cocktails. The Freddie Mercury, a martini full of Hendrick’s gin, muddled cucumber, and elderflower, is a good prelude to a platter of fresh oysters.

6. The Ravens Club

Copy Link
207 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 214-0400
Visit Website

A commitment to seasonality is seen in both the Ravens Club's food and cocktail menus. Joining sazeracs and old fashioneds is a rotating list of cocktails meant to compliment the weather. The real star here is the extensive American whiskey list, featuring over 150 varieties.

7. The Bar at 327 Braun Court

Copy Link
327 Braun Ct
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 585-5440
Visit Website

Although it’s on the top floor of a former two-story house, this spot feels more like someone’s basement bar, circa 1979. Choose from options like the banana buttered rum or a Caribbean Gentleman with aged rum, campari, and lemon.

8. Mash

Copy Link
211 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-4095
Visit Website

This subterranean club takes its name from a process used in the production of whiskey and beer, both of which are featured here prominently. In addition to classic whiskey cocktails, the menu also has novel mixes such as the Whiskey Mango Foxtrot — a lively mixture of bourbon, mango-pepper shrub, lemon, and smoked jalapeño. Visitors can count on live music on most nights.  

9. Aventura

Copy Link
216 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 369-3153
Visit Website

Ann Arbor’s only Spanish restaurant serves traditional and modern tapas with a wide selection of Spanish wines. In the middle of the boisterous dining room is the large, bright bar where bartenders staff prepare original cocktails like the De Nuez with brown butter and pecan-infused bourbon, cardamaro, cocchi barolo, and walnut bitters.

10. Knight's Downtown

Copy Link
600 Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI
(734) 887-6899
Visit Website

The original Dexter Avenue location is the locals’ favorite for its old-school charm, but for a more lively atmosphere, head to the stylish downtown outpost of Knight's where wraparound windows draw in energy from the busy sidewalks. While the mood is distinctly different from the original location, the drinks are still the same classics, generously poured.

11. Good Time Charley's

Copy Link
1140 S University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 668-8411
Visit Website

For those with a sweeter palate, college hangout Good Time Charley’s features plenty of sugary drinks made with peach schnapps and a collection of Long Island Iced Teas, all available in 64-ounce jars.

Good Time Charley’s/Facebook

12. Dolores

Copy Link
6 S Washington St
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 904-9402
Visit Website

After extensive restorations, this former downtown Ypsilanti dive was transformed to the stylish Dolores. The lack of the usual Mexican-themed decor belies a menu that’s full of traditional taqueria favorites from huraches to chicken tacos to elote. Paired with the food is an excellent cocktail menu featuring drinks made with tequila its smokey sibling, mezcal.

13. Ollie Food + Spirits

Copy Link
42 E Cross St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
(734) 482-8050
Visit Website

Located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town, Ollie serves seasonal New American dishes made with locally-grown ingredients. The restaurant’s knowledgeable mixologists have created a drink menu filled with inventive cocktails like the Postcard from Affair — a refreshingly fruity concoction of vodka, byrrh quinquina, lemon, ginger, muddled blackberry, lemon grass, and bolivar bitters.

1. The Last Word

301 W Huron, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The Last Word’s underground locale is a true embodiment of the speakeasy genre — hidden and dimly-lit with vintage decor. Live jazz or DJs accompany bartenders serving selections from a book-themed menu. Customers can imbibe with both original and classic cocktails on the list, and the late-night menu's tasty dishes make it an easy decision to stay for a while.

301 W Huron
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

2. Ann Arbor Distilling Co.

220 Felch, Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor Distilling Company officially opened to the public in late 2015 and has developed into a local institution with a distinctive line of scratch made spirits using locally-sourced ingredients. The Tasting Room at the distillery features a dozen eclectic cocktails designed to showcase the distillery's gin, rum, and vodka, all prepared with house mixers.

220 Felch
Ann Arbor, MI

3. Alley Bar

112 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Alley Bar is the latest in a long line of drinking establishments at this address dating back to the 1880s. The no-nonsense mood makes it a favorite for those looking to relax with a drink, whether it's experimental or a classic. Barrel-aged cocktails are available as well as the ever-popular Pickleback — a shot of Paddy’s Irish Whiskey served with the Brinery’s Optimus Brine pickle juice.

112 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4. Nightcap

220 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Modern cocktails take center stage at this dark, contemporary cocktail lounge on Main Street. Liquid nitrogen, centrifuges, and other new-school bartending techniques bring a theatrical element to customers’ visits where the construction and presentation are as important as the final product in the glass.

220 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

5. Black Pearl

302 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This sleek seafood restaurant in the middle of the Main Street action is known for its fish tacos, but drink seekers mustn't overlook the wide variety of martinis and cocktails. The Freddie Mercury, a martini full of Hendrick’s gin, muddled cucumber, and elderflower, is a good prelude to a platter of fresh oysters.

302 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

6. The Ravens Club

207 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

A commitment to seasonality is seen in both the Ravens Club's food and cocktail menus. Joining sazeracs and old fashioneds is a rotating list of cocktails meant to compliment the weather. The real star here is the extensive American whiskey list, featuring over 150 varieties.

207 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

7. The Bar at 327 Braun Court

327 Braun Ct, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Although it’s on the top floor of a former two-story house, this spot feels more like someone’s basement bar, circa 1979. Choose from options like the banana buttered rum or a Caribbean Gentleman with aged rum, campari, and lemon.

327 Braun Ct
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

8. Mash

211 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This subterranean club takes its name from a process used in the production of whiskey and beer, both of which are featured here prominently. In addition to classic whiskey cocktails, the menu also has novel mixes such as the Whiskey Mango Foxtrot — a lively mixture of bourbon, mango-pepper shrub, lemon, and smoked jalapeño. Visitors can count on live music on most nights.  

211 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

9. Aventura

216 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Ann Arbor’s only Spanish restaurant serves traditional and modern tapas with a wide selection of Spanish wines. In the middle of the boisterous dining room is the large, bright bar where bartenders staff prepare original cocktails like the De Nuez with brown butter and pecan-infused bourbon, cardamaro, cocchi barolo, and walnut bitters.

216 E Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

10. Knight's Downtown

600 Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI

The original Dexter Avenue location is the locals’ favorite for its old-school charm, but for a more lively atmosphere, head to the stylish downtown outpost of Knight's where wraparound windows draw in energy from the busy sidewalks. While the mood is distinctly different from the original location, the drinks are still the same classics, generously poured.

600 Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI

11. Good Time Charley's

1140 S University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Good Time Charley’s/Facebook

For those with a sweeter palate, college hangout Good Time Charley’s features plenty of sugary drinks made with peach schnapps and a collection of Long Island Iced Teas, all available in 64-ounce jars.

1140 S University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

12. Dolores

6 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

After extensive restorations, this former downtown Ypsilanti dive was transformed to the stylish Dolores. The lack of the usual Mexican-themed decor belies a menu that’s full of traditional taqueria favorites from huraches to chicken tacos to elote. Paired with the food is an excellent cocktail menu featuring drinks made with tequila its smokey sibling, mezcal.

6 S Washington St
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

13. Ollie Food + Spirits

42 E Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Located in Ypsilanti’s historic Depot Town, Ollie serves seasonal New American dishes made with locally-grown ingredients. The restaurant’s knowledgeable mixologists have created a drink menu filled with inventive cocktails like the Postcard from Affair — a refreshingly fruity concoction of vodka, byrrh quinquina, lemon, ginger, muddled blackberry, lemon grass, and bolivar bitters.

42 E Cross St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Related Maps